Fascinating ancestries of island families

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The murder of Thomas a Becket - was a Le Breton ancestor involved?

This page, and the family trees it links to, are for fun. The family trees show how some Jersey families can be traced back to England or France, well into the mists of time. Being able to trace your own ancestry back along these trees depends on three things:

  • Being certain about your own ancestors in Jersey and your connection to key members of island families such as the de Carterets, Dumaresqs and Payns, whose history has been extensively researched
  • The accuracy of the links by marriage between these families and prominent English and French families in the Middle Ages - for this you must trust the research of other genealogists
  • The ancestry of these families as traced by specialists in European Medieval genealogy throughout the world

As with all elements of family history research, there is a degree of uncertainty about who were the parents of any individual in a tree. We only know what we find in family documents and official records. Without DNA tests nobody can be certain about who was the father of any child, and further back in history when it was common for children to be informally adopted by aunts and uncles following the death of one or both natural parents and brought up as their own, even the identity of true mothers can be lost.

And the further back you trace the family tree, the more reliant you become on the accuracy of documents, their correct transcription and translation from other languages to English.

But, if you are prepared to accept the varying degrees of uncertainty inherent in all family history research, you will find in the family trees linked to from this page some prominent figures in history who might just be among our ancestors. And even if these trees lack a generation here or there, or attribute parenthood to one husband rather than another, one brother rather than another, the truth may not be very far removed from what researchers believe. The further back in history we go, the more likely it is that people closely associated with particular families are blood ancestors. It is said that as a purely mathematical calculation, everyone alive today in Europe is descended along one line or another from King Charlemagne.

Be that as it may, these trees are an attempt to show in detail just how islanders can claim a descent from key figures in history.

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