Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My link to royalty

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 11/12/2008
After 10 long years of researching my family history...and one month...I've finally confirmed a lineage from Charlemagne to myself.

I've long sought to find that elusive genealogy goldmine that I think all genealogists hunt for at some point or another.

Genealogies of European royalty and nobility are well-documented, very well-documented by European archives and there are some great sites on the Web with royal pedigrees/charts galore from both professional genealogists and state/nation archives.

The problem is finding yourself going back to one of those individuals that link to these charts. But if you do, then you've truly hit the goldmine.

Before yesterday, the furthest back I could trace any line of my family was about 1450, when my ancestor Hengin Wanmecher of Darmstadt, Germany was born. He was a wealthy landowner according to older records, so I long suspected he could somehow go back to royalty.

But it wasn't his line that I found the connection. It was through a large German family who specialized in basketmaking (and brought their craft to Buffalo, N.Y., where they settled) of the tiny village of Bierbach, Germany. Go figure, right?

My ancestor Catharina Gräbel, born June 4, 1846 in Bierbach, was part of this family. She immigrated to America with her mother Eva Catharina in about 1855, after the death of her father Jacob Gräbel (1808 Mimbach-1854 Bierbach).

Jacob's great-grandmother was Anna Catharina Moser Gräbel (1713 Wattweiler-1783 Wattweiler). Her mother was Anna Elisabeth Dessloch Moser (abt. 1694 Wattweiler-1760 Wattweiler). Now things get interesting.

Her father Karl Friedrich Dessloch was born Nov. 8, 1674 in Ransweiler, Bavaria, Germany. What I learned yesterday, he was born of a very religious family - his father and his grandfather were both Protestant ministers, as were many of his uncles and cousins -, and his paternal grandmother Sara Sybilla Candidus Dessloch was born of lower nobility status, which could be traced back to European royalty.

Previously, I only had back to Karl Friedrich's father Friedrich Melchior Dessloch. I knew he lived for some time in Wilgartswiesen per my own research. (I presumed he was born there, but did not know for sure, just knew he was "of Wilgartswiesen" at some point.)

A simple Google search of "Dessloch Wilgartswiesen" linked me the genealogy research of Klaus Zimmer, who notes that Friedrich Melchior Dessloch was a Protestant minister at Duisburg, Bremen, Wilgartswiesen, and Ransweiler, at different times. He adds that he was born in Meisenheim.

That was the piece of the puzzle I needed, coming upon several reliable Web sites and genealogies (though many in German and I had to use Google Translate) documenting the Dessloch family of Meisenheim and more importantly the Candidus family of Zweibruecken (Sara Sybilla Candidus Dessloch became the "goldmine" for me, again the one proven to European royalty/nobility genealogies).

Sara Sybilla Candidus' father's side is interesting. Her grandfather was born in Austria as Pantaleon Weiss in 1540, the youngest of 14 children. He became a student of the Reformation at a young age and was imprisoned with a Protestant minister at age 10 for their beliefs. He escaped prison, fled to Hungary with the minister, and subsequently migrated to Germany. He adopted the surname Candidus, the Latin version of his name, and became a well-respected theologian, author, historian, and poet. He was a key leader of the Reformation movement in Zweibruecken, Germany.

But it's her mother's side that goes back to kings, queens, and all the rest. Her mother, Anna Kessler, was the daughter of Werner Kessler and Elisabeth Baldwein. The Baldwein family is documented back to several noble lines, including the Von Rittenhofen and Von Sponheim families. These bring me back to Gottfried Von Sponheim (b. 1120 Sponheim, Bavaria, Germany) and Mathilda Von Lothringen (b. abt. 1123 Lorraine, France). Mathilda's lineage has been well documented. She descends of Baldwin I of Flanders (837 France-879 France) and Judith of Flanders (844-870). Judith's father was Charles the Bald, King of West Francia, her grandfather was Louis I, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and her great-grandfather was none other than Charlemagne (742 France-814 Prussia).

I had already confirmed my girlfriend's line of descent to royalty through her ancestors Edward Fitz Randolph and Elizabeth Blossom and William Spencer and Agnes Harris - Edward and Agnes were American colonists who both have been definitively linked to royal ancestry. Now I've confirmed a line from my own family.

By my best estimation, she and I are 27th cousins, twice removed based on my latest findings! We descend of Baldwin V of Flanders and Adelheid, Princess of France, who married in 1028 in Paris - me of their son Baldwin, she of their daughter Matilda. How about that?

8 comments on "My link to royalty"

mess said...

This is so awesome! It's like a history lesson, and we're apart of it!.. so interesting! Keep up the great work!

Craig Kanalley on November 13, 2008 at 3:38 PM said...

Yeah, it really is. I think it's particularly interesting we're a descendant of a leader of the Protestant Reformation movement in Germany, Pantaleon Candidus (what a name too, right?). Obviously the kings and queens, Holy Roman Emperor, etc. is pretty cool too. Thanks for the comment.

Ryan and Grama rita said...

Hey craig we read the blog post and thats realy intresting.Sorry it took so long we had some computar issues

Craig Kanalley on December 4, 2008 at 7:19 PM said...

No problem. Glad you could read it. Thanks Ryan and Grama Rita.

Anonymous said...

Hi Craig, I just found such a line too, but to keep realistic one should be aware of that all these royals and so on are only the millionth part of all ancestors.
Just had the need to add this.

Craig Kanalley on March 2, 2009 at 5:26 PM said...

That is a great point, Anonymous. I don't think it takes away the excitement of finding such a connection, after researching one's family for many years. But that's absolutely true.

Mama Muslimah Baby Muslimah on May 10, 2009 at 3:40 AM said...

You wouldn't have any more information on the Graebel family in Germany would you? As far as I know, they come out of the Zweibruecken area...but I keep coming to a dead end when I get to my great-grandfather (Robert). I know he was a young boy when he arrived in the states, but I still can't find any record of his parents! My email is ladygrae@hotmail.com. I'd appreciate anything!

Anonymous said...

I've recently found that I'm related to numerous Kings and Queens of France, Germany, Poland, Spain, and Italy. I use Geni.com and I had already traced a line on my mom's French side going back to the 1500's. I was surprised to find my Geni.com family tree linked with some other trees and expanded into something that shocked me. I did a lot of Internet research and found that going up this one branch there was an illigitimate son who was something like my 22 great grandfather. He took his mother's name. His father was Count Charles III, son of Philip the Bold. All the way up that line it is nothing but kings and queens that I can find available on the Internet in numerous places. I believe I've gone as far back as the 46th great grandfather. The ancestor that connected to the royalty was Antoine Brossard. His mother was Helen, Count Charles' III's childhood sweetheart. He had three children with her. But they never married. Instead he married three other women.

 

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