The Richmond family crest

Unusual people in the family tree

With the aid of modern technology, it is becoming easy to build a family tree of millions of ancestors and cousins. There was a report in the press 5 March 2007 of a man who had compiled a tree of 1.7 million names. Frankly, I don’t know what he does with all that. It would take him a lifetime just to read them all. I have already encountered some large databases that contain our relatives, including what I call the “Line of the Kings,” which connects us to all the kings of England and the Continent. And I know of other huge databases out there that, if I can connect them, will swell the already cumbersome list. But I am not so much interested in the famous people, other than to note them where I find them. So, rather than trying to list every Hugh and Elise in the family tree. I have decided to shrink the list to people who have some unique or unusual distinction beyond just their name and dates. It is too much of a task even to establish all the links, but I will note the main branch. Of course, a search on Ancestry.com should take anyone to the exact location of the person named.
That said, I have recorded this information as accurately as I can. This doesn’t mean that some of it may be B.S. In fact, I know of one bit of information that is apparently a fraud, the connection between the Perkins Line and the Ramsden family of nobles in Yorkshire. So I cannot say that any of this information is 100% certified true and accurate. It may be, or it may not be, but it makes interesting reading anyway.

The Anne Ramsden Hoax

One of the more interesting people that I came across in the Perkins line is Dame Anne Ramsden, daughter of Sir John Ramsden. She is said to have been the wife of William Childers (died 1649 in James City, Virginia). The records say she was born in 1600 or 1604 in Yorkshire and died date unknown at Jamestown, Virginia. The only problem is that the only Dame Anne Ramsden in the family records at Yorkshire was the wife of Sir John himself. This has led one researcher to conclude that the connection between the families is the result of a fraudulent genealogical researcher for the Childress family early in the 20th century. The fraud including falsifying documents, notably Chancery Court records of civil suits filed by William Childers and Anne Ramsden. I found several conflicts between the Childress records and other sources myself. The bogus information has just kept getting repeated, especially now that we have the Internet. As such, no one knows who William really married, or even if his name was William. It might have been an Anne Ramsden, but she is not connected to the Yorkshire nobles apparently.

Brian Boru, first King of Ireland

The Nowlin family line, which begins in our family tree with Harriet Elizabeth Nowlin Carnes, is an ancient Celtic one with roots deep in Irish history. The name comes from the Irish Ui Nuallain / nuall, meaning to shout or to cry out. When our ancestor Daniel Nowland married Anastase O’Brien, born 1605 in Carlow County, in 1625, two major Irish families were joined. The O’Brien clan are all descendants of Brian Ború, ("Brian of the Tributes"), who became the first High King of Ireland in 1002. The name Brian is probably from Brion, which is thought to mean lofty or eminent (Brian the Great, so to speak).

Robert the Bruce, First King of Scotland

Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, born 11 July, 1274 and died 7 June, 1329, first and eldest child of Robert Bruce, 6th Lord of Annandale and Marjorie Carrick. In 1295 he married his first wife, Isabella of Mar and they had one child, Marjorie Bruce, who later married Walter Stewart and their child was the future Robert II of Scotland. In 1302 he married his second wife, Elizabeth de Burgh and the had the following children: David II, John, Matilda and Margaret.

In 1316 he was also crowned King of Ireland and stated, "Whereas we and you and our people and your people, free since ancient times, share the same national ancestry and are urged to come together more eagerly and joyfully in friendship by a common language and by common custom, we have sent you our beloved kinsman, the bearers of this letter, to negotiate with you in our name and permanently strengthening and maintaining inviolate the special friendship between us and you, so that with God's will our nation (nostra nacio) may be able to recover her ancient liberty."
In 1314 King Robert the Bruce secured independence from the British in the Battle of Bannockburn. He is buried at Dunfermline Abbey in Scotland.

Godwin, Earl of Wessex

This information is taken from an article on the web.

