Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Ancestry of Charlemagne

The Salian Franks lived north of the Rhine River in today's Netherlands. In a later blog we will show the ancestry from King Priam of Troy down to these early Franks, who were the ancestors of the first historical King of France of the Merovingian dynasty, who ruled for more than 300 years, starting with the semi-legendary Merovek I.  Although I am showing a much longer ancestry for him with a dynasty going back to Francus, the first King of the Western Franks, these are all somewhat legendary.

These genealogies are found in both the O'Clery Book of Genealogies and Roderick Stuart's book, Royalty for Commoners.

By the time that Clovis I became King in 481, these western Franks had conquered a wide territory of northern France which was expanded considerable under following leaders. Clovis is also known as an early Christian convert. Of course, in those days there was no such thing as religious freedom or separation of church and state, so all of France became Christian. This conversion and later Charlemagne's crowning by the Pope as the first Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, cemented Europe as the bastion of Christianity for centuries to come.


Source: By Sémhur - Own work, from Image: Frankish empire.jpg, itself from File: Growth of Frankish Power, 481-814.jpg, from the Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd (Shepherd, William. Historical Atlas. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1911.), CC BY-SA 3.0,  https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2919958

As often seems to be the case in these old kingdoms's, sons and heirs fight over the right to rule, once the old leader has passed away. This weakened France after Clovis' death. The rulers of Austrasia are also in my database as my ancestors. However, they are not shown on Chart #9 since they are not direct ancestors of Charlemagne. Towards the end of the Merovingian rulers, the power was shifting towards the Mayors of the Palace of Austrasia (or Majordomo). Pepin the Short (the Fat) managed to depose Childeric III, and was crowned in his place.

The new Carolingian dynasty was named for his son, Charles the Hammer. His even more famous grandson was also called Charles who became known as "the Great" or in French, Charlemagne. In old German, as the Franks were a Germanic tribe, he was born as Karl, becoming Karl der Grosse. In Norwegian he was known as Karl den Store. In Latin he was known as Carolus Magnus. Eventually the Norwegians came to use the name Magnus as a given name for even some of their later Kings. Charlemagne was the originator of this Scandinavian given name.

Charlemagne united much of Western Europe which became the beginnings of modern France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. And in 800 he became the first Holy Roman Emperor.

Almost every name on my charts cries out for a story to go with it, but in these blogs I don't intend to do a thorough review of history but simply to identify key figures and a short overview of their role in history. Chart #9 also shows Charlemagnes direct paternal ancestry from Rome. His purely paternal side actually comes from Ferreolus, a Roman Senator, then his ancestor, Maximianus Constans (on the left of the chart) the grandson of Eutropius and Claudia Crispina shown near the center of Chart #8.

One of Charlemagne's more interesting ancestors is Attila the Hun, whom we will discuss more in a later blog. The Huns had moved from the east into Eastern Europe and had formed a united front during Attila's life (died 454). Their attacks against the Roman Empire were part of the cause of Rome's demise. The Huns were supposedly descended from the Hsiung-Nu, a nomadic peoples from the third century BCE, northern neighbors of China in today's Mongolia. Chart #9 shows that one of Attila's ancestors, Kokkhan Laoshan was married to a daughter of Liu Ying, Emporer Hui, the second ruler of the Chinese Han Dynasty. His father, Emperor Gauzu (Liu Bang), was the founder of the Han Dynasty. It may be strange to think that all Europeans may well be descended from the early Emperors of China, but here we can trace how such a thing can happen, which confirms what we have seen in prior blogs about the large calculated number of ancestors that we are descended from.


Here are links to some of the key people in my online genealogy database:

Here are some links to help you learn more:




Here are some useful books to read pertaining to the subjects in this blog. Also see the prior blog for other books.




Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com

If you would like to have new blog posts emailed to you as they are posted, email me a note with your email address and I will add you iralund@cft-win.com


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Revisiting: Shape of a Complete Family Tree

I was recently thinking about this topic that I wrote about in a couple of my very first posts and began thinking that I could do some interesting calculations on my own 100,000+ database. Since I also have programmed my own genealogy software (Cumberland Family Tree), I wrote a routine to automatically calculate the number of actual and unique ancestors by generation in my own database for any given individual.

There are basically two numbers I wanted to calculate: (1) the actual number of "slots" filled in a standard ancestral pedigree chart which doubles every generation and (2) the actual "unique" ancestors which will always be equal to or less than the number of slots filled. This second happens whenever an intermarriage occurs, ie one of your ancestors happens to be a sibling of another of your ancestors. In such a case their parents and their ancestors get only counted once as a "unique" ancestor, although they may fill two (or even more) "slots" in a standard pedigree chart.

