The fanciful pedigree I happened upon when I put my third great grandmother Esther WELLS into FamilySearch is a gift that keeps on giving. Today I opened a spreadsheet that, I hope, will enable me to keep track of all “my” kings, princes, dukes, earls, lords, barons – and their “better halves”. On an early exploration some weeks ago, I’m sure I saw King Edward of England (1003-1066) in it somewhere but he didn’t show in a couple of hours searching today.
I can’t be related to him “by blood” because he died without issue. If there is a connection that can, eventually, be proven it will be to the Confessor’s wife, Edith, sister of Harold GODWINSON (1022-1066). Not directly, because she had no children, but through Harold to her niece Gytha. I’m hoping now, of course, that I imagined the saintly Edward on “my” pedigree – so that the Harold who whupped the Norse is a many times great grandfather. (To think I subtitled this blog “adventures in the kin trade”. I remember very clearly a primary school trip to Stamford Bridge, when I was nine or ten years old. We were told the probably apocryphal story of a lone invading Viking bravely keeping the Anglos at bay for a while.)
King Edward was supposedly so pious he had taken a vow of chastity. This would account for Edith setting tongues wagging the word “barren” – and others to opine that her husband was firing blanks. It seems to me, from the little background reading I have done, that King Edward’s plan to replace Edith with a fertile queen ends the argument (or complicates it further). He gave up the idea when he invited Harold Godwinson in from the cold because he needed his help to keep the country together. It isn’t entirely clear that he made Harold his heir but the Earl of Wessex took the job anyway, and held it for those few roller coaster months.
So, Gytha – Edward’s pre-teen niece. She married Vladimir II Monomakh and bore him, it is said, thirteen children but died before he became Grand Prince of Kiev in 1113. If you consider this an unlikely match, Vladimir could speak Norse so they (obviously) got along fine.
Harold has at least ten duplicate records on FamilySearch Tree and this screenshot is the only one that shows descent through Gytha. (It is a bonus for me that his second wife’s granny is Lady Godiva; even though she isn’t a blood relative she sounds a hoot.) Some data problems are clearly indicated but I don’t think they render this part of the pedigree a work of fiction. My problems are about 700 years in the future, making the leap from my true ordinary folk to the generations where kings are a dime a dozen.
King Edward the Confessor has at least 12 duplicate records. The top “hit” for the most obvious search terms (“Edward Confessor”) has him born in the generally accepted year but in Cherry Valley, Otsego, New York, United States. The first sensible pedigree takes you back in time from ID 9WLZ-JVT. Hmm, that Poppa of Bayeux looks familiar.