Godwin, sometimes Godwine, 1001-April 15, 1053, was one of the most powerful lords in England under the Danish king Canute the Great and his successors. Canute made him the first Earl of Wessex. Godwin was the father of Harold II and of Edith of Wessex, wife of Edward the Confessor. Godwin's father was probably Wulfnoth Cild (983-1015), Cild being a nickname, who was Thegn of Sussex, although later documents describe his father as a churl. Wulfnoth was supposedly a sixth generation descendant of King Ethelred of Wessex, the elder brother of Alfred the Great; Ethelred's descendants were passed over in the royal succession, but became prominent nobles in the kingdom. The patrilineal descent of Godwin from a King of Wessex is still being researched, however, and should not be taken as certain. Wulfnoth led a section of the royal fleet into piracy and as a consequence had his lands forfeited, and was exiled. It was left to his young son, Godwin, to improve the family fortunes after his father's death in 1014. In his day, Earl Godwin was seen as very much of a new man, who had been "made" by two advantageous marriages to Danish noblewomen: Thyra Sveinsdottir, Canute’s sister, and Gytha Thorkelsdóttir, said to be the granddaughter of the legendary Viking Styrbjörn Starke and great-granddaughter to Harold Bluetooth, king of Denmark and thus also ancestor to King Canute.

Godwin was a major supporter of Edmund Ironside, the son of King Aethelred the Unready. While Edmund was in rebellion against his father, Canute and his army invaded England. Edmund was killed, along with many of his supporters, but Godwin survived and pledged his loyalty to Canute. He befriended Canute's brother-in-law, Earl Ulf, and became one of Canute's advisors, accompanying him to Denmark to suppress a rebellion there. By 1018 he was an earl, becoming Earl of the West Saxons in about 1019. In 1022 he married Thyra Sveinsdóttir. She died soon afterwards without issue, but Godwin continued to gain prestige and by 1023 he was the most powerful earl in England. The earldom of Wessex covered roughly the southwest third of England.

He was apparently a brilliant politician, and survived through a series of allegiances after Canute died, coming at last to support Edward the Confessor, whose reign restored the royal house of Wessex to the throne of England. this is despite suspicions that he was involved in the death of the king’s brother Alfred in 1036 during a series of conflicts over royal succession after the death of Canute. Instead, Godwin secured the marriage of his daughter Edith (Eadgyth) to Edward in 1045. When a violent conflict broke out between the people of Dover and a visiting count from Bologne, as a result of anti-Norman resentment, Edward ordered Godwin to punish Dover, but he refused, choosing to champion his own countrymen against the king. Godwin and his sons were exiled, but returned the following year with an armed force and forced Edward to restore him to his earldom. He died 15 April 1053 at Winchester.

The Line of Obedience Cox

Obedience Cox, David Nowlin’s grandmother, was the daughter of Richard Cox and Mary Trent. The Cox line ends with John Cox, born 1473 and died 1571 in Wiltshire, but in that line is the family of Richmonds, who trace their ancestry back to warriors who followed Rolf, the first Duke of Normandy, father of William the Conqueror. Richard Cox’s grandfather was William Richmond. In the Richmond line is the surname Webb, into which the Richmond family married (William married Alice in 1430. She was heir to the Webb fortune, which was larger than that of the Richmonds, so, according to custom, William took the name of Webb also and adopted the Webb crest as his own). The Webb line ends with Henry, born 15 May 1350 in Warwickshire, where he died in 1397.

There is a question of the origin of the Richmond line. As the Richmond family website notes:

 “The Richmonds of England may be either of French or Norman origin. . . Rollo (Rolf) the first Duke of Normandy was a Viking warlord from Norway who, with his followers, settled the western portion of France. Through the treaty of St. Clair-sur-Epte he obtained an area between the Valleys of Bresle, L'Epte and L'Avre from King Philip of France. William the Conqueror, the grandson of Rollo, expanded his kingdom to include England. It is assumed that the first Richmond ancestor accompanied William and served at his side during the Battle of Hastings. Eudon, Count of Penthievre, the son of Geoffrey Duke of Brittany and Hawise (daughter of Richard Duke of Normandy) had five legitimate living children. Alan Rufus (the Red), the third child of Eudon, accompanied the Conqueror in his conquest of England. Alan was commander of the Breton contingent at the Battle of Hastings and later played a major role in the brutal suppression of the North 1069-1070. For his loyalty and his relationship to William (he was a second cousin) he was made one of the largest landowners in England. Alan Count of Brittany was granted lands and manors that formerly had been in the possession of Earl Edwin in Yorkshire. This extensive holding, one of the three largest granted by William, was created for military purposes. The estates were formed into the Honour of Brittany (they would not be called the Honour of Richmond until about 1203).
“Various genealogical researchers have proposed different beginnings to the early Richmond line. The question often arises as to how intertwined was the Richmond family with the ducal family. The ducal crown in the Richmond arms probably stems from such an early relationship to royalty, or from the later intermarriage with some ducal family. However, it is difficult to follow ancestral lines prior to the 1483 establishment of the Herald's College by Richard III and tradition is often woven with historical fact. No claim can be made to Richmond Castle or the arms of the present Duke of Richmond who is of the Lennox Family.

