Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

Royal Descents of famous people - Unproved and Disproved Descents

  Index of errors and problems

Hugh Capet

Unproven claims about US Presidents

Specific US Presidents and politicians

Other people

Unproved and Disproved Royal Descents

To prove a Royal Descent, one needs to prove every single step. It is often hard or impossible for researchers to be experts in each family at each step in the chain.

As a result, Royal Descents are often proposed only to fail later when one step in the chain is discovered to have problems. Here is a collection of unproved or claimed or disproved Royal Descents of famous people.

For the list of ones that are proved (or at least, not yet disputed) see Royal Descents of famous people - The List.

Index of errors and problems

This list collects errors and problems that occur across multiple attempted descents, as opposed to ones found in only one attempted descent.
  1. Alsop line - John Alsop and Temperance Gilbert are not the parents of Joseph Alsop who married Elizabeth Preston.
  2. Baynton-Echingham-Fitzalan line - The attempted descent of Joan Echingham (wife of John Baynton) from John FitzAlan and Eleanor Maltravers is disputed. See discussion "Echingham/Baynton Line not supported" on soc.genealogy.medieval. See counter-arguments at Wikitree.
  3. Beke/Stafford line - The wife of Nicholas Beke is said to be Joan Stafford, dau of Ralph de Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford - however by his 1st wife, not his 2nd wife. And even this is not certain. See discussion.
  4. Bowen line - Richard Bowen (who married Ann Borne) was not the son of James Bowen and Ellen Griffith.
  5. Browne/Leids line - Edward Browne who married Jane Leids was apparently son of William Browne and Magdeline Elsick, not of Thomas Brown and Dorothy Beauchamp. See also here.
  6. de Chatillon line - Beatrix de Chatillon is not dau of Marie de Bretagne. She does not descend from Henry III, but does descend from Stephen.
  7. Dudley line - William Dudley is son of William Dudley and Ellen/Eleanor, not David Dudley and Joanna Arnold.
  8. Fiennes line - Richard Londenoys' wife is claimed to be a Catherine Fiennes, dau of Thomas Fiennes, 8th Baron Dacre. But there is no evidence for this. See discussion.
  9. Gaveston line - Piers Gaveston, 1st Earl of Cornwall apparently had a dau Amie (or Amy) Gaveston, but she is a natural dau and is NOT a dau of his wife Margaret de Clare.
  10. Greene/Mallory line - Ala Mallory who married Thomas Greene was apparently sister, not daughter, of Anketil Mallory who married Alice de Driby.
  11. Hoar/Lisle line - Alice Lisle (wife of John Hoare) is apparently not dau of John Lisle and Alicia Beconsawe.
  12. Holand line - Elizabeth Holand is not the dau of John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter. See notes by Ed Mann. See 2001 post by Douglas Richardson.
  13. Mallory line - Margaret (surname unknown) who married Robert Corbet was apparently not the daughter of William Mallory. Rather he was her 2nd husband.
  14. Robert Mauleverer line - [Richardson, 2004, p.499] had Robert Mauleverer as son of William Mauleverer and Jane Conyers, dau of John Conyers and Alice Neville. But [Richardson, 2011] changes this, and has him as son of William Mauleverer and Anne Conyers, dau of William Conyers and Anne Bigod. We take this as the correct line. See extract from Page 514 of [Richardson, 2011].
  15. Morgan line - It is not proved that James Morgan who married Martha (Margery) Hills is son of William Morgan and Elizabeth Morgan.
  16. Southworth line - It is not proved that Edward Southworth is son of Thomas Southworth. See p.14 of Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists. See [Roberts, 2008, pp.308-309]. See post by Deborah Southworth Sweet.
  17. Stafford line - Anne Stafford (wife of William Berkeley) is dau of Humphrey Stafford and Eleanor Aylesbury not Humphrey Stafford and Margaret Beaufort.
  18. Street/Poole/Pole line - The claimed descent of Ann Poole (wife of Nicholas Street) from William Pole and Katherine Popham is disputed.
  19. Welles line - Anne Welles (wife of James Butler) is dau of 4th Baron Welles not 5th.

Hugh Capet

No descent from Edward the Elder:

Descent from Charlemagne:


Unproven claims about US Presidents

See summary of what US Presidents have proven Royal Descents.

There are unproven claims that more US Presidents have Royal Descents.

Specific US Presidents and politicians

  1. John Adams, born 1735, US President.

  2. Andrew Jackson, born 1767, US President.

  3. Zachary Taylor, born 1784, US President.
    • See descent from Edward III through William Strother by Ed Mann.
    • [Roberts, 1995] says the Strother descent is unproved.
    • [Roberts, 1995] says there is another possible but unproved descent from Edward I through Anthony Savage.
    • See here.

  4. James Buchanan, born 1791, US President.

  5. Abraham Lincoln, born 1809, US President.

  6. Ulysses S. Grant, born 1822, US President.

  7. Stonewall Jackson, born 1824, Confederate general in American Civil War.

  8. James Abram Garfield, born 1831, US President.

  9. Bob Dole, born 1923, US Presidential candidate.

  10. Colin Powell, born 1937, US Secretary of State.
    • William Addams Reitwiesner summarises the claim. Colin Powell claims his mother Maud Arial McKoy, born 1901, is descended from Sir Eyre Coote, born 1760, who descends from Edward III. No proof is given.

