Tuesday, September 02, 2014

I (might) have the Kingslayer blood in me....

A bit of cross posting....this was a review of Susan Fern's The Man Who Killed Richard III over on Goodreads.com.

When I heard about the discovery of Richard III's remains under a parking lot, I thought it was an interesting story, but didn't give it a great deal of thought.

Then, earlier this year, after reading John Ehle's Trail of Tears, I started digging around my own family history. My maternal grandmother's family, the Reece Family, had the same name as a chief mentioned in Ehle's work. My Mom had a family history she'd worked on, but had run into a couple roadblocks which led to gaps into our knowledge.

Well, I joined up on ancestry.com. Played around. A lot of fine work has been done, and to those people, I owe a tremendous debt.  I discovered that my line of the Reece/Reese family wasn't descended from the chief mentioned in Trail of Tears. We may have been related, but I didn't come from him, at any rate. My Reece/Reese family game to Polk County, Tennessee by way of Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia and, as far back as I can see, Wales.

(Let me add here....working on ancestry.com is a mixed bag...there's a lot of good work done there, but there are also places where there's a leap of faith being made based on family tree info, rather than there being a concrete paper trail, and along a couple of other family lines, there are places where the math just doesn't work.  So, you have to be careful.  I take it with a grain of salt, and it might not be wise to take it as gospel.  That said, the work done along the Reece/Reese/Rhys line seems solid, and has multiple sources).

I went digging to see how far back I could go. I was impressed with the work of folks on the other side of the pond, who'd traced the family history back until before the year 1200. In my zeal to see just how far back the family name went, I didn't preform my due diligence to see just who these grandfathers were.

I'll admit to getting sidetracked by finding out that another great (x13) grandfather was the man who founded Pennsylvania.

It wasn't until early in August that I started reading to see who exactly these people were.

Well, Rhys ap Thomas is my great (x19) grandfather. And this book tells his story, as well as presenting evidence that he was the man who slew King Richard III. Interesting work, including Rhys's place in the reign of Henry VII, and his family's role in the life and reign of Henry VIII.  

The book itself is a quick, dry read with a lot of information packed within. I'll be going back to it in the future....


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