Sunday, March 02, 2014

Question from Cindy - Connections between Queens Catherine Howard and Catherine Medici

Hello! Here is my question: My ancestor, Thomas Haws Howard, stated on his Civil War records that our family was related to Queen Howard Medici. Obviously this has posed a problem because I know of Queen Catherine Howard and Queen Catherine Medici, so I can't figure out which queen he meant. Does anyone know of a connection between these two queens or have any ideas on what this statement could have meant?
Thank you so much!


  1. To which Civil War are you referring? The British Civil Wars of the 1630s and 1640s, or the American of the 1860s, or some other?

    Have you done any genealogical research on your family in an attempt to verify a connection to either Katherine Howard or Catherine de' Medici? To my mind, that would be the first place to start. It is just an unfortunate reality that family stories of the kind related by your Civil War-era ancestor are so often not entirely true. If either woman is truly among your ancestors, it should be relatively simple trace the lineage back to them.

  2. Katherine Howard, c.1521-42, was an Englishwoman who married King Henry VIII of England, and was executed by him five years before the Italian Catherine de’ Medici, 1519-89, married King Henri II of France.

    I have been studying the life of Katherine Howard and her family for some years and cannot see how you ancestor came up with Queen Howard Medici. Maybe he was simply confused by a surfeit of Henrys and Katherines.

  3. I found the document on Google with "Queen Medici Howard" - the record states the "parent stock can be traced back in the mother country to Queen Medici Howard" (not "Queen Howard Medici") but it's only a snippet view.

    The actual document would be very useful to see. I suspect this version may reflect some sort of Google-scanning or other computer error, since both queens have the same first name, Catherine - perhaps the transcriber entered "Queen Catherine" and a predictive-text type of program applied "de Medici"; the transcriber might have meant to erase "de Medici" but wound up removing "Catherine de" while adding "Howard." (Speculative, I know, but I have had numerous tussles with predictive text.)

    If "Queen Medici Howard" appears in the original record, then it is truly a mystery.


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