  11. Bill Clinton, born 1946, US President.

Other people

  1. Oliver Cromwell, born 1599, Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

  2. Daniel Boone, born 1734, pioneer explorer of the American West.
    • The claimed descent of Daniel Boone through Morgan from Frances Somerset, dau of 4th Earl of Worcester, and hence from Edward III, is disproved in:
      • "The Family of Edward Morgan of Pennsylvania: Daniel Boone's Maternal Kin" [part 1], Stewart Baldwin, The Genealogist, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Spring 2001): 104-28.
      • "The Family of Edward Morgan of Pennsylvania: Daniel Boone's Maternal Kin" [part 2], Stewart Baldwin, The Genealogist, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Fall 2001): 172-95.

  3. Daniel O'Connell, "The Liberator", born 1775.

  4. Cecil B. DeMille, born 1881, film director.
    • Gary Boyd Roberts shows a Royal Descent: "CECIL BLOUNT DEMILLE, 1881-1959 (Constance Adams; Frederic Adams & Ella King; Frederic Augustus Adams ..."
    • At first glance, this looks like a Royal Descent for DeMille. But confusingly, he is showing a Royal Descent for DeMille's wife.

  5. Margaret Mead, born 1901, anthropologist.

  6. Sir Laurence Olivier, born 1907, actor.

  7. Tennessee Williams, born 1911, playwright.

  8. Bill Gore, born 1912, founder of Gore-Tex.
    • See attempted descent from Edward III by George Larson. However this fails on the Bowen line.

  9. Donald Maclean, born 1913, Soviet spy.
    • The attempted descent of Maclean the spy from Charles II is wrong.
    • Maclean the spy is son of the politician Donald Maclean (born 1864, died 1932) who married 2 Oct 1907 to Gwendolen Devitt.
    • This was formerly confused with Donald Charles Hugh Maclean (born 1876, died 1909) who married 26 Oct 1907 to Gwendoline Hope, descendant of Charles II. This is a totally different couple. See Hope under LINLITHGOW in [Burkes Peerage]. See descent of Rupert Everett.

  10. Roger Sperry, born 1913, neuroscientist.

  11. Willard Boyle, born 1924, physicist.
    • See attempted descent from Edward III by George Larson. However this fails on the Hoar/Lisle line.

  12. Clint Eastwood, born 1930, actor and director.
    • This attempted descent from Edward III by Ed Mann fails on the Morgan line.
    • Gary Boyd Roberts says Clint Eastwood may have a descent from Henry I.

  13. Quincy Jones, born 1933, record producer.

  14. Elvis Presley, born 1935, singer.

  15. David Carradine, born 1936, actor.

  16. Margaret Atwood, born 1939, writer.
    • This attempted descent from Edward III by George Larson fails. See discussion of the Converse line in "The Road to Royalty is Broken" by Robert J. Kurtz, 1998.
    • This attempted descent from Edward III by George Larson fails on the Bowen line.

  17. Sam Waterston, born 1940, actor.

  18. Michael Moore, born 1954, left-wing filmmaker.

  19. Andie MacDowell, born 1958, actress.
    • See attempted descent from Edward III by George Larson. However this fails on the Bowen line.

  20. Kevin Bacon, born 1958, actor.

  21. "Moby", born 1965, musician.

  22. Laura Dern, born 1967, actress.

  23. Ethan Hawke, born 1970, actor.
    • See attempted descent from Edward I by George Larson.
    • See more attempted descents from Edward I by Ed Mann.
    • However all these descents fail on the Hoar/Lisle line.

  24. Seth MacFarlane, born 1973, creator of Family Guy.

  25. "Jewel", born 1974, singer.

  26. Rashida Jones, born 1976, actress.

  27. Joseph P. Kennedy III, born 1980, US Congressman, grandson of RFK.

  28. Kelly Clarkson, born 1982, singer.

  29. Kate Bosworth, born 1983, actress.
    • See attempted descent from Edward III by George Larson. However this fails on the Bowen line.

W.B. Yeats

The famous Yeats family descended from a John Butler of Dublin. They believed he descended from Edmund Butler, ancestor of Butler of Newchome, Co.Kilkenny, and descendant of Earls of Ormond and of Edward I. The Yeats family used the name Butler Yeats as a result.

But no one ever proved the descent. W.B. Yeats himself worked on this link but never managed to prove it.


John Butler          Mary Goddard
of Dublin            dau of Charles Goddard
 |                    |
    Mary Butler                        Benjamin Yeats
    born 1751                          of Dublin
     |                                 born 1750
     |                                  |
             Rev. John Yeats
             born 1774
             Rev. William Butler Yeats
             born 1806
             John Butler Yeats
             born 1839
 |                                  |
William Butler Yeats               Jack Butler Yeats
poet                               painter
born 1865                          born 1871

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