“Note: The early generations presented below are the genealogical line presented by Joshua Bailey Richmond. However, some new research has been proposed by a Musard family genealogist that suggests that we descend from Hasculfus de St. James and not through Roald d'Adoube Musard.”

If, as this site suggests, the Richmond’s descend from the de St. James, then we are related to Hugh de Port of Basing, Sheriff of Hampshire (died 1096), who married Orence or Orenge, born 1049. Hugh is listed in the Domesday Book for Dorsetshire and was a member of Norman aristocracy. Interestingly, Hampshire is in Nottingham, so does that make him a sheriff of Nottingham? Pardon if this only shows my ignorance of English place names.

 Construction on Richmond Castle, overlooking the River Swale, began under Alan Rufus (the Red) in 1071.

In the Richmond-Webb line is also the surname Nichols which ends with Thomas Nicholas, born ?-died 1669 in St. Buryan, Cornwall, as well as Giles (Margaret, b? and died 1810 in St. Buryan), and Saint Joan, which ends without question with William, 1173?-1213?, living at Portchester Castle, Hampshire, but may extend to Hugh De Port, 1030-1066, born at Port En Bessin, Calvados, Normandy, and died at Seamer, Scarborough, North Ride Yorkshire.

In the line is also Lydirad Tregoze, born 1428 in Wiltshire, and died 10 April 1497 in Guipúzcoa, Spain. He was buried 10 April 1497 in Stoke, Nottingham. I searched to see if I could find out the circumstances of his death, but I could not find any more information on him.

At the top of the page is one of the coats of arms associated with the Richmond family.

"The execution of Lady Jane Gray" by French Romantic painter Paul Delaroche, 1833.

Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days Queen

The patriarch of the Collins clan is Jacob Archibald Collins, Sr., born in North Carolina in 1750. His wife was named Mary, born 1747 and died 8 June1845, probably in Lincoln County. While many sites agree that Jacob’s wife Mary was a Martin, the actual evidence is scant. According to one source, she is referred to only once and then not by name, in a August 1859 court case filed by Jacob Collins’ daughter, Elizabeth Collins Roberts, which refers to uncles of Jacob Collins’ children named Thomas and William Martin.

Mary is thought to be Thomas and William’s sister, although she is not mentioned in another source, which lists only four children of William Martin: Thomas, William, and two females, neither of which is Mary.

Because of the general consensus that Jacob’s wife was Mary Martin, daughter of William Martin of Virginia, I mention three notable people in her family tree:

– Sir William Martyn of Athelhampton, 1446 – 14 January 1503, Lord Mayor of London. He built the current Great Hall of Athelhampton in or around 1485

– Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset KG (1457 – 20 September 1501), known as Lord Ferrers de Groby between 1461 and 1471, and the Earl of Huntingdon between 1471 and 1475. He was the eldest son of Elizabeth Woodville and consequently a stepson of King Edward IV of England. He was also the grandfather of Lady Jane Grey, the grand-niece of King Henry VIII and Queen of England for nine days or 13 days, depending on the sources, before she was overthrown and eventually executed.

– Lady Jane Grey.The story of Lady Jane Grey, 1537-1554, is tragic and horrible. She was a mild-tempered, gentle child, but had terrible parents. Her father was Henry Grey, the marquis of Dorset and later duke of Suffolk, and her mother was Frances Brandon. In particular, Frances was cruel even by the standards of the time. She beat Jane regularly to "harden her to life," and both her father and mother terrorized her.

"For when I am in the presence of either Father or Mother, whether I speak, keep silence, sit, stand or go, eat, drink, be merry or sad, be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing anything else, I must do it as it were in such weight, measure and number, even so perfectly as God made the world; or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yes presently sometimes with pinches, nips and bobs and other ways ... that I think myself in hell."

Jane took refuge in books and was considered to be very intelligent and well-educated. In 1546, at less than 10 years old, Jane was sent to live as the ward of 35-year old Katherine Parr, then queen consort of England, who had married Henry VIII in 1543. Katherine by all accounts was good with children, but she died in 1548. Her time with Katherine was undoubtedly the best years of Jane's short life.

On 21 May 1553, at the age of 16 or 17, she was forced by her mother to marry Lord Guilford Dudley, son of John Dudley, First Duke of Northumberland. Jane considered him an arrogant bully and had stated her preference for a single life.

