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Not so royal either

6 Feb 2015

I recently wrote about the connection to royalty via Richard WARREN, or the lack thereof given the correct identification of his parents. I have another royal line, though; any good?

It goes via Warren BELDEN through his father, Jerome BELDEN, and right there there’s a problem — depending on how you define genealogy. To some, genealogy properly studies only biological relationships and anything else isn’t admissible. My own view is that this doesn’t make sense, because 99% of the time a biological relationship in a family tree cannot be proved. Disproved, maybe; DNA testing, for example, can show unambiguously that X was not Y‘s father, if you can do yDNA tests on enough male line descendants of both. But proving that X was Y‘s father is another story, and we generally just assume that if X acted or was treated as Y‘s father, and if there’s no evidence to the contrary, then the relationship was biological. Given that biological relationship is generally unprovable, my attitude is that non-biological relationships should be welcome objects of study.

Warren was adopted. Well, so I’ve been told, anyway. I have no documentation of that. If he was, then presumably I’m not going to be regard as an heir to the British throne through Jerome, but I can at least take an interest in Jerome’s royal ancestry.

If any.

Jerome’s great grandfather was Samuel BELDEN (1689–1771), or at least so published genealogies say; I haven’t thoroughly examined the evidence. Samuel’s wife was Mary SPENCER, and her father is said to have been Nathaniel SPENCER, son of Gerard SPENCER, son of Alice WHITBREAD, daughter of Eleanor RADCLYFFE, daughter of Edward RADCLYFFE, 6th Earl of Sussex. From there it goes: Sir Humphrey RADCLYFFE; Elizabeth STAFFORD, Countess of SussexHenry STAFFORD, 2nd Duke of BuckinghamHumphrey STAFFORD, Earl of StaffordHumphrey STAFFORD, 1st Duke of BuckinghamAnne of GloucesterThomas of Woodstock, 1st Duke of GloucesterEdward III of England. Very nice, if true, which it isn’t.

For one thing, if you peruse that Wikipedia article I linked to, it says of Edward RADCLYFFE, “He died impoverished, intestate and childless. The earldom became extinct.” The source for that is here, which however doesn’t seem to say specifically he had no children. Still, not looking good.

And here we have:

The previous assumption that Alice’s mother Eleanor was born Radcliffe or Hervey is incorrect. Her maiden name was in fact Hill.

even though elsewhere on that wiki page Eleanor RADCLYFFE is shown as Alice’s mother — and on a linked page she’s also Alice’s grandmother! There seems to be a lot of confusion on that site, but it provides a lead to where, citing The American Genealogist, Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 129-142: “The Whitbread family of Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire, England,” by Clarence Almon Torrey, Alice is listed as daughter of John WHITBREAD and Eleanor HILL. And no royal connections known.






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