Book Review: The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants to the American Colonies, Quebec, or the United States

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants to the American Colonies, Quebec, or the United States. Volume I and Volume II.
By Gary Boyd Roberts. Published by Genealogical Publishing Co. 2018. 1611 pages.

This is a remarkable compilation of genealogies of the descendants of British royalty who are themselves notable in some way or another. Notables considered for the book include those persons in the American National Biography, the Dictionary of American Biography, Who’s Who in America, Who Was Who in America, or the National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. The notables were settlement and colony founders, nineteenth and twentieth century figures (such as Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin and Audrey Hepburn), politicians, authors, journalists, and diplomats, among others.

These volumes are successors to The Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants and The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants.

Mr. Roberts examined printed genealogical sources for his own collection instead of record sources. Record sources would presumably be contained within the printed sources he cites.

The format presents the royal couple at the head of the list, with birth and death dates, and the marriage partner, followed by numbered lines of direct descent generations to the subject. For example:

1. Henry I, King of England, d. 1135 = Matilda of Scotland
2. (illegitimate by —– ) Robert of Caen, 1st Earl of Gloucester = Mable FitzHamon
3. …and so one through the successive generations to..:
28. (John) Calvin Coolidge (Jr.) (1872-1933), 30th U.S. President = Grace Anna Goodhue

The descent line genealogies take up 1026 pages. The index is 583 pages.

Beginning chapters are appendices where Mr. Roberts denotes special situations, such as:

  • Appendix VII: 198 Immigrants Whose Royal Descent is Much Altered since RD500 or RD600
  • Appendix VIII: Immigrants with “Caveats”, Some Aspect of Whose Royal Descent Merits Further Investigation
  • Appendix IX: Speculative Descents (Immigrants for Whom a Line from Kings, not simply Gentry Ancestry, has been Suggested but is Unproved or Seems Perhaps Problematic: A List [of 24] with Bibliography and Comments).

Mr. Roberts is the Senior Research Scholar Emeritus for the New England Historic Genealogical Society. He is a native Texan, and graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago. He’s authored Ancestors of American Presidents, Notable Kin (2 volumes), and a column on the royal ancestry of Meghan Markle (https://www.americanancestors.org/Royal-Ancestry-of-Meghan-Markle.aspx).

These extraordinary editions represent decades of the author’s work and research.
Kudos to his dedication and perseverance seeing it through.

The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants to the American Colonies, Quebec, or the United States. Volume I and Volume II may be purchased from the publisher, Genealogical Publishing Co., at:

Volume I: https://tinyurl.com/y2ztr54s

Volume II: https://tinyurl.com/y5oqdn6g

6 Comments

Inquiring minds want to know, are the 600 and now the 900 “new” genealogies, in addition to the original 500, or is 900 now the cumulative total? If the latter, the new edition would seem to replace the older editions.

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    The new 2-volume set includes the previous 600 (many with corrections and/or new additions) plus another 300 descents. In other words, the new 2-volume set REPLACES the previous set and also adds a lot more families.

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The cost of the two volumes is $150.00. For that price I will forgo learning about my possible royal ancestors.

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The price seems like a bargain to me considering the amount of time and effort I would need to track down that much information without a go-to compilation like Mr. Roberts has prepared.

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Realizing the fee is out of my bracket, I can say that a genealogical society should grab it for their region. So that many can scour for potential information. Trusting it is accepted data for lineages. Being earlier comments say some are not okay. Thanks Çousin Dick Eastman for this information

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I ordered the 2 volumes from the publisher and they paid postage. One binding would never have held the two books. The two volumes together are 3.5 inches thick. Remember, the previous ONE volume of 600 was $75.00, and 2 inches thick; I am surprised that binding is still holding intact. I have had several large books over the years that lost bindings.
I ordered the two new volumes so I can give my old 600 to my daughter. Otherwise, I would have donated my old 600 to the library.
You might ask your local library to acquire it; or perhaps they can borrow it from a remote library for you to use.

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