(updated November 8,
of Note and Interest:
- Afranius Syagrius. Gallo-Roman consul from
the city of Lyon, France, he lived in the mid- to late 400s. (Yes, that's
"four hundreds" (1700 years ago) NOT "fourteen
hundreds"!) Many professional medieval genealogists accept him as the
earliest, best documented direct ancestor of any living person. That means
that every generation from me to him can be identified (and is on my
pedigree). After that, there are gaps and much speculation. Some
genealogists take a more aggressive stance and claim even earlier
documented ancestry. Noted medievalist Christian Settipani offers a
possible (though by no means definitive) route through Ruricius, Bishop of
Limoges (c. 485-507), via Ruricius's purported ancestors of the late Roman
noble family Anicii, onward to Antiochos II Theos, king of Syria (c.
261-246 b.c.e). From there, one may find tenuous connections to ancient
Persia, Babylonia and even Egypt.
Settipani also has suggested a Greco-Roman ancestry for Afranius
Syagrius, reaching back with definitive, identifiable persons to just before
the Christian era. See Settipani,
Les Ancêtres de Charlemagne; Settipani, Continuité Gentilice et Continuité
Familiale dans les Familles Sénatoriales Romaines à l'Epoque Imperiale.
do think it's clear, though, that ever since the dawn of civilization, ruling
families have engineered strategic marriages with neighboring ruling families,
so that as centuries and millennia passed, the ruling classes around the world
(with the exception of those in impossibly remote areas) have had many common
ancestors. That's not to say that ruling class blood did not flow downward to
"common" folk (indeed, that's how I got MINE!), or that
"common" blood did not flow upward.
Often persons of peasant origins would become military heroes or leaders
for other reasons. But all in all,
noble families of today -- be they in India, Morocco, England, Spain, or
elsewhere -- are related, however distant, and probably carry within them the
genes even of the pharoahs of Egypt.
- Charlemagne (Holy Roman Emperor and ruler
of much of Europe).
- William the Conqueror (Norman conqueror of
- Eleanor of Aquitaine (Princess noted for
promotion of courtly love and chivalry).
- John Lackland (the English king against
whom Robin Hood fought).
- Foulques V (crusader and king of
- various saints, mostly Germanic and
- Faye Dunaway (Academy Award-winning
- Mary Hyanno (princess of a Native American
tribe living in New England).
- Edward Fuller and his wife and son Samuel,
all passengers on the Mayflower.
At least three times in the
past, my mother's and father's ancestors have come geographically very close --
a surprising fact when one considers that my father's family comes exclusively
from a limited area of southeastern Italy, while most of my mother's family
arrived in the United States in the early 1600s and otherwise since about the
1400s hails from northern Europe. The most recent time my father's and mother's
families nearly crossed paths was in the 1910s and 1920s, when my paternal
grandparents lived in western West Virginia. My mother's parents lived
literally several miles away, across the river in Ohio. They may have passed
each other on the roads or stood in line beside one another in stores.
A hundred years earlier, my
mother's ancestors moved briefly to Oneida County in New York State, where my father's
family would later move and where my father would grow up, marry my mother and
raise a family.
Finally, over 900 years
ago, my maternal ancestor Robert Guiscard conquered and ruled Puglia, where my
father's ancestors lived.
List of various occupations of my ancestors
- attorney (my
great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather John Tinker)
- coal miner (my grandfather
Vitantonio Zizzi, my great-grandfather Nunzio Semeraro)
- farmer (my
great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Giacomo Oronzo Semeraro and many
- goldsmith (my
great-great-great-great-grandfather Vincenzo Baldassarre, my
great-great-grandfather Martino Molendini)
- brass smith (my
great-great-great-great-grandfather Filippo Castrignano)
- gospel singers (my
great-great-great-grandfather Thomas Stanclift, my
great-great-great-grandmother Mary Ann Peek)
- governor (my
- mason (my
great-great-grandfather Cosimo Damiano Semeraro)
- medical doctor (my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather
Gysbert Van Imbroeck)
- minister (my
- notary (my
great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Leonardo Antonio Quirico Andrea
Molendini and my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather
- pharmacist (my
great-great-great-grandfather Oronzio Paolo Molendini, my
great-great-great-great-grandfather Leonardantonio Molendini and my
great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Oronzo Paolo Molendini)
- photographer (my father Peter
- spinner of thread (my
great-great-great-grandmother Maria Teresa Gasparro, my
great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Lonardantonia Scarafile)
- stonecarver (my
great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather James Stanclift and
various of his descendants)
- tavernkeeper (my
great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Maria du
Trieux, my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Samuel Griffin)
- trader (my
great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Jan Peeck)