New book examines twelve generations of late Princess's British, European, and American ancestors. American connections include: Thomas Jefferson, Emily Dickinson, Susan B. Anthony, Nancy Reagan, Anderson Cooper, and Mitt Romney
Boston - Aug 2007 - The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) announces the release of a new book examining twelve generations of the ancestry of Diana, Princess of Wales, to mark the tenth anniversary of her death in 1997.
Years in the making, the book, "The Ancestry of Diana, Princess of Wales, for Twelve Generations," by Atlanta-based genealogist Richard Evans, documents the princess's family history in Great Britain, Europe, and the United States. This remarkable book shows that she descends from kings and commoners, scholars and their patrons, murderers and their victims, prime ministers, and at least one court jester.
Readers will be especially interested to learn more about her colonial ancestry through her American great-grandmother. Some of those family connections include famous figures such as Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, Ethan Allen, Nathan Hale, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Emily Dickinson, Katharine Hepburn, Sir Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Nancy Reagan, Anderson Cooper, Mitt Romney, Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Grant, David Rockefeller, and William Clay Ford.
This exhaustively researched portrait shows the rise and fall of families through luck, pluck, intelligence, and the occasional well-turned ankle. With more than three centuries under review, it is possible to see time running backward, revealing the exalted - or modest - origins of some of Great Britain's most interesting historical figures.
"This book adds enormously to genealogical literature on the British royal family," notes Gary Boyd Roberts, Senior Research Scholar Emeritus at NEHGS. "It both identifies the forebears Diana brought to the royal family and suggests much of this ancestry's social breadth, offering a 'capsule view' of British history that may well be shared by all future British monarchs. Genealogists, royalty scholars, kinsmen (including many Americans), and the millions who admired the late Princess will certainly enjoy this book."
Diana, who died tragically in a car accident in Paris in August 1997, remains one of the most recognizable and cherished figures in the world today.
Starting in 1847, NEHGS began publishing the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, one of the cornerstones of genealogical research in America. Today, NEHGS and its imprint Newbury Street Press, publish about eight new titles each year.
"We are very proud to offer this important book," said D. Brenton Simons, NEHGS President and CEO. "Diana's work and life continue to inspire people worldwide, and providing her family history gives readers a new view of her remarkable story."
Other Interesting Ancestors:
- One of Diana's more prominent American ancestors was Joseph Strong, who served in the U.S. Army as a doctor and became a respected physician in Philadelphia. Among Strong's first cousins was Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale.
- Queen Anne left no surviving children, but Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, the Queen's best friend and most loyal servant, is one of the most prominent of Diana's female forebears.
- One of the Princess's maternal great-grandfathers was an Irish peer who married an American "dollar princess," daughter of millionaire Wall Street broker Frank Work. This alliance was typical of many nineteenth-century transatlantic marriages, bringing infusions of American capital to the cash-starved European and British nobility. The marriage gives Diana more than one hundred American ancestors, some of whom were among the early settlers of New England.
- A significant twelfth-generation ancestor was Queen Elizabeth I's favorite, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, whose excessive ambition displeased his sovereign and ultimately led him to the chopping block.
- Diana descends from three of the four favorites of King James VI and I of Scotland and England, although only the 1st Earl of Somerset is included in this volume.
- The Princess descends twice from the handsome Duke of Gordon and his wife, Jane Maxwell, known for her vivacity and wit, and famous for raising the Gordon Highlanders from her husband's estates.
- Another Scots forebear was Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll, general of the forces that invaded Scotland in support of Monmouth's rebellion in 1685. As a result, Argyll lost his head at the same place where his father, the 1st Marquess of Argyll, was decapitated for changing sides one time too many during the English Civil War.
The New England Historic Genealogical Society, founded in 1845, has more than 23,000 members nationally, making it the oldest and largest non-profit genealogical organization in the country. The NEHGS library and archives, located in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, includes more than 5,000 linear feet of shelves holding millions of manuscripts, letters, periodicals, books, documents, and other rare and valuable items. These collections provide genealogists of all levels and expertise immeasurable access to their own family histories and stories. The NEHGS staff includes some of the most respected and experienced genealogists in the country, specializing in early American, English, Irish, Scottish, and Canadian research.
NEHGS publishes several publications including The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Published since 1847, the Register is considered by many to be the leading source of early American research information. Under the NEHGS and Newbury Street Press imprints, NEHGS also publishes a number of books on family and local history.