Take a look at Table #1.  There are two groups of columns, one for my father (Leonard Lund) and one for my mother (Frida Rage). The first row "Self" is always only "1", the person at the top, my father in the first group. Notice that 4 rows down my father is missing a known ancestor. That is his grandfather's father, whom we do not know since he was orphaned at age 5 when his mother died and we can locate no evidence whatsoever of who his natural father really was. However, on my mother's side we know 100% of her 32 third-great-grandparents (row 6).

Another interesting thing is that between the 11th and 20th rows (generations) we know only about 30 or so direct ancestors of my father, but 3-400 of my mother's.

But one of the most interesting things is 30 generations back - about 1000 years ago (using 30 years per generation), we know almost 20,000 ancestors on my father's side and over 30,000 on my mother's side. However, let me rephrase that - if we filled out a standard ancestral pedigree chart, 30 generations back my father's would have 20,000 "slots" filled, but my mother would have 30,000 "slots" filled.

But compare those numbers with the more than half-billion "slots" (536,870,912 to be exact), representing the actual number of ancestors a person should have 30 generations back. In both cases the actual slots I have filled in my own genealogy is a small fraction of even 1% of my true ancestry. And as I wrote in one of my first blogs, this is nobility and royalty only. The common people who certainly make up 99% or so of my real ancestry are not known.

But the 20 and 30 thousand values are misleading, since there was so much intermarriage, the actual "unique" ancestors are only 808 and 295 individuals. What is really eye opening is how few this is compared to the 10 and 30 thousand (about 4% and 1% respectively). This demonstrates how much intermarriage was occurring among the known nobility and royalty. My gut feeling - with no proof - is that for common people intermarriage would be even more common, due to less travel among the poorer and common folk. Even in the 1500's through 1800's in much of my own genealogical work in Norway, people tended to marry those from nearby farms who were already related to them often only a few generations back. The smaller the community, the more likelihood of close intermarriages.

Another thing that I find interesting is the difference between my father's and mother's unique ancestors in the 30th generation. On my father's side the only lines I can trace back to nobility are English which occurs within 10-12 generations. On my mother's side it is Norwegian nobility. But notice how the English side has less intermarriages based on the 4.1% unique individuals, while the Norwegian side has high intermarriages at only 0.9% unique - a four fold difference! Is this perhaps due to Norway being a smaller populated country than England was a thousand years ago? Although in both cases we are back a thousand years ago and looking only at nobility and royalty.

Anyway, just some interesting thoughts. By the way, I have not released a new version yet of CFT with this newly added "Ancestor Count" feature. When it comes out it will be part of Version 4.07.






Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com

If you would like to have new blog posts emailed to you as they are posted, email me a note with your email address and I will add you iralund@cft-win.com

Monday, September 26, 2016

Thirty-three Roman Emperors

Chart #8 shows the relationships of 33 Roman Emperors from the Flavian Dynasty with Vespasian who ruled from 69 to 79 CE down to Olybrius who ruled in 472. The numbers in parenthesis after the Rulers names are the order in which they ruled. However, there were about another 45 rulers not shown on this chart interspersed among those shown here.  Although I am related to everyone on these charts in some fashion, there are only 17 of these rulers that are my direct ancestors (those not shown in blue).

I will make some comments on the history of only a few of these Emperors.

Emperor Vespasian, who lived from 9 to 79 CE is probably best known as being the commander who besieged Jerusalem during the Jewish rebellion. After Nero's death the Empire was thrown into an era of civil war.  Vespasian left the siege of Jerusalem to his son, Titus, so he could join forces with others which eventually led the Senate to declare him as the new Emperor. Vespasian should also be remembered as the one who built the famous Roman Colosseum.

There is not much to say about some Emperors, as there were several who ruled a very short time. For example, Gordian I and his son Gordian II ruled jointly for only a month in 238.

Constantius Chlorus was emperor from 293 to 306, the founder of the Constantinian Dynasty. Legend says that his wife Helena "the Fair" was the daughter of a British noble Coel II Cadfanson of Colchester, Earl of Gloucester, although historians believe she was actually of Greek descent. She was a Christian before the conversion of her famous son, Constantine the Great. The story goes that St. Helena went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem after Constantine became Emperor. There she uncovered many of the holy sites where Jesus walked and even found the true cross, whereby fragments of the cross were placed in many churches throughout Europe.

