Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Question from Charles - Tudor surname

So I just found this site and wondered if I could find out more about my ancestry through others. So I was born Charles Tudor and my father and grandfather have the same first and last name. I want to dig deeper into whether I have any descendants of the royal family. Do you have any ideas about my lineage or can help with it?

[Note from Lara - we've had this question before, I think, along with some recent general genealogy questions so I thought I would open it up for people to comment with some of their favorite genealogy resources and tips.]

1 comment:

PhD Historian said...

As you know, surnames are obtained via one’s father. The Tudor surname was a non-royal one prior to 1485. The only claim to royal blood held by Henry VII, founder of the Tudor royal dynasty, derived from his mother, Margaret Beaufort, who was herself a descendant of the Royal House of Plantagenet. The Beaufort line began as an illegitimate one, though it was later legitimated by Parliament. But any claim the Tudors had to royal blood began with Henry VII as a very distant fifth-generation descendant of King Edward III through Henry’s mother Margaret. Further, Henry Tudor was in his own day the only male descendant of his grandfather Owen Tudor, so that there were no immediately collateral lines. Thus, if you are to find ancestors of your own who are themselves “descendants of the [Tudor] royal family” and who share the surname Tudor, you must look to Henry VII and his heirs. But as we know, the Tudor royal line became extinct upon the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. Henry VII’s only surviving son, Henry VIII, had only one legitimate son in his turn, Edward VI, but Edward died without issue. Thus there were no males remaining in the Tudor royal line who could transmit the Tudor name together with any claim to royal lineage.

In short, the ability of the Royal House of Tudor to transmit the Tudor surname ended with the death of Edward VI in July 1553. There are today no descendants of the Royal House of Tudor who were born with the surname Tudor. (There are, however, many thousands of descendants of Henry VII who do *not* bear the surname Tudor because they are descended from one of his two daughters, Margaret and Mary).

The Tudor lineage before Owen Tudor is difficult to trace, but if you want to find any connection to the Tudor royal house, it will likely be found in some link much further back, during the Tudor line’s pre-royal days. The royal Tudors would then be, at best, your exceptionally distant cousins long dead.