It would seem that I come by my temperament honestly.
Genealogy is a hobby of mine. I have spent way too many hours pouring over ancient documents since, well…for a long time. With the advent of the LDS having released their gold mine of records a few years ago, we family history nuts have had a field day. Several online genealogy membership sites sprung up out of nowhere and utilized this recent onslaught of info by charging the public to create their own family trees digitally. Although I smell the tribe behind this (or any other money-making enterprise)…I am hooked again. Addicted to searching through history for my ancestors…good or bad…and letting chips fall where gravity dictates. It is enormous fun to me. Having recorded proof of your lineage is a thrill. Well, to me anyway. And though it is something that every family-history buff dreams of, it is rare to tie one’s own family members to royalty. But lo and behold, I have found such proof in my family’s case. I have discovered that I am directly descendent from the Plantagenet family of British/French rulers. True royalty.
The more educated among the British out there will know the name well. But for the rest, the Plantagenets boasted no less than six rulers of England over a period of over two hundred years. They ruled over the Britons in some of their most trying periods. I’m not here to claim them as right-and-true leaders…just blood relatives.
As it turns out, Edward the First, or “Longshanks” as he was known, was my 21st Grandfather.
Now, how significant is all this? Probably not very. I’m sure there are thousands out there that can prove direct bloodlines to royalty …without so much as a raised eyebrow among those we hope to impress with such claims. But it’s fun to me anyway. And although the British ruling history has always resembled one huge soap-opera to amerikans, it is revealing to find something like this, referring to Grandpa Longshanks:
” Edward I was a tall man for his era, hence the nickname “Longshanks”. He was temperamental, and this, along with his height, made him an intimidating man, and he often instilled fear in his contemporaries(that’s me to a tee).
“Edward and his efforts to solve his financial problem had both positive and negative outcomes.The infamous negative result was the crackdown on the Jews. The Jewish population had grown quite wealthy through money lending (loaning with interest being forbidden to Christians) and their riches made them both unpopular and a prime target. Reasons were found to confiscate much of their wealth, money-lending for Jews was banned and Edward even tried to convert the Jewish population to Catholicism by forcing them to attend sermons by Dominican priests. Finally, in 1290 King Edward formally expelled all Jews from England. The positive outcome of Edward’s efforts to raise money by this expulsion was his establishment of much of the original system of parliamentary government that we know today.”
Sounds like something I would do. It seems to have done the trick for a few hundred years, until Cromwell sold you guys out. It’s a shame we have no such visionaries like Ed today. Well, none with such power anyway.
Now, as you know, I am no believer in the metaphysical. Nor do I accept that family traits can be passed down through generations by anything other than one-teach-one. But…I dunno. Coincidence? Could be. Or maybe there is a ‘no-bullshit’ gene. One that congenitally disallows tolerance for money-lending cults. Who knows. Maybe it is really ‘in the blood’.