Wednesday, August 12, 2020


SAR Compatriot:Eugene Foley
Great Grandpa Charlemagne
I decided to do a face-to-face transaction at my bank.  I had to walk a distance to get to a branch, since the combination of riots and COVID have resulted in the closure of most of the banks downtown.  It was GREAT to get out of my apartment!  The teller (behind two thick layers of Plexiglas) was new at his job, so the adjacent teller and his supervisor were close by to help.  The bank wasn’t busy, so I asked him how he was doing, and he, in turn asked me what I was doing to keep busy.  I told him I was working on my genealogy, and he didn’t offer any particular response.  So, I continued, “Yep, I found that Charlemagne was my ancestor.”  Everyone laughed.

I recently read an article that explained that if your ancestry came out of Europe, chances are that Charlemagne IS your ancestor.  The study was done by a mathematician who calculated the growth and intermixing of the population, and then inverted the calculation to estimate the likelihood that any given person would have been an ancestor.  It turns out that most of us with a strong western European ancestry ARE descendants of Charlemagne…and I have traced (in theory, since the proofs are only relatively accurate) my royal lines to Charlemagne (748-814), and King Ivar Vidfadma of Denmark and Sweden (7thth Century), and Gorrett of Finland (2nd Century)…and others.  By the time y’all hit 37th Great Grandfather there are two probable truths if you believe the statistics: 1) You probably are related to that person, and 2) the tree details that got you there are probably not accurate.

Still, with the relative ease of the genealogical software that is available today (unlike the early days when we spent hours on end, day after day, looking through microfilm and dusty books), it’s a fun search to hit an old line, and run it back through kings, bishops, and scoundrels.  Make it interesting, have some fun.