When Edward VI died on 6 July 1853, Northumberland had Jane, a Protestant, proclaimed Queen of England according to provisions in Edward's will. But nine days later, Edward's half-sister, Mary, a Catholic, had her arrested, along with her husband, father, and father-in-law. Mary became Mary I, or "Bloody Mary" for having almost 300 religious dissenters burned at the stake.

Northumberland was executed 21 August, and Jane, along with her husband and the rest, were convicted of treason on 13 November 1553. But even though she was sentenced to be burned alive or beheaded (queen's choice), her life was spared, initially. However, a Protestant rebellion in January 1554 sealed her fate, even though she was not involved in it, and she was executed on 12 February. Before her execution, Jane, who was probably only 17, said:

"Good people, I am come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same. The fact, indeed, against the Queen's highness was unlawful, and the consenting thereunto by me: but touching the procurement and desire thereof by me or on my behalf, I do wash my hands thereof in innocency, before God, and the face of you, good Christian people, this day.

I would suspect, however, that Jane was innocent, a pawn in the ambitions of Northumberland. It is doubtful she could do anything other than consent to his plans.

The Line of the Kings

It is also through the Cox-Perkins branch of the Nowlin line that our family tree becomes part of the “Line of the Kings,” as I call it. We are related to every king of England and the Continent, including Charlemagne. In addition, we are related to  the kings of the Vandals in North Africa, the Emperors of the Holy Roman empire, several families of French, English, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish nobility, and have at least one family member who lived 638 to 690 in Garderige, Russia. Needless to say, there are millions of people in this line, making cataloging them an impossible task. I have traced some of the family lines back to their source, but not all of them. What I have at present (March 22, 2007) are the following, the path to the Line of the Kings.
This line, collectively speaking, is both broad and deep, and thus incomplete. It contains many surnames as the line crosses into France. The lines extend deep into the past, but often with uncertainty because of duplicate names in the records. Of course, there is always the possibility of error, too, and even fraudulent data, as I said earlier. The following lines end with the last known surname or where there are duplicate names (more than one possible ancestor) in the records, which would make their ancestry hopelessly uncertain. But I emphasize that this list is incomplete and much more research could be done.:

• Richard De La Haye, born about 1013 in La Haye Du Puis, Normandy, France, and died in 1080. His mother was Olivia De Aubigny. This means we have French ancestry.

• William De Aubigny, born 1010 in St Martin Daubigny, Manche, Normandie, France, where he died in 1019? His mother was Adela d Eu, 985-1066, of Plessis, Normandy.

• John Broye, born 1235 in Faumont Parish, Glamorgan, Wales. This means we have Welsh ancestry.

• Andrew De La Bere, born 1195 in Oselworth, Glou County, England, and died 1230 in Wales.

• Thomas De Rocheford born 1163 in Siston Parish, Gloucestershire, and died 1205 in Siston.

• William De Berkeley, born 1015, in Gloucestershire, and died 1042, place unknown.

• One of my personal favorites: The Staller Eadnoth, born 1030 in Bristol, and killed in 1068 in Stamford Bridge, Humberside. A staller was one of the highest posts in England, and although the duties of Eadnoth are not known exactly, he is described on one site as "Master of the King's Horse -- Sheriff, and Commander of the Men of Somerset." Eadnoth literally sat beside two kings, Edmund the Confessor and Harold, and several notable people, including King George I, Lady Diana, Winston Churchill, and George Washington have him in their family tree. But Eadnoth died in battle fighting for William the Conqueror. When Harold Godwinson, or Harold II, was killed in the battle of Hastings, Eadnoth swore allegiance to William. He was killed in the successful defense of Somerset against a force led by Harold's sons.

Eadnoth's wife was Rissa De Montgomery, born 1044 and died in 1069 in Dursley Parish, Gloucestershire. His father is Svend Ulfsson, born 1019 in Hellige Trefolg, Kirken, Roskilde, Denmark, and died in Soderup, Abenraa, Denmark, 23 April 1076.  This means we have Danish ancestry, but the line broadens considerably.

• Svend had an ancestor named Bjorn Ironside Ragnarsson, born 777 in Upsala, Sweden, and died in 859 in Paris (was h a Viking?), and another who was named Randver Radbartsson, born 670 in Denmark and died 770 in Bravik, Ostergotland, Sweden.

• Radbard of Russia, Bravik’s father, was born 638 and died 690, in Garderidge, Russia, and his mother was Moalda Digri Kinriksdatter, 594-603? in Jutland.

• Flavius Valentinianus, Roman Emperor, 419-455, Rome.

