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The line for the throne gets longer

12 Jan 2015

There used to be a web site called Enfield-Bryant Genealogy. It housed an enormous family tree database, linking the compiler’s family to seemingly every medieval and ancient genealogy ever done. Google for “ancient genealogy” if you like; bottom line, the powerful, the wealthy, and the simply credulous have always wanted to push their family trees back as far as they could, with little regard for actual facts to support their claims. And let’s face it, if the king or a ludicrously rich person wants to be descended from Alexander the Great, they can generally find a genealogist who’ll tell them they are. Some Muslims used to be exempt from certain taxes if they were descendants of Mohammed, and so a lot of them were — for a price. You end up with American genealogies linking to European genealogies linking to European royal genealogies linking to middle eastern genealogies linking to Biblical figures, and from there you have lineages extracted (with a little interpolation, an assumption here and there, you know how it goes) from the Bible right back to Adam and Eve. Or you connect up to Egyptian genealogies going back to the Pharaohs — many, many generations longer than the lineages back to Adam and Eve, oddly enough.

All of which was in Enfield-Bryant. And much of which is errant nonsense. But entertaining errant nonsense!

I found two paths on that site back from me to European royalty, from which one could go on to Adam. One was via Jerome BELDEN. The problem with that is, Jerome was apparently not my biological ancestor. The family story — for which I have no documentation — is that Warren BELDEN, my great grandfather, was adopted by Jerome. I have no idea who his biological parents were.

(Then again, in the 100 or so generations back to Adam, even if each parent-child was historically correct, how many were biologically correct? Out of all those, at least one undocumented non paternal event wouldn’t be surprising.)

The other one went through Nathan and Samuel HOLMES, via Samuel’s mother Sarah BARTLETT, to Mayflower passenger Richard WARREN. Enfield-Bryant showed Richard’s parents as Christopher WARREN and Alice WEBB, and Christopher descended from royalty; he had at least one line going back 13 generations to Henry III of England, for instance.

It ain’t so, though. Among other Mayflower hoaxes, “Richard Warren’s parents have not been identified, and he has no documented descent from Sir John de Warrene, Charlemagne, or anybody else. Royal descent might be very likely for Richard Warren, given his surname and apparent financial soundness in Plymouth; but his parents will have to be identified first before any such claim can be made.” Christopher did have a son named Richard, but he wasn’t the Mayflower Richard.

But the above was written in 1998, and in fact since then Richard’s parents have have not been identified, [edit:] but his wife, father in law, and presumably place of origin have.1 Or so it says at

Luckily in December 2002, Edward Davies discovered the missing piece of the puzzle. Researchers had long known of the marriage of Richard Warren to Elizabeth Walker on 14 April 1610 at Great Amwell, Hertford. Since we know the Mayflower passenger had a wife named Elizabeth, and a first child born about 1610, this was a promising record. But no children were found for this couple in the parish registers, and no further evidence beyond the names and timing, until the will of Augustine Walker was discovered. In the will of Augustine Walker, dated April 1613, he mentions “my daughter Elizabeth Warren wife of Richard Warren”, and “her three children Mary, Ann and Sarah.” We know that the Mayflower passenger’s first three children were named Mary, Ann, and Sarah (in that birth order).

Nothing’s said about Augustine’s ancestry, or his wife’s, and I’m guessing nothing is known yet. Maybe there’s a connection to royalty, maybe not. For now I have to settle for famous relatives: “Richard Warren’s descendants include such notables as Civil War general and President Ulysses S. Grant; President Franklin D. Roosevelt; and Alan B. Shepard, Jr. the first American in space and the fifth person to walk on the moon.”

1 I got this somewhat sideways when I first posted it. I said Richard’s parents have been identified; they haven’t, but we’re closer.


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  1. Not so royal either | Holmes genealogy

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