LOCATION: Virginia Beach, VA (But really Scotland)
Genealogy is something I’ve been working on actively since 2014. I became interested in it when my Aunt told me she had done a lot of research into our family and gave me all of her info before she passed away. My grandmother also contributed a lot, so with this knowledge I was able to get pretty far with Ancestry.com.
I decided to do an Ancestry DNA test first. This test promised to provide an ethnicity percentage based on my heritage. I thought it would be fun to see where my DNA comes from based on what I figured out with my family tree.
The test consisted of spitting into a tube and mixing it with a blue solution, then mailing it off to the lab for results in 4-6 weeks.
You can tell that I completed this long ago since I look so much different. Haha.
After a few weeks, I was very excited to see my results. Like I expected, most of my roots were European. The Ethnicity chart showed that I was 42% Western Europe, 40% Great Britain, and 7% Scandinavian.
Based on what my family has told me, Dad always thought his side of the family was Irish and Mom always thought her side of the family was English. It was time to do the digging and find out for sure. For privacy issues, I won’t be using the actual surnames.
After two and a half years of heavy digging (with some much needed breaks in between) I have finished a good basis for a family tree that dates back to the 1100s. Yep, I got pretty far! Let’s be honest though, these things are never truly finished as you’ll find new information and branches all the time. But, this information will suffice for now.
DAD’S SIDE OF THE FAMILY RESULTS
PATERNAL SURNAME: Origins: Scotland
As stated, my dad always thought we were Irish. It was a nice surprise to see that we were, in fact, Scottish. I was able to track the surname all the way to the 1600s in Scotland and even see that they moved from Scotland to North Carolina in the mid-1800s. Also within the family was a civil war solider, which made my dad excited to look up the history on him.
MATERNAL SURNAME: Origins: Wales, England, Ireland, and Scotland
There were a few different countries of origin on my dad’s mother’s side of the family. Some moved from England to North Carolina in the late 1800s. Some moved from Ireland to North Carolina in the mid-1800s. A few dated back to Wales and Scotland in the 1400s. Some notable people on this tree were some Sirs, Countesses and even a Captain of a ship.
MOM’S SIDE OF THE FAMILY RESULTS
PATERNAL SURNAME: Origins: Scotland, Netherlands, Germany, and England
The surname for the paternal side was a direct line from 1721 in Scotland. The family eventually moved to Pennsylvania in the mid-1700s. So much for thinking it was an English name! Other family ties were traced to the Netherlands, Germany, and England in the 1600s. I couldn’t find any notable ties within this family tree.
MATERNAL SURNAME: Origins: England, Scotland, France, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark
Thanks to a lot of leg work on my grandmother’s part, I was able to go really far back and gather tons of information on my mom’s maternal side of the family.
I can officially say that this side of the family is not only the most famous (more on that soon), but also the biggest conglomerate of mixed countries ever. Branches went in all directions from Scotland back to the 1100s, Netherlands, England, and Demark in the 1400s, France, Germany, and Wales in the 1500s, and Belgium in the 1600s.
What was the most intriguing about the find was one branch of the family showed that I am of royal blood, which let’s be honest, we already knew. Haha.
Here’s a few of the notable Grandfathers and Grandmothers in my tree lineage.
SIR ALEXANDER I: Known as Alexander Stewart, he was an ancestor to the Scottish Kingdom. He accompanied Louis IX of France in the Seventh Crusade.
ROBERT THE BRUCE: Probably one of the most well-known heroes to Scotland. He was King of Scots from 1306-1329 and led Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England. He is also one of the origin stories to the Blarney Stone in Ireland. It is said that Robert the Bruce gave the stone to Cormac McCarthy to take to Blarney Castle. Robert the Bruce also worked with William Wallace (of Braveheart) on many notable battles. FREEEEEDOMMMMMMMM. (Sorry. Had to)
KING ROBERT II: King of Scots from 1371-1390 and was known as creating the first monarch of the House of Stewart. This house has created the royal tartan still in use today.
KING ROBERT III: King of Scots from 1390- 1406.
ANNABELLA DRUMMOND: Married to King Robert III and was the Queen Consort of Scotland. King Robert was not able to rule much so she stepped up to control the kingdom.
KING JAMES I: King of Scots from 1406-1437. Henry V held him captive in the Tower of London with other Scottish prisoners in 1413.
JOAN BEAUFORT: Married to King James I and was the Queen Consort of Scotland. She was a half niece to King Henry IV of England. King James met her while he was a prisoner in England. Their marriage was the agreement to release James from captivity and was to establish an alliance with the English instead of the French.
KING JAMES II: King of Scots from 1437-1460.
MARY GUELDERS: Married to King James II and was Queen Consort of Scotland. She founded Trinity College Church in 1460 in memory of her husband.
KING JAMES III: King of Scots from 1460-1488. He was considered very unpopular but was known as the first Renaissance monarch in Scotland.
QUEEN MARGARET OF DENMARK: Married to King James III and was the daughter of Christian I, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
KING JAMES IV: King of Scots from 1488-1513. He is considered the most successful of the Stewart monarchs in Scotland. He ended up marrying Margaret Tudor (not a grandmother) and they had King James V who then produced Mary, who turned into Mary Queen of Scots and later created the Elizabeth era of royalty in England. So I’m half related to Mary Queen of Scots. James IV had several mistresses, one of which is a grandmother, Janet Kennedy. James IV also stayed with Janet longer than his marriage with Margaret.
JAMES 1ST EARL OF MORAY: The son that resulted from the relationship between King James IV and Janet Kennedy.
Also noteworthy: King James V had a son with a mistress also named James 1st Earl of Moray and his marriage to Anges produced Elizabeth Stuart. This branch eventually creates Princess Diana. So, if Mary Queen of Scots created the Elizabeth royal line that made Charles, and also created the line that made Princess Diana, they were in fact related (which I’ve heard is common knowledge that they were cousins).
I found out the royalty line before I made my trip to Scotland in 2015. Upon visiting the Edinburgh Castle (which I did try to claim as mine and the guard was not impressed), it was really interesting walking in and seeing the family tree on display and noticing so many of the people were also on my family tree.
To know that I’m direct descendants of the King of Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots, the result of the English thrown, and ties with Princess Diana is pretty darn cool. Which now begs me to wonder, how come I didn’t get invited to Prince William’s wedding!?!
In conclusion, I’m a royal mutt. I think it’s safe to say my heritage is mostly Scottish. I also think the DNA results appear to be pretty accurate from what I’ve dug up. I would never have been able to get as far as I did with these trees if it wasn’t for the amazing background help of my Aunt and Grandmother. I highly suggest trying to get as many names as possible upfront before researching on your own to really be successful. Completing this makes me really excited to talk about my family tree and lineage and to really understand where I came from. Now, to start learning the bagpipes!
HOW TO DO THIS: I chose Ancestry.com and they provided wonderful DNA and family history info. There are several sites to choose from.