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Do you have royal blood? Maybe.

Apr 07, 2002 10:20 AM
by Steve Stubbs

There is an article in THE ATLANTIC about a fellow in
Ireland named Mark Humphrys who has an interesting
theory about genealogy that may amuse someone. The
article said he has a web site, but the author was not
good enough to tell us what its URL is.

The theory begins with the fact of geometric
progression and the fact that a family tree is one. 
You, for example, have two parents who are your direct
ancestors, and each of them have two parents, for a
total of six. Go back another generation and each of
your grandparents have two parents, for a total of
fourteen, and so on. Within a surprisingly small
number of generations there are more people in your
family tree than have ever lived on earth.

Given that we know everyone must have had two parents,
and given that the geometric progression leaves us
with a number of ancestors which is clearly
impossible, Humphrys comes to the conclusion that some
of the people in these large numbers must have been
counted multiple times. In other words, both of your
parents shared some of the same ancestors if you go
back far enough in time, else there is no way to
explain the numbers. Having said that, he concludes
further that everybody is the direct descendant of
everybody who lived in ancient times. Or even
medieval times.

That conclusion is a little harder for me to swallow. 
He is saying, in effect, that one of your ancestors
was Muhammad, no matter who you are, and another of
your ancestors was Confucius, no matter who you are. 
I am flattered, but the geographical realities seem to
make this unlikely. One of his conclusions which is
not unlikely at all, though, is that if you are of
European ancestry you are the direct descendant of
Charlemagne and numerous other nobles, and therefore
that you have royal blood. This is true because you
are the direct descendant of EVERYONE who lived in
Europe during Charlemagne's time. That includes horse
thieves, murderers, burglars, Sabbath breakers,
sidewalk spitter on'ers, and scoundrels of every
description as well as people who were not members of
royal families. So the blue in your blood may be
diluted a wee mite. But it is surely there.

Before deciding you are a modern Tess d'Urbeville it
might be well to consider that royal families (and
aristocracies in general) are really nothing but just
incestuous extended families. The idea of an
aristocracy is to be sure no one marries outside the
extended family and dissipates the family's inherited
wealth into the profane world. That is the reason not
a single person who has ever married into the British
royal family has ever been treated decently by their
relatives. One of them, who became too much of a
pain, died in a convenient car wreck in Paris a few
years ago. The vehicle that struck her Mercedes not
only was driven by an expert driver, who did not lose
control even after a violent collision at 120 mph, but
who had the means to immediately dispose of the car he
was using so that it was never found. Probably in a
crusher which had already been arranged before the
collision. But royal families rise and fall. Once
princes turn into paupers they marry pauperettes. Go
back far enough and thay royal blood has been spilled
all over the place. So the theory goes.

I don't believe a word of it, but I am contemplating a
trip to Europe anyway to inspect some medieval
castles. I want to see where my direct ancestors
lived during their days of glory. As for salutations,
I don't stand on protocol. "Highness" will do.


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