The research on Mom's side of the family has been interesting, to say the least. I've gone down many trails on her maternal grandmother's side ("Big Momma"), and it led me to several famous relatives. Not the celebrity kind of famous, ones of the historical variety.
Momma descended from a colorful clan. (If you know her, that is not a big shock to your system) Shakespeare based some of his characters off of her ancestors. They lived in castles in Ireland, Normandy, and England. They were married in cathedrals, castles, and palaces. They are buried in tombs with stone effigies under Laxton Church and burial vaults that include Westminster Abbey. They held titles such as "Admiral of the North Sea", King, Duke, Lord Chancellor, Baron, Archbishop, Knight, Earl, Prince, and Count. A few had adjectives after their names including, "the magnificent" and "the conqueror". That fascinated me. Who was the person that came up with the tags for these names? Did the people really call their ruler the entire phrase, or was that just for the history books? Wouldn't it be fun to add something complimentary after our names today? "Beth the fabulous." I like it. I doubt my fam jam will go for it though.
We missed our line into Buckingham Palace by an older brother. My 25th grandfather, King Henry III and Eleanor of Provence had my 24th grandfather, Edmund the Earl of Lancaster, one boy too late. Doggone it, I was all set to move into Harry and Meghan's old room. This Southern girl would have given the royals a splash of fun! I wonder if they like basketball. I guess I'll never know, thanks to Edmund.
My family tree also includes Rollo, my 35th grandfather. He was the Viking who founded Normandy. This Duke of Normandy "took his wife in Viking fashion". What the heck does that mean? My heart goes out to my 35th grandmother, Poppa of Bayeux, because I don't know if she went through something terrible back in the 800s. They did produce an heir, and there's a really pretty statue of her in France, so I guess it wasn't all bad.
Although we didn't follow the royal line, my Everingham ancestors were Lords, Barons, and Keepers of Sherwood Forrest. One of them had this title when, according to legend, Robin Hood and his Merry Men were hanging out under the Major Oak, which is still standing. That tree has been added to my list of "things I want to see". I wonder if my 25th grandfather ever chased Robin Hood through those woods, or if he turned a blind eye to his thievery.
The family moved into Ireland, where they held titles such as Vice Treasurer and Lord Chancellor. Then to Switzerland, from where Michael Whitmer chose to sail to America in 1730s. His line included David Whitmer, one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon. The book was translated in their home, and their account has been printed in every edition since 1830. I now know exactly what I'm going to say to the next JW church member that comes to my door! Thank you David. The Whitmers eventually migrated to Muhlenberg County Kentucky where many years later my mom was born in sweet little Bremen. Bremen may be a long way from Rathfarnham and Dover Castle, but Momma will always be a Queen to me.
I've always been intrigued by family names. I found LOTS of Elizabeths throughout this search, so Momma named me well. I guess in some far fetched, very distant cousin kind-of way, I'm named after The Queen. It's a stretch, but family is family, right? I doubt I'll be receiving an invitation any time soon to a fancy dinner in England, but at least I've compiled a list of some fantastic name choices for future grandchildren.
Below are a few (ok, a ridiculous amount, but all good) of the pictures I've gathered along my treasure hunt. My great grandfather, Chesley Dayton Vincent, has one of the most unique grave markers I've ever seen. We think it was made by the Masons, which he was a member. If you know anything about this kind of a tombstone, please reply below or at bethroperstewart.com
Do you have connections to the royals? Let me know at bethroperstewart.com
My Everingham peeps are in this gorgeous Laxton church.
My boy Rollo and his wife Poppa, 35th grandparents. Ruler numero uno for Norway.
My great- grandmother and my grandfather's obituaries.