The son of Constantius Chlorus and Helena, Constantine the Great (288-337) is a very pivotal figure in the history of Europe. He should be remembered for two very remarkable events. First, the legend is that he won a victorious battle after seeing the sign of the cross in the sky carrying the message "with this sign, you will conquer". Thus he stopped the Christian persecutions and legalized Christianity. This paved the way for the Christian Church to eventually become the most powerful force in Europe during the Middle Ages.

Secondly, Constantine converted the Greek city of Byzantium to become an eastern capital of the Roman Empire, and renamed it Constantinople. This city became the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which lasted for a thousand years. We will take a look at some Byzantine Emperors genealogy in a later post.

Theodosius the Great was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire.

Olybrius, the last Emperor in the west (Rome) on Chart #8  ruled for less than a year in 472. But the last ruler of the western Roman Empire was Romulus Augustus who ruled in 475-6. Though I am also descended from him, I am not showing any charts on him. But you can find him in my online genealogy database. Romulus Augustus was the target of much mockery, even in his own day. His name alone invited ridicule. Romulus being the legendary first king of Rome, and Augustus its glorious first emperor. Some historians still record his name as Augustulus, which means "little emperor". Odoacer, of non-Roman ancestry, captured the city of Ravenna and forced Romulus to abdicate on 4 September AD 476. Odoacer became the first King of Italy. Although he is in my database, he is not shown as a direct ancestor. The second King of Italy was Theodoric the Great, with ancestry from the East Goths and is in my genealogy. I will probably write about this in a later blog.

Lots of good information found in "The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Imperial Rome, 31 B.C. - A.D. 476 " by Michael Grant. Link to Amazon shown below.


Here are links to some of the key people in my online genealogy database:


Here are some links to help you learn more:


Here are some useful books to read pertaining to the subjects in this blog. Also see the prior blog for other books.



Note: Links to books do not appear in emailed blog posts. They only appear when viewed on the web.

Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com

If you would like to have new blog posts emailed to you as they are posted, email me a note with your email address and I will add you iralund@cft-win.com

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Early Roman Empire

On the nearby Chart #7 is the famous Cleopatra, continued from Chart #5. Follow the line of descent from her and Mark Anthony's daughter Cleopatra Selene to Caius Julius Alexio who married the daughter of Emperor Claudius.

The Tusculum portrait, the only surviving sculpture of Caesar made during his lifetime
Source: By Gautier Poupeau from Paris, France - César, CC BY 2.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35036729
Julius Caesar had two known natural children - Caesarion by Cleopatra, who was killed when he was 17 years old and Julia, who married Pompey the Great, but died with her child while giving childbirth. Thus there are no further descendants of Julius Caesar. There are suspicions however, that three of his mistress Servilia's children were actually his, including Junia Tertia, the wife of Cassius, as well as Brutus, both leading instigators of the plot to kill Caesar.

However, I am descended from Julius Caesar's sister, Julia, who married Marcus Atius Balbus. As you can see in Chart #7, Julia is the ancestor of the first 5 Roman Emperors. Mark Anthony and Octavia were the ancestors of 4 of them, while Octavia was the sister to the first, Augustus. Julia and Julius Caesar's ancestry supposedly go back to Numa Pompilius, the 2nd legendary King of Rome on their paternal grandmother's side, and back to Ascanius, the grandson of King Priam of Troy on their paternal grandfather's side. We will probably revisit the genealogy of the legendary founders of Rome in a later blog.

