Have you ever wondered whether you are descended from royalty? For many of us from humble roots the thought of royal ancestry may seem a fantastical notion. It might surprise you to know there are Australians with ‘blue blood’ running through their veins. This was the case for our Reference Librarian Sue, who used a published family history to discover her regal lineage right back to King Edward III. Could there be a monarch in your family tree too? Imagine!
Sue points to her ancestor related to King Edward III in the A History of the Higges, or Higgs family of South Stoke, in the county of Oxford and of Thatcham, in the county of Berks and their descendants book in our collection. Like her royal predecessors, Sue wears gloves while undertaking her official duties.
Researching your family history can uncover ancestors with regal or aristocracy connections. Records held at the Library can start you on your quest to find out if anyone on your family tree had a claim to a throne. You can start your family history research by mapping out your ancestral chart. The easiest way to do this is to start with yourself, add your immediate family and then work backwards. Local family historical societies will be able to help you to start and provide guidance on how to trace your lineage back generations.
Trace your lineage back by filling in your family tree, ancestral or pedigree chart. Watch the following family history video for handy hints: How do I start my family history?
The Library’s family history collection focuses on Australian records; however, we do provide access to family history databases such as Ancestry and Find My Past that will allow users to access royal archives and European historical records (to access these resources, visit our eResources while onsite and search for each service under the Dabatases A-Z tab). Books held in our Family History Reference collection, for example Tracing your Ancestors from 1066 to 1837: a Guide for Family Historians by Jonathan Oates, suggest tips on how to work backwards with your family history. Begin your genealogy journey by visiting the Family History Research Guide.
Whether you suspect that you have links to UK Monarchs, Spanish Queens, Scandinavian Kings or to a Russian Princess the process to locate the information will still be the same. The key is to find a record connecting an ancestor to a member of a royal family. Researching the relevant royal family tree can help make those connections.
This Genealogical Table of the present Families of all the Soverigns in Europe published in 1782 contains two centuries of direct lineage and marriages into royal families.
Fortunately, many monarchical genealogies still exist out of necessity to refute or confirm any past potential rulers. Such trees are easily accessible online via official royal websites, books published or via family history databases. Books such as Burkes Royal Families of the World, edited by Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd, covers European, Latin American, African and Middle Eastern monarchs.
Burke's Royal Families of the World explores monarchs from different countries.
The Library holds a 1707 reproduction of A Genealogical History of the Kings of England, and Monarchs of Great Britain, &c. from the conquest, anno 1066 to the year 1677 by Francis Sandford held in our Special Collections. An electronic copy of the book can be accessed offsite with a National Library of Australia card via the Early English Books Online database. You can access Early English Books Online by visiting our eResources portal and searching for this resource under the Databases A-Z tab.
Author Francis Sandford provides extra research notes about King Henry II published in the margin in his 1707 book called The Genealogical History of the Kings of England, and monarchs of Great Britain, &c. from the conquest, anno 1066 to the year, 1677.
Finding out if you have a published family history can be another way to establish whether you have royal ancestors. A relative or an ancestor could have discovered your royal roots and documented this in a published family history tree or book. You can access a list of published ‘Australian Bibliographies’ by Ralph Reid in a book or electronic format. We also hold family history bibliographies published in other countries such as England, Scotland, Ireland and United States.
Family history bibliographies held at the Library.
Are you curious about those persistent family stories of a long-lost countess or duke? Tracing an ancestor with a title inherited or bestowed by a monarch can be found in peerage records. Genealogist, Bernard Burke published two volumes in 1891 covering peer lineages from colonial families in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, West Indies, South Africa and other parts of the Commonwealth. The Library holds Burke’s two volumes for the A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Colonial Gentry in our collection. More peerage and nobility books for England, Wales, Scotland or Ireland are available in print, microfilm or electronic format.
Peerage books are a directory of families or individuals with a royal title or rank of nobility.
Surfing the internet for reliable family history websites can be overwhelming and working out what is fact and is fiction can be challenging at times. Fortunately, for you, the Library has archived Australian websites from 1996 and these websites can now be accessed on The Australian Web Archive available in Trove. Historians can now search for family history trees published online going back two decades. For example, type in a surname followed by the words ‘family history’, ‘genealogy’ or ‘family tree’. The Australian Web Archive will also provide great search tips on how to find any royal ancestry, peerage or nobility records.
We hope the Library can help start you on your genealogy of thrones search. You may be surprised what treasures you can uncover in our collection. If you have questions on your quest, contact our Ask a Librarian Service.