It all started with my credit card number in the blanks of Ancestry.com. I’d tried to do the online family tree map before but sadly, I was 14 years old, I didn’t have $20 to call my own and my mother said no to using her credit card.
For the first 14 days, Ancestry family tree access is free (with your credit card on file). I finally decided now that I have a bank account of my own and an income, I decided it was worth a shot. At first, it can be difficult to maneuver because there needs to be a little bit of information about your immediate family. I started with birthdays, and soon Ancestry was able to find my parents names in their data base. From there, I called my grandparents and got their information along with as much information about the family members they could remember (in a two-and-a-half hour phone call). I was able to get all of that information started and Ancestry gave me hints to see if the person they found in their database matches the person in my tree. It took a little work, but finally, about a week in, I was able to get my mother’s family name (Joyce) back to the birth of my 10th great grandfather, Thomas Joyce (originally spelled Joass) Lord of Banff. He was born in 1620 in Scotland and only lived to be 45. From there, it was hard to find his parents, but I was happy to get even that far (or so I thought).
Since my dad is the last living male with the Turpin last name, I called him and spent another two hours on the phone getting names of all his uncles and Turpin family members he knew. From there, I was able to add family members to those names and find the possible names of their parents through the records of others. You would think that all the information they have on your distant family is crazy, but honestly, it gets addicting five hours in.
This process of adding parents to each family member with the allotted name can take forever, but it’s worth it. It’s all about matching up birthdays and names of other family members around them, meaning that if you find someones records that has names for the parents of a family member and the names on their records match the names of people on your tree, it’s possible you have a match. The spelling of names also change over time, so don’t be alarmed if you try it out and the names look weird.
Now you might be wondering, where does the royalty come in? It in fact comes in on my paternal grandmother’s side (her maiden name was Bryant). With my father’s information on that side I was able to use the above method until I found a particular ancestor who caught my eye. His name reads in ancestry as “Lord Chief Justice FRANCIS ‘Vicar of Hell’ Bryan [Chief Gentleman of the Privy chamber King Henry VIII]” and I about had a heart attack. Thankfully, my roommate and best friend Emily is a King Henry VIII historian and fanatic, so I leapt out of bed and headed to her room to scream in excitement. Emily then googled his name and sure enough, his Wikipedia page pulled up all of his information, including the fact that his mother was half-sisters with Anne Boleyn, one of Henry VIII’s six wives. From there, I began to scream again because of how real this was. It made a deeper connection to me because my grandmother’s middle name was Frances, a family name that I also noticed all throughout that branch of the tree.
I spent the rest of the night tracking out all the relatives to get to Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII. I finally was able to find out further from Emily that Henry VIII is the current reigning Queen’s 12th great-granduncle. If two times two equals four, then this confirms that I am related to Queen Elizabeth II.
This here is my declaration to the British Monarchy for my slice of the dough; I take check, Venmo or debit/credit.
(I’m totally kidding).
Even though it’s a stretch to say I’m British Royalty, It’s still pretty freaking cool that I was able to find an actual Tudor on MY family tree. This just goes to show how far you can actually get with 14 days and a free trial (even if I forgot to cancel my subscription and I still got charged the $20).