In this chart you can see the relationships of the first five Roman Emperors - labeled with a number in parenthesis after their common name.
  1. Augustus, the first Roman Emperor, who married Scribonia, a great-granddaughter of Pompey the Great, the highly successful military commander. Augustus and Scribonia's daughter Julia married Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, who was a close friend and adviser to Augustus. Another daughter where I can trace my ancestry is Vipsania Agrippina who married Germanicus.
  2. Tiberius, one of Rome's greatest generals, was married twice, but had only one child, Drusus Julius Caesar, whose descent is shown in Chart #7.
  3. Caligula is always ranked as one of the worst Roman Emperors. He was best known for his scandals - killing people on a whim, turning the palace into a brothel, incest, appointing his horse as a consul and priest, and other outlandish acts. He was harsh to the Senate and other nobility and was eventually assassinated. So far I have not seen that he had any children, so I am not descended from him. But his sister, Julia Agrippina  was married to the Emperor Claudius.
  4. Claudius and Julia had a daughter, Servilia married to Appius Calpurnius Piso, King of Syria who in turn had a daughter, Claudia, that married Alexio II, who was descended from, and the ancestor to, the Priest-Kings of Emesa, which was the old name for the current city of Homs in Syria. We will discuss in a later blog the "legendary" daughter, Genuissa who married the British King, Arviragus.
  5. Nero, like Caligula, also is considered one of the worst Emperors. Nero is known as a persecutor of the early Christians and instrumental in the deaths of both Peter and Paul. He extensively tortured and executed Christians after the Roman fire of 64 CE.
Returning to the Alexio II of Emesa, mentioned above, his ancestors were the Priest-Kings of Emesa, although his father, Sohaemus, was the last acting ruler as from Alexio to  Lucius Julius Aurelius, they served only in a ceremonial role. As seen in the chart, Sohaemus' mother was a 2nd-great-granddaughter of Herod the Great, connecting us back to Chart #2.

This chart (#7) continues with the descent to the Bishops of Lyon and ends with Aurelianus, the Archbishop of Arles in modern day France. These are the ancestors of Charlemagne, the famous  first Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. In later blogs we will show more of his ancestry on several of his lines.



Here are links to some of the key people in my online genealogy database:

Here are some links to help you learn more:

Here are some useful books to read pertaining to the subjects in this blog.




Note: Links to books do not appear in emailed blog posts. They only appear when viewed on the web.

Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com

If you would like to have new blog posts emailed to you as they are posted, email me a note with your email address and I will add you iralund@cft-win.com

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The History of Writing


The history of writing is of interest here due to questioning when "primary" records of genealogical interest first appeared. In other words, when can we really begin to trust the genealogy that I have shown so far and what I will be showing in future blogs.

In the most recent genealogy (the past 500 years), genealogists really want the proof of a "primary source", which is a written source record that was written at the time of the actual occurrence of an event. For example, if we record a birth date and place in our genealogy records (or database) or even the existence of a given person, the best source would be something like a birth certificate or church christening record where the correct date of birth and christening and full child name with parents names were written within a few days of the event. Of course, even this type of record can be in error if the scribe wrote down a mistaken date or parent's name, etc. But this type of record is of more value than someone who writes something down years later.  A bygdebok (which will eventually discuss), for example, which is a Norwegian book compiled from various primary sources is itself a "secondary source".

What I have found - speaking mostly of Norwegian genealogy which I have done a lot of - is that about the time Norway converted to Lutheranism in the 1500's we begin to get reasonably accurate recordings of the entire population in church records of christenings (births), deaths and marriages. Prior to that time the written records typically only include merchants, nobility and royalty. I have found that research in Wales is more difficult, as good primary records for all the population is even scant in the early 1800's. Again, as elsewhere in Europe (and around the world), prior to this time only "important" people like rulers and nobility will have genealogical information.

Going even further back in these royal and noble lines in Scandinavia, we find the Icelandic Sagas which were written down in the 9th through 11th centuries CE - about 1000 years ago maximum. However, these sagas will often record genealogy and events that occurred many thousands of years earlier. Many of them were passed down orally for many generations before being recorded. So one would question the accuracy of these records. These sagas are the source of much of my early genealogy - prior to about 1000 CE.

Even earlier, the Romans kept some reasonably trustworthy records a couple of thousand years ago and I have some genealogy on some of the Roman Emperors and nobility, also the Byzantine Emperors and some European continental royalty. I would believe that these records are reasonably accurate at least for their events and genealogy  due to the importance of these people. However, where genealogy from hundred or thousands of years earlier was written down this can become questionable.

Moving even further back in time I would think we could trust some of the genealogies from the "civilized" western culture where we do have "primary" writings: the Greeks, the Egyptians and the Mesopotamian cultures.

Although there are some really early proto-writings from China in the 7th millennium BCE, the first writings were mostly symbolic and weren't really "literature" where one could read a story or obtain genealogical information. Cuneiform script appeared in Mesopotamia about 3400 BCE.  There seems to appear some fragments of genealogical information, such as the Sumerian and Egyptian Rulers, but much of these really old inscriptions are almost impossible to connect to more recent genealogy. 

