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Genealogy > Concepts

Introduction

Welcome to the RoyaList genealogy section - a guide to the royal genealogy of Britain. Our database contains biographical details of thousands of individuals who have either belonged to, or been connected with, the royal family of England and Scotland during more than 1,000 years of history.

Although the primary focus is on British royalty, the web of intermarriages amongst the royal houses of Europe is such that many representatives of continental royalty are also featured. The intention has been to include all known members of the immediate family of those who are either in or close to the English and Scottish royal lines.

The further an individual is from a royal line, the less likely it is that his or her immediate family will be included. However, you will find a few famous non-royal people with distant royal connections, for example: Geoffrey Chaucer, George Washington and George W. Bush.

If this is your visit to these pages, you may find it useful to scan the Concepts section below. This describes, for example, how we have attempted to standardise most names and titles. That information should make it easier for you to find people.

Features

Here's a summary of what you can do in the genealogy section of this site:

  • Do a quick search of the whole database by name, title, place name or note keyword: use the search box in the right-hand column.
  • Browse the main alphabetical index of names: click one of the index letters at the top of each page.
  • View a mini-biography of any person in the database: click the person's name in any list.
  • View an interactive family tree for any person: click the relevant link from the person's biography page.
  • View a list of ancestors or descendants for any person: click the relevant link from the person's biography page.
  • View a list of titles held by people in the database.
  • View a complete list of monarchs of England or Scotland.
  • View the line of succession to the throne at any date.
  • Calculate the kinship between any two people in the database.
  • View a list of events (births, marriages, deaths, coronations, etc).
  • View a list of places associated with people in the database.
  • View a list of biographical notes.
  • View a list of relevant books or DVDs. You can also click the links (where available) from a person's biography page.

Don't forget that your most recent searches can be re-run by clicking one of the links below the search box in the right-hand column. Also, if you are signed in, the right-hand column will contain links for up to 25 of your most recently-viewed people.

Feedback

A project like this is, by its nature, never-ending: we can never include every relevant individual or get every fact correct. Should you notice a glaring omission or error, or even if you just have a comment or question about the data or the site, please contact us via the Feedback page.



Concepts

Historical Sources

This web site is intended as a general reference for those interested in royal genealogy, rather than as a specialist tool, and the vast majority of the information provided has therefore been drawn from secondary sources, such as royal biographies, rather than from original research. Often, different sources disagree on a given subject, and in these instances we have tried to use whichever one appears to be most authoritative and reliable, although where this is difficult to judge we have simply chosen whichever interpretation seemed most likely.

Given & Family Names

Given names have generally been anglicised, except where the individual is more commonly known by the native form. For example, "John" is preferred to "Jean" or "Juan", but "Louis" is preferred to "Lewis". One of the main reasons for this is to provide consistency for name statistics. Two notable exceptions are: non-English forms given to English-speaking people (for example Maria Fitzherbert); and those given names generally held to be female but given to males named after saints (such as Maria).

Many people in the database did not have what would now be thought of as a "surname" or "last name", so the term "family name" is used as a more general alternative, to indicate a name that is usually associated with a particular family (for example, Plantagenet or Guelph).

Index Names

The "index name" of an individual is the name by which he or she appears in most lists or reports in the web site. Most index names follow one of the following two formats:

  • <given name> <family name>, <title>
    for example : Edmund Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset
     
  • <given name> <family name> (<relation> of <other person>)
    for example : Elizabeth de Burgh (daughter of Richard, 2nd Earl of Ulster)

The first format is used mainly for those who have a title in their own right. Thus spouses who obtain a title through marriage are generally not listed with that title, although there are some exceptions to this rule (especially in the case of men who gained a heritable title by marrying an heiress).

There are many cases where an individual could, with ample justification, have been given any one of several index names. For example, "Margaret Tudor (daughter of King Henry VII)" could also have been listed as "Margaret Tudor (sister of King Henry VIII)", "Margaret Tudor (wife of James IV of Scotland)" or "Margaret Tudor (mother of James V of Scotland)". In such cases, we have not followed any particular rules, but have simply selected whichever seemed the most appropriate form.

A third format is used exclusively for sovereigns of England since 1066 - these index names start with "King" or "Queen", for example "King Henry VIII" or "Queen Elizabeth I".

The main point to be aware of is that choosing a suitable format for an index name is a very subjective matter, and you should therefore be prepared to try several alternatives when looking for a specific individual.

Titles

Titles within the United Kingdom peerage are generally listed in the format: <title> (<year> xx - <number>)

  • The year indicates when the title was obtained by the first person in this particular line.
  • The "xx" indicates how the title was obtained: "cr" means it was created for this person, "m" means it was obtained via marriage to the heiress.
  • The "number" indicates the person's sequence number within the series.

For example, Baron Beaumont (1309 cr - 2nd): this means the person is the 2nd holder of this title, which was created for his predecessor in 1309.
Another example, Earl of Derby (1362 m - 2nd): this means the person is the 2nd holder of this title, which was obtained via his predecessor's wife in 1362.

Cause of Death

For ease of analysis, all deaths recorded in the database are attributed to one of the following six causes: Accident, Battle, Execution, Murder, Natural, Unknown. Although these are fairly self-explanatory, there are several points which should be noted:

  • The 'Battle' category includes those who were killed as a direct result of a military action, except in the few well-known cases where the victim is generally considered to have been executed (for example, Edmund, Earl of Rutland, who was 'executed' after the battle of Wakefield).
  • Suicides are included in the 'Natural' category.
  • The 'Execution' category generally includes those who were the victims of summary justice, as well as those who were condemned by more formal legal methods.
Royal Blood

The 'Royal Blood' value displayed on each person's biography page represents the proportion of English/Scottish royal blood inherited by that person.

Each legitimate child of a monarch of England/Scotland (or Great Britain) is assigned a value of 100%. Other people are assigned the average of their parents' values. Illegitimate children of monarchs are assigned a value of 50% plus half the non-royal parent's value.

Note that some monarchs therefore appear more royal than others: for example Henry VIII has a value of 100%, because he was the son of a king, but his father Henry VII has a much lower value.

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