The latest about the family tree.


So, I went back even further down the line that produced my Spanish ancestors.   That one is allowing me to go back the farthest so far.   I’ve run into dead ends on a lot of the others — wants me to pay for an upgrade on many of them (I have the basic package).   Anyway, my Spanish ancestors originated as Germanic tribes before the time Christ was born, but I’m not sure which tribe.  These people appear to have migrated to Spain around 400 or 500.   The records go back even earlier, but no dates are given BC and women are no longer listed.   I decided to stop there.

Out of curiosity, I decided to look up the history of German migrations.  It turns out my findings in my family tree about a migration to Spain taking place among certain Germanic tribes during the 4th and 5th centuries fits historical data, as you can see from this map.


By Modification · Bearbeitung · Prilaboro: D. Bachmann – File:Romia Imperio.png, originally by Jani Niemenmaa., CC BY-SA 3.0,

I’m amazed at the accuracy and consistency of the recordkeeping. On this particular line of ancestry, every single direct male ancestor leading to me for over 2000 years has been listed!   My earliest known ancestor on this line was a man who died in the year 20 named Gaut Balthes Koning der Gothen (59th GG).

So, this is the pattern of migrations over time for this particular line of ancestry (through  my maternal grandfather):

Ancient Germanic peoples —> migrations to Spain in the 400s and 500s —> Spanish royalty during the 900s – 1100s  —> migrations to France in the 1200s and 1300s —> minor French royalty—> migrations to Cornwall, Wales, and Southern England in the 1400s and 1500s —>  English and Welsh ancestors —> arrival in America during the 1600s and 1700s (including those who came over on the Mayflower). 

The generations moved faster in ancient times and the early middle ages because people had children so early and died in their 40s and 50s, if not earlier. But I was surprised how many people in the late middle ages lived into their 70s and 80s! One of my ancestors from around that time lived to be 103!  Another interesting thing was that exact birthdates (month and day) and place of birth were not recorded for births until the 1400s or 1500s (the beginning of modernity), but exact dates for deaths (and place of death) often were.   My theory about this is that birth information was considered less important because babies were very likely to die during their first year.  I remember reading in some book about the middle ages that parents didn’t grieve the death of an infant because it was so commonplace.  To prevent getting too attached to newborns, parents didn’t usually name a baby until it was a few years old and there was more likelihood the child would survive.

10 thoughts on “The latest about the family tree.

    • It sure is! You should do this. It’s therapeutic too, because having always felt so cut off from my family, this gives me a sense of place in history and establishes that I actually have roots.

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  1. Wow! All your family tree findings are super interesting; recently I’ve started getting into genealogy and where people come from and all that sort of thing. 🙂 It’s crazy to see that your family turned from Germanic to Spanish to French to English and Welsh, all on one line. Kinda puts to rest the idea that you can be “pure” anything; I’ve given up on that. We all come from Africa originally, that’s good enough for me, lol.

    That’s sad to read about the newborns and people not mourning the deaths of their infants (there was probably a little mourning at least, but not anything outward, you didn’t let anybody see) and not naming them until they were a few years old. Although, that confuses me – weren’t people being christened back then, so wouldn’t they have *had* to be named?

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    • Oh! Forgot to mention that I saw you’d said you were (supposedly) descended from William the Conqueror on one side. Funnily, there’s a family rumor on my mother’s father’s mother’s side that *my* family is descended from William the Conqueror. XD

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    • I’m not sure — they might have waited until they were a few years old before christening them. Or maybe they were still baptized as newborns to avoid going to Limbo — and not given their real names until later. I haven’t really researched that.


      • That last one sounds likely; heck, up till the early 1900s babies in fiction were often referred to as just “the baby”, even “it”. It puzzled nine-year-old me when I first read Nurse Matilda, but now I’m seeing there was probably a reason for it.

        And yes, me too! Or so they say. I have no idea if it’s true or not either, but, like you say, it’s entirely possible. That would make us distantly related!

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          • Probably. I remember one of my cousins once did a project in which he showed that every president ever has been related to every other president. Distantly in most cases, but still related.

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