The oldest genealogy I have on the Persians is about 800 BCE and for the Egyptian Pharaohs maybe 2000 BCE (and that is only back to the 11th Dynasty and even there it can be questionable). Biblical genealogy was really not written down until just before or during the Babylonian exile of the 6th century BCE.  If one were to ignore the fantastically long ages of pre-flood inhabitants from the Book of Genesis and calculate around 30 years per generation prior to King David (abt 1000 BCE) you would have Adam living about 2000-1800 BCE rather than 4004 BCE as calculated by James Ussher, the Archbishop of Armagh in the 17th century. But even if some of the men mentioned early in Genesis were based on true people, I suspect that the genealogical connections are not correct, likely with many missing generations, as I have seen elsewhere in the Old Testament.

In other words, a primary source written down in 600 BCE may perhaps be reasonably accurate about current events and genealogy for the prior few generations, but what would have been written down at that time concerning happenings and genealogy from thousands of years earlier should be questioned and validated with whatever scientific means possible, such as archaeological evidence.

Bottom line: the further back in time the more questionable and unreliable the genealogical data.


Here are some links to help you learn more:

The History of Writing: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_writing
Cuniform Script: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuneiform_script
Icelandic Sagas: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagas_of_Icelanders
Sumerian King List: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerian_King_List
Ussher Biblical Chronology: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ussher_chronology


Here are some useful books to read pertaining to the subjects in this blog



Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com

If you would like to have new blog posts emailed to you as they are posted, email me a note with your email address and I will add you iralund@cft-win.com




Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ancient India and Sasanian Persia

In 320 BCE by the time he was about 20 years old Chandragupta founded the Maurya Empire which covered much of Northern India. He and his even more famous grandson, Ashoka, are pivotal figures in Indian history. Ashoka extended the empire to cover almost all of today's India as well as Pakistan and Bangladesh. After enlarging the empire, Ashoka converted to Buddhism and became non-violent. He is very famous and revered in India today and has been the subject of several movies and TV serials.



Source: Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36896540
Ashoka's great granddaughter married Demetrius I, King of Bactria. Bactria was an ancient kingdom in the area of today's Afghanistan, northwest of the Maurya Empire and east of the Parthian Kingdom (in Persia). Demetrius invaded northwestern India in 180 BC, following the destruction of the Mauryan dynasty.

Demetrius' granddaughter married Menander Soter (Savior), King of Mathura. Menander was originally a King in Bactria, but enlarged his kingdom eastward across northwest India. Today, the city of Mathura is in Uttar Pradesh, India, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, a major Hindu deity.

The genealogy in Chart #6 covers a rather long time frame and several Kingdoms from India through Persia. The Kushan Empire succeeded Bactria during the first century CE. You will see several Kushana Kings in the center of Chart #6.

The Parthian Empire which existed from about 250 BCE to 225 CE, was founded by Arsaces I, the brother of Tridates I the ultimate ancestor of the Parthians shown in the middle left. Vologaeses' son, Mithridates was installed as King of Armenia by Roman emperor Tiberius, who had invaded Armenia in 35 CE. Mithridates descendant, Tiridates III was the first Christian King of Armenia who ruled 298-330.

The Sasanian Empire was founded by Ardashir I after the fall of the Parthian Empire and existed from 224 to 651. This was the last empire in the area of Persia before the rise of Islam in the seventh century.  This empire is considered one of the most important and influential empires in Iran's history. Yazdegerd III was the 38th and last of the Sasanian Persian Kings. The Muslims first attacked Persia in 633. Two of Yazdegerd's sons fled to China and his daughter, Dara-Izdundad, married Bustanai.  Thus the genealogy continues at the bottom of the chart.

Bustanai, Exiliarch of Babylon, who lived after 600 CE, is a direct male descendant of Zerubbabel, Builder of the Temple from about 1000 years earlier as shown in Chart #2 (earlier blog Descent of Abraham). The long list of Exiliarchs in my database were the leaders of the Diaspora Jewish community in Babylon. The following is an interesting story of Bustanai standing before the Persian King:
The figure of the wasp in the escutcheon of the exilarch was made the subject of another legend. The king had taken delight in the clever boy, and, spending one day with him, saw, as he stood before him, a wasp sting him on the temple. The blood trickled down the boy's face, yet he made no motion to chase the insect away. The king, upon expressing astonishment at this, was told by the youth that in the house of David, of which he had come, they were taught, since they themselves had lost their throne, neither to laugh nor to lift up the hand before a king, but to stand in motionless respect (Sanh. 93b). The king, moved thereby, showered favors upon him, made him an exilarch, and gave him the power to appoint judges of the Jews and the heads of the three academies, Nehardea, Sura, and Pumbedita. In memory of this Bostanai introduced a wasp into the escutcheon of the exilarchate. [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bostanai]

NOTE: The source for much of this genealogy is the book "Royalty for Commoners" by Roderick W. Stuart. A link to purchase on Amazon is shown below in the book section.