• Theodosius I, the Great, born 11 January 345 in Cauca, Coca, Gallaecia, Spain, and died 395 in Milan.

This particular line then ends with Flavius Stilicho, born 365 in Rome and died 408 in Ravenna, Latinium(?). But his wife’s line goes on to include Galla, Empress of Rome, the Emperor Valentinian I, and others, and ends with Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus of Rome (the Emperor Constantine), born 27 February, 273-274? in Naissus, Upper Moesia, Yugoslavia, and died 22 May 337. He is buried in the Church of the Apostles, Constantinople, Turkey, and and was married to Constantina of Rome, born 281 in Eboracum, England, and died date unknown.
Also in the line is Hilderic [of the] Vandals, born 480 in Carthage, Africa, and died in 530 in North Africa. He married Amfleda The Younger, 500-556, North Africa. She was the daughter of King Thrasamund, a Vandal king, who lived 470-496 in North Africa. So, in addition to Constantine and other emperors and kings, we are descendants of Thrasamund (450-523), King of the Vandals, and Alans (496-523), the fourth king of the North African Kingdom of the Vandals. He reigned longer than any other Vandal king in Africa other than his grandfather, Geiseric. Thrasamund was the third son born to Geiseric's fourth son, Gento, and became king in 496 only because Geiseric's sons and his own brother, King Gunthamund, all died in their forties.

Down the de Montgomery line above, there is

Robert De Montgomery  was born in Abt 1014 in Of St. Germain, Normandy, France. He is Rissa’s father, and his wife was Josceline De Ponteaudemer, born in 989 in France. She is a descendent of the de Crepons, who end with Herbastus De Crepon  was born in 911 in Normandy, France.

And there is a Godwin, birth date unknown, and died 1053. He married Gytha of Denmark. Gytha is the daughter of Thorkils "Sprakaleg" of Denmark. Earl of Wessex.

• Frodi Fridleifsson (Frode Vii Prince Of Lethra), 479-548, who married Hildis Princess Of The Vandals, born 496 in Carthage, Africa, and died 572 in Jutland. I just thought it was cool that we have a Frodi in the family tree.

• King Yngvi Alreksson of Sweden, 466-499.

• King Alf Fyrisvold, grandson of King Dag “The Powerful,” born about 431 in Sweden.

• Princess Driva Spaersdotter, 302-400 in Finland.

And a whole line of kings of Finland/Kvenland.

• Estmond Knight (Earl of Mercia) was born about 1050 in of Bristol, Gloucestershire, England. “His baptism was submitted. His endowment was submitted. He married Godiva de Conteville
of Normandie [born 1076]. Their sealing was submitted.” Sorry. Godiva is not the famous Lady Godiva. That Lady Godiva was born in 980 in Mercia, England.

Godiva de Conteville's parents were Sir Herluin de Conteville and Herleve de Falaise. He was born in 979 in Conteville, Calvados, France, and they were married in 1028 in Conteville. She was born in 1006 in Falaise, Normandie, France. Among Godiva's siblings was her brother, Odo de Conteville, Bishop of Bayeaux.

Fulbert the Tanner Thorkilsson de Falaise, born 978 in the Falaise, Calvados region of France, and died in 1017 in Normandy. He was, as the title says, a tanner. He married Doda or Donalda MacAlpon, born in 980 in Atholl, Berthshire, Scotland, and daid after 1003 in Falaise. Among their children was Harlena, Herleve, Herleva, Arlette or Arlotte de Falais, born 1003 in Falaise and died in 1050 in Brosse. She is buried in the Abbey of St. Grestain in France. Her name meant "harlot," and she was the mistress of Robert, Duke of Normany. She had a child by him who became known as William the Conqueror.

•Gandolf Alfgeirsson Norway, born 710 in Vingulmork, Hedmark, Norway, and died 735, probably in Norway. We also have a Gandolf, too!    
• Princess Heluna Ellusdotter, 776-732, Wessex. The line ends with her father, Eaba.

• Fornjotur King (of) Kvenland, 160-250.

• Gudraud (Raumsson) Of Norway, 350/336-400, Norway. I think he was early in the line of the Norwegian kings, including such names as Haldan “the Old” Hringsson King in Ringerik, born 450, father of Budli Halfdansson, born 502. the Old’s wife was Almveigu Eymundsdatter, daughter of Eymund King in Holmgard, and born in Novgorod, Russia.

    • Eysteinn “Illradi” Gudraudsson, King of the Upands, born 445, Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway.