In several previous blogs, I have mentioned the work of my Aunt Betty Daniells in gathering genealogical information on our ancestors. Betty spent her retirement years traveling in the U.S. and Europe, gathering data. She did her work before the age of the computer, so everything was collected and recorded by hand. Starting with her parents, she followed each line as far as she could. One line, through Juliana Coleman, wife of Peter Plowman, was traced back to around 1400 where it was linked to the royalty of England. The English have historically kept detailed ancestral records so that once a link is established, it is possible to connect dozens of generations. Her research shows that the ancestors of the Daniells/Plowman/Coleman line includes Kings of England, France, Italy, Germany and Poland. Our ancestors include Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, Alfred the Great, and numerous Counts, Dukes, Viscounts, and Earls. Several of our ancestors signed the Magna Carta. Lady Godiva is my 34th great-grandmother.
It is one thing to gather all of the data on European royalty; it is another matter entirely to display it. Betty traced one line 76 generations to Mark Antony and at least six more lines 40 or more generations. It was common practice in the Middle Ages for treaties between nations to include the marriage of one king’s daughter to the king’s new ally. Lines crisscross and kings have children by multiple wives. No standard genealogy chart handles all of this data. One of Betty’s major accomplishments was to organize all of her data into a chart. I have several rough drafts she made on long white window shades. Eventually, she created a copy where each couple’s names were typed on tabs which were attached to poster board and then laminated. A picture of this chart, made in two pieces, is shown here. Actually, there is a third piece which connects as an overlay. I don’t know if anyone else has been able to create a chart displaying this information, but I think this was a major accomplishment. I think that Betty made a copy of this chart for each of her 11 nieces and nephews.
I was recently able to have the chart scanned and anyone who would like a PDF copy can reach me through the comments section of this blog.