Here are links to some of the key people in my online genealogy database:

Here are some links to help you learn more:


Here are some useful books to read pertaining to the subjects in this blog.



Note: Links to books do not appear in emailed blog posts. They only appear when viewed on the web.

Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com

If you would like to have new blog posts emailed to you as they are posted, email me a note with your email address and I will add you iralund@cft-win.com

Friday, September 16, 2016

Ancient Greece

When Alexander the Great defeated the Persians and extended his rule through Western Asia and Northern Africa, the center of civilization moved to the Greeks. A few hundred years later it would move even further westwards under the Romans. Here we show Alexander's father, Philip of Macedonia's descent from earlier rulers around the Aegean Sea: Macedonia, Corinth and Argos. Alexander's mother, Olympias was  descended from the Kings of Epirus (northern Greece), which goes back to Achilles (of Trojan War fame), the son of Thetis, the Sea Nymph.

Alexander's daughter, Aesopia was married to the son of Seleucus I Nicator mentioned in the blog under Ancient Egypt (Chart #4). Aesopia and her husband, Achaeus's granddaughter was married to Antiochus I Theos, (also shown in Chart #4).

After Alexander's death, his extensive kingdom soon split up. In the far east, northwest India, the power vacuum gave rise to the Maurya Empire, which we will also discuss in another blog. Alexander's kingdom is typically described as being divided into 5 smaller Kingdoms, although the Selucids and Ptolemys ruled the greatest portions of the old kingdom:


Source: CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77184
  1. In Persia, the Seleucids gained power. Some of that genealogy is shown at the bottom of Chart #4 on the previous blog. 
  2. In Egypt it was Ptolemy Soter, the nephew of Alexander, who became the Pharoah of Egypt. The Ptolemaic Kingdom lasted for three centuries in Egypt down to Cleopatra VII, the last active Pharaoh of Egypt.
  1. In Asia Minor it was Antigonus I Monophthalmus, who is also an ancestor, but not shown in these charts. His granddaughter, Stratonice, was married to Antiochus I "Soter", a son of Seleucus I Nicator.
  2. Lysimachus was ruler in the Balkan peninsula.
  3. Greece, itself first went to Alexander's son, Alexander IV who was born after his father's death, then to King Cassander, founder of the Antipatrid dynasty. 
As you can see at the bottom of Chart #5, we find the famous Cleopatra descended from the Ptolemy's. There are lines that will be discussed in later blogs showing descent from both Mark Anthony and Julius Caesar.


Here are links to some of the key people in my online genealogy database:

Here are some links to help you learn more:

Here are some useful books to read pertaining to the subjects in this blog.




Note: Links to books do not appear in emailed blog posts. They only appear when viewed on the web.

Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com

If you would like to have new blog posts emailed to you as they are posted, email me a note with your email address and I will add you iralund@cft-win.com


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ancient Mesopotamia

Since the advent of writing began in Mesopotamia and Egypt it is no wonder that the earliest genealogies are from this same area. One would not expect to find any valid genealogies in Western Europe during the same time period. What we do have - and what we will explore later - is legends and myths concerning the earliest inhabitants of Scandinavia, Britian and Ireland.

In Mesopotamia we find some genealogy linked to King Nebuchadnezzar II (c. 634 – c. 562 BCE) the Chaldean king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, who is remembered from the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the destruction of Jerusalem's temple. The western world is familiar with him as being mentioned in the old Testament and is usually associated with removing the Jews from their homeland in Israel to Babylon.

According to the Bible, Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, then later encouraged the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their city and temple. This was done under Zerubbabel as mentioned in an earlier blog (genealogy Chart #2). Cyrus was succeeded by his son, Cambyses II, whose genealogy is also in my database, but not shown in the accompanying chart. (I have many lines are in my genealogy but I don't intend on drawing diagrams or commenting on everyone.)

Cyrus had a daughter that married King Darius, the third king of the Achaemenid Empire, who is also famous in the Old Testament. An interesting note in Wikipedia: "The Achaemenid Empire during Darius' reign controlled the largest fraction of the world's population of any empire in history. Based on historical demographic estimates, Darius I ruled over approximately 50 million people, or at least 44% of the world’s population."

Darius' son, Xerxes and grandson, Artaxerxes, are also in my genealogy. Xerxes is likely the King mentioned in the Biblical Book of Esther. Artaxerxes married Andia, the great-granddaughter of King Nebuchadnezzar and their lineage continues through at least two directions as shown in the accompanying chart: the Kings of Armenia and the Seleucid Rulers who ruled the Near East shortly after the death of Alexander the Great.

Seleucus Nicator was the founder of the Seleucid Empire. His great-great-grandson, Antiochus Epiphanes is mentioned in the Apocrypha as the ruler who tried to force the Jews to abandon their religion, which inspired the  Maccabean Revolution mentioned in an earlier blog (Chart #2). Thus it seems that we have ancestors on both sides of historical issues - as has often been the case.

Also notice the line of descent through the Kings of Armenia under the Yervandian (or Orontid) Dynasty   and the following Artashesian (Artaxiad) Dynasty through Tigranes the Great under whom the country became, for a short time, the strongest state east of the Roman Republic.


Here are links to some of the key people in my online genealogy database:


Here are some links to help you learn more:




Here are some useful books to read pertaining to the subjects in this blog.




Note: Links to books do not appear in emailed blog posts. They only appear when viewed on the web.

Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com

If you would like to have new blog posts emailed to you as they are posted, email me a note with your email address and I will add you iralund@cft-win.com

Monday, September 12, 2016

Ancient Egypt

Probably the oldest genealogy which I have are those from ancient Egypt. Narmer is the first ruler of a united Egypt from the early Dynastic Period about 3100 BCE. Prior to him Egpyt was divided between the upper and lower Nile areas - and even through much of the later history Egypt is known as the Two Lands.

However, the earliest genealogy I have starts with the 11th Dynasty with Inyotef the Elder about 2150 BCE. I am not real familiar with all the various rulers of Egypt and only know a few stories about a few of the more well known pharoahs so this is only a brief commentary - not even an outline of Egypt's history. Egypt has a very long history, which is divided into the following periods:
  • Pre-History pre-3100 BCE
  • Ancient Egypt  3100-332 BCE
  • Classical Antiquity 332 BCE - 629
  • Middle Ages 641-1517
  • Early Modern 1517-1914
  • Modern Egypt since 1914
Of course, here we are talking about the Ancient period, although later we shall show some genealogy from Classical Antiquity. Ancient Egypt is further divided into Old, Middle, New, Late Kingdoms with intermediate periods. This all covers up to at least 32 Dynasties and almost 3000 years of history.

One thing that is quite noticeable in my genealogy is how often these rulers married their own sister or half-sister.  I have noticed this happening even in the later Ptolemaic genealogy in Classical Antiquity and other Near Eastern genealogies.  Below is an interesting quote I found on the Bible Archaeology Society website which clearly lays out the reasons why ancient histories are so myopic. Even more recently just over a 100 years, I find that farming communities are all intermarrying, though perhaps not as close as brothers and sisters, but certainly cousins marrying was not so uncommon.
"Looking at recent work done by sociologists and anthropologists, she [Mary Joan Winn Leith] notes that when forming a group identity, we tend to define ourselves by how we differ from other groups. In the ancient Near East, sometimes those outside of a particular group or society were considered less 'human' by those inside of the group. An important factor that contributes to this mindset is geography. People in the ancient Near East typically stayed close to home, which affected their perception of the world. Surely they knew that other groups of people—potential enemies or allies—existed far away, but if they never came into contact with these groups, what did they matter?"  (www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/hebrew-bible/who-was-the-wife-of-cain/)
To point out just a couple of famous pharaohs, I will start with Amenhotep IV Akhenaten. This Pharoah is especially famous for abandoning traditional Egyptian polytheism and introducing the worship of Aten, the sun god, as a quasi-monotheist religion. He was married to one of the few famous women of ancient Egypt, Nefertiti, the most influential woman of the Bronze Age. (See link below to a good book about Queen Nefertiti.)

Rameses II the Great is often considered the greatest and most powerful Pharaoh of Egypt. As such, others liked to link to him as an ancestor.  Even the Irish whose Milesian Legends say that Rameses had a daughter called Scota who was married to Nel, the son of Feinus Farsaid, King of Scythia, shown in my genealogy Chart #1 in an earlier post. Rameses is also the Pharaoh who tradition says lived during the time of Moses, whose army was drowned in the Red Sea. However, the Bible does not actually name the Pharaoh who Moses dealt with. Even "scholarly consensus sees Moses as a legendary figure and not a historical person. Archaeological evidence does not support a mass-migration from Egypt, as described in the Bible." (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses)

The single genealogical link to these Egyptian Pharaohs is through a woman named Neithiyti who married Cyrus II "the Great", King of Persia, who we will discuss in a later post.


