Posts Tagged ‘Jane Austen Family Genealogy’

Inquiring readers, 

Ronald Dunning has written a number of articles for this blog. He is a dedicated genealogist and pursues his work with the enthusiasm and commitment to his field of study that I, alas, lack. Thankfully, Mr Dunning has filled the gap for this blog.

I have occasionally been asked whether Jane Austen’s parents were descended from royalty. I knew this to be the case with Mrs Austen, having traced the pedigree of her grandmother the Honourable Mary Brydges, who was the daughter of the 8th Lord Chandos of Sudeley, back to the Plantagenet king, Edward III. Prof. John McAleer had written on the subject too, in an article on the topic in Persuasions 11, entitled The Comedy of Social Distinction in Pride and Prejudice, by JOHN McALEER.

Alas, Prof. McAleer was led astray by some misinformation that appears to have had its origins in the later 19th century: Jane Atkins was categorically not the daughter of Sir Jonathan Atkins, but of John Atkins of Brightling, in Sussex, so George Austen was not a descendant of Sir Jonathan. Nevertheless I could still trace him back to royalty through his previously unexplored maternal line, that of Rebecca Hampson. The most recent of the kings in her pedigree was Edward I. This story remains to be told, and I promise that I will do it; but the first of the charts attached to this article trace the lineage via George Austen: Austen Royal Descent 1 – George.docx (1).


Image designed by Vic Sanborn

The second to the eighth charts show different ways in which Cassandra Leigh’s pedigree could be traced back to Edward III, the grandson of Edward I. It’s interesting that all of these resolve into two lineages. In charts 2, 3, 4, and 6, the lines descend through various people to the Hon. Charles Brydges of Wilton Castle, and his wife Jane Carne. From then, the next six generations to Mrs Austen are identical. The descent in the second group, charts 5, 7, and 8, reaches Katherine Neville and her husband Clement Throckmorton of Haseley and Claverdon, Warwickshire; and in those, the next six generations to Mrs Austen are also identical (though different from the first group).

Study Charts 2-8 at this link.

Conventionally, the husband’s name is listed first, followed by his wife’s. In these charts I have placed each couple’s direct offspring first, whether female or male. The spouses, in the earlier generations, were almost all descended from earlier kings; these charts record only the most recent royal ancestors – though still from a log way back.

Someone, possibly a genealogically-minded statistician, worked out that everyone of English descent had Plantagenet royal ancestry. Taking this a step further, everyone of European ancestry is descended from Charlemagne. There is an interesting article on the subject in the Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/humans-are-all-more-closely-related-than-we-commonly-think/. Most people have lost the linkage; it’s only because Jane Austen’s parents both had prominent ancestors that we know.

Prof. McAleer listed a few historically notable royal ancestors, and these belonged to both Austen parents. I’ll add a few: Alfred the Great. Aethelred II – “Ethelred the Unready” – and his first son Edmund “Ironside.” The historical King Duncan I of Scotland, who met his death at the hands of his cousin Macbeth!

I did my best to discover all of the ancestral lines, back to the King Edwards, though it’s possible that I’ve missed one, or that others remain to be discovered. But I hope that there are enough here to satisfy everyone!

About the author:

Ronald Dunning

Ronald Dunning, Author

Ronald Dunning is the creator of Ancestry.com: The Jane Austen Page ” which is undergoing an update as his research continues. He learned through his grandmother that her family was in some way related to Jane Austen. After moving from Canada to England in 1972, he pursued this intriguing information and discovered that Frank Austen [Jane’s brother] was her great-great-grandfather. Find more information in Deb Barnum’s 2012 interview with Mr. Dunning for Jane Austen in Vermont, An Interview with Ron Dunning on his Jane Austen Genealogy ~ The New and Improved Jane Austen Family Tree!

Also, click on this link to Sir Thomas More and Jane Austen  on this blog by Ronald Dunning.

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