How To Research and Discover Your Gateway Ancestors \ Genealogy \ Ancestry

How To Research and Discover Your Gateway Ancestors \ Genealogy \ Ancestry

How To Research and Discover Your Gateway Ancestors \ Genealogy \ Ancestry

Gateway ancestor is a term used in genealogy. It means that when researching your family tree you discover that one of your ancestors is descended from royalty, the aristocracy, or landed gentry. Fortunately this part of your family tree, the ancestors associated with this Gateway Ancestor would have been previously investigated and their lineage well documented, in both ancient pedigrees and in the history books. This not only saving you tremendous time and expense, but will lead you into a world of inter-connected royal families and land-owning aristocracy. Quite something to include in your family tree. But don’t think it will not happen to you, don’t think you will not discover a gateway ancestor as it’s very likely you will. You just need to give yourself time, be patient and after years of research you may one day discover that all important elusive ancestor, I have been researching for 25 years and it took 15 years of research to discover my first gateway ancestor. In regard to most family histories, It is estimated that it takes 300 years to fall out of wealth, and it takes 300 years to climb back into it. So a king of England that lived 300 years ago, can easily have a descendant that drives a taxi today. Many well-off families fell on hard times, or had many sons who did not inherit any title or wealth, there may even be a below-stairs liaison with the chamber-maid resulting in an illegitimate child. Once you have located what is known as a gateway ancestor, one who links your family to a known noble ancestry, the door opens a world of recorded and published pedigrees that can lead back to royalty. He may be a vicar or a tradesman perhaps; he will probably stand out against the background of more humble contemporaries. Any mention of “Esquire”, “Gentleman”, “reverend” or even a “Yeoman” should be pounced upon and fully investigated. Certain surnames should also be looked at closely – Such as Grey, Howard, Beauchamp, there are many more that belong to long prestigious lineages. If you have a surname in your tree and it sounds old and important then do lots of homework and research. Search widely and stay vigilant for the right signs and you will give yourself the best chance to find a royal ancestor. Though some researchers who claim Royal ancestry are subject to sneering comments or attitudes, this is not a problem as they tend to be criticised by people who have not carried out any extensive research in primary sources. But as long as the researcher can direct them too proof, this research can be defended. It is after all so widespread that no one can claim that it is ‘special’ or they are ‘special’ though this might undermine the concept of inherited privilege. Perhaps the sneerers should be directed to page 501 of Burke’s Dormant and Extinct peerages, under the article for ‘Stafford – Barons Stafford, Earls of Stafford, Dukes of Buckingham, Barons Stafford’ Under the entry for Henry Stafford and his wife Ursula Pole is an entry for their granddaughter Jane Stafford, sister of the impoverished last Baron Stafford of the family. It stated that ‘Jane, who married a joiner, and had a son a cobbler, living at Newport, in Shropshire, in 1637: thus the great-great-grandson of Margaret Plantagenet, daughter and heiress of George, Duke of Clarence, sunk to the grade of a mender of old shoes.’ The facts are repeated in ‘The Complete Peerage’ entry for Stafford. It is also worth remembering that William Etty the Artist 1787-1849 was a son of a baker and ginger bread maker in York, was the uncle of two women who married a hairdresser and a house painter, yet through his mother Esther Calverley, he was a descendant of Ann, sister of English Kings Richard III and Edward IV. There are so many reasons why an ancestor may have fallen from a class of the privileged, war, illegitimacy, falling out of favour, loss of money and land and even simple time. Not every child born to a family can inherit land and title, the youngest usually have to do it alone. #gatewayancestor #genealogy #ancestry


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  • Published: 13 June 2022
  • Location: Chelmsford, Essex
  • Duration: 15:06
  • Photography – Stephen Robert Kuta
  • Written by – Stephen Robert Kuta

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Music Licensed by Epidemic Sound

How To Research and Discover Your Gateway Ancestors \ Genealogy \ Ancestry

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