Here are links to some of the key people in my online genealogy database:



Here are some links to help you learn more:

History of Ancient Egypt:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_ancient_Egypt
Inyotef (Intef) the Elder:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intef_the_Elder
Amenhotep IV Akhenaten:  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akhenaten
Rameses II : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramesses_II


Here are some useful books to read pertaining to the subjects in this blog.



Note: Links to books do not appear in emailed blog posts. They only appear when viewed on the web.


Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com

If you would like to have new blog posts emailed to you as they are posted, email me a note with your email address and I will add you iralund@cft-win.com


Friday, September 9, 2016

Descent from Abraham

Continuing from Abraham in the previous blog (Chart #1), I now show here the descent from Abraham, the father of the Jewish, Muslim and Christian Religions. Here we see the descent through Isaac then Jacob and two of the 12 sons of Jacob (Israel).  (The line from Ishmael to Mohammed will be covered in some later blog.)

As a side note, I have seen some genealogies which link Benjamin, the son of Jacob, down to Queen Esther, which genealogy is given in the Bible, but which is certainly erroneous as there are way too few generations. Perhaps the intent in the Book of Esther was to indicate she was a descendant, rather than laying out every generation. These genealogies also show Queen Esther married to Xerxes I, King of Persia with their son as Artaxerxes I. However, history indicates that Artaxerxes' mother was Amestris, not Esther. We will eventually show the genealogy of the ancient Persian Kings in a later blog.

Judah was the ancestor of the Kings in the southern Kingdom of Judah, the most famous being King David and King Solomon who ruled over a united Israel. After Solomon's death, the kingdom was split and the northern tribes were eventually taken captive by Assyrians, mostly removed from their lands and lost to history. These are the famous Lost Tribes of Israel - which I may touch upon again in some later post. The stories of the Kings of Judah from Rehoboam down to Josiah who was defeated by Egypt at Meddigo are told in the Old Testament. Then in 597 BCE King Nebuchadnezzar from Babylon pillaged Jerusalem, carting spoils back to Babylon. Many prominent citizens and a sizable portion of the Jewish population of Judah were deported and dispersed throughout the Babylonian Empire. (2 Kings 24:14)  About 70 years later King Cyrus of Persia allowed Zerubbabel to return to Jerusalem so the Jews could rebuild the temple. We will show genealogy for both Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus in later blogs.

The genealogy of Mary and Joseph are shown in the New Testament, although there are a number of discrepancies between Matthew 1 and Luke 3. The genealogy in the chart below follows Luke's account. That Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had children is certainly controversial, but we will discuss this and the "Bloodline of the Holy Grail" in a later blog.

The legend of Joseph of Arimathea and his trip to the British Isle will also be covered in a later blog when we get to the genealogy of the early British Kings.

The Levitical line basically follows the the High Priests of Israel which was passed from father to son for many generations. There are some interesting stories down this line, that especially help close the gap between the end of the New Testament (abt 400 BCE) and the beginning of the New Testament.

Jaddua, the High Priest lived during the time that Alexander the Great was conquering the known world. The interesting story of how Jaddua and the priests went out all dressed in white to meet Alexander and his troops as they came to conquer Jerusalem.  When the troops arrived, Alexander came forward and bowed down to Jaddua. When asked later Alexander explained that he had a dream in which he had seen  Jaddua and was assured victory over the Persians. (Josephus "Antiquities of the Jews", Book 11, Chapter 8)

The story of the Maccabean Revolt is told in the Apocrypha in 1 & 2nd Maccabees. In 167 BCE the Greeks, under emperor Antiochus IV Epiphanes tried to force the Jews to offer sacrifice to the Greek gods, Mattathias ben Johanan killed the Jew who came forward to do so and also the Greek official. This eventual result was Jewish independence, which had not been enjoyed for 400 years. These events form the basis for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

Herod the Great was known in the New Testament as the one who orders the massacre of children at the time of Jesus birth. 



Here are links to some of the key people in my online genealogy database:


Here are some links to help you learn more:


Here are some useful books to read pertaining to the subjects in this blog.



Note: Links to books do not appear in emailed blog posts. They only appear when viewed on the web.

Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com

If you would like to have new blog posts emailed to you as they are posted, email me a note with your email address and I will add you iralund@cft-win.com