How Royal Do You Think You Are?

It’s easy to assume that Peerage and Heritage records are irrelevant to your genealogical research, but in fact almost half the UK population have Royal blood, which means that you may well have Dukes, Lords or other members of the nobility in your family tree. It was quite common for the younger children of high nobility to marry Lords or Barons, and for the youngest children of these to marry a professional such as a doctor or lawyer and so forth.

TheGenealogist provides an extensive collection of peerage records such as Burkes and Debretts, as well as Knights of England 1127 to 1904, which records the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and Heraldic Visitations, which document entire family trees.

Twin brothers in the Yorkshire Visitation records

You can also find out if you’re related to the Royal family with our new dataset ‘The Blood Royal of Britain’. These records were compiled by the Marquis of Ruvigny and Raineval, originally published in 1903, and were the first to try and document every descendent of former British monarchs. Arranged in order of primogeniture, some entries also contain dates of births, marriages and deaths. Currently available are the Plantagenent Roll, with the descendents of Edward III up until the mid-Nineteenth Century, and the Tudor Roll with descendents of Edward IV (1441-83), Henry VII (1455-1509) and James III of Scotland (1451-88).

Included within these records is Sir Thomas Fairfax of Yorkshire, who is shown in the Blood Royal records as married to Agnes Gascoigne, grand-daughter of Henry Percy Earl of Northumberland, a direct descendent of Edward III.

Sir Thomas Fairfax and Agnes Gascoigne in the Blood Royal records

Sir Thomas Fairfax had twin sons named Nicholas and William. As the eldest, Nicholas inherited his father’s estate, including Gilling Castle in Yorkshire, and is an ancestor of Lady Diana Spencer and her son Prince William. The younger twin William Fairfax is the direct ancestor of William’s bride-to-be Kate Middleton.

Sir Thomas Fairfax

The first Sir Thomas Fairfax married Elizabeth Sherburne of Stoneyhurst, and had children as follows: his eldest son Thomas, four sons and five daughters. The sons were named Richard, Robert and John. A Richard and a William died before Sir Thomas. There appears little to report from Thomas’s life. He died on March 31 1505 and was succeeded by his eldest son Thomas at the age of 29. The second Sir Thomas in 1513 served under Henry VIII on his expedition to Flanders, and when Tournai surrendered to the King, Sir Thomas was one of those who received the honour of knighthood. He married Agnes (or Anne), the daughter of Sir William Gascoyne of Gawthorpe, York and Lady Margaret Percy, daughter of the Earl of Northumberland. He left a large family of 6 sons and 6 daughters. Nicholas was his heir. William, the twin of Nicholas, settled at Bury St. Edmunds and was buried at Walsingham. His descendants became Church of England, as did Thomas the third son who became a priest in that church. The other brothers were Miles of Gilling born in 1506, Guy and Robert. Sir Thomas died in 1520 and was succeeded by his eldest son Nicholas at the age of 22.