Jan 12, 2023

You Are Probably Descended from Charlemagne and Other Royalty

If you are of European descent, you are probably a descendant of Charlemagne. Once you are able to prove your line of descent from him, you will then find thousands of links to other royalty in your list of relatives.

Charlemagne had twenty children over the course of his life with eight of his ten known wives or concubines. Genealogists have shown that fourteen presidents of the United States, including George Washington, Ulysses Grant, Franklin and Teddy Roosevelt, and the Bushes are all descendants of the King of France who lived from 2 April 742 AD to 28 January 814 AD.

It is rare indeed that the genealogy of a person of European descent, when traceable, doesn’t hit nobility somewhere. And once it hits one European noble, whether you like it or not, nearly the whole tribe joins your family. Those folks got around.

The reason is simple. First, make a guess how many ancestors you have. It may be a larger number than you thought. Obviously, you have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grandparents and so on in a geometric progression. Moving backwards, each generation introduces double the number of ancestors of the previous generation.

What is not so obvious is the size of the numbers when you go back twenty or thirty or forty generations:

20 generations: more than one million ancestors

30 generations: more than one billion ancestors

40 generations: more than one trillion ancestors!

Of course, those numbers assume there are no duplicates in your entire family tree. One problem: there are always duplicates. Next, one trillion is a much larger number than the total number of people who have ever lived.

Whatever the real number of your ancestors, you are descended from a huge number of people. Within these billions of ancestors, you will always find royalty, assuming you are able to trace back that far. It would be impossible to have a billion ancestors without some royalty appearing someplace in your family tree. 

Professional genealogists tell us that Charlemagne appears in almost every European descendant’s family tree. Your challenge is to go out and document your line of descent.