Everyone Wants A Royal

by Laura

…and I stumbled upon mine.

My Grandfather, John McManus was a common man. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1900 (the second generation of his McManuses to be born there), and worked in the shipyards.  John was an “electric riveter”… a new twist on an old industry, that was quicker, safer, and required more skill than the old “hot riveting” of the previous centuries. Trades and skills are ever-evolving, as we are experiencing now, in our own time and place. So having the latest technology can be to one’s benefit. This certainly worked to my Grandfather’s.

John’s skills, as well as a certain je ne sais quoi that allowed him and his Father and Brothers to give over to manageable risk, allowed them to take the chance on a US Department of Labor scheme that was recruiting all sorts of skilled (and unskilled) labourers to come to the States and build our industrial engine. The scheme paid for their passage to America; gave them jobs; settled them where the jobs were; then helped them get there families here. Both sides of my personal tree took advantage of this at various times in American Labor history, when it was offered:  my Grandfather, John, in 1926 as well as Michael Wright, my Great-Grandfather on my Father’s side, who came over with his Father in 1911.  They were coal miners and settled in Pennsylvania.

My immediate family are humble people. Hard workers. From the extant records, they were mostly Catholics (although the McManuses tended to switch back and forth between Roman Catholic and Church of Scotland as necessary). And, given the newspaper clipping about my 2nd Great-Grandfather, they liked to drink as hard as they worked.

So how does this lead to Royalty? John’s Mother, my Great-Grandmother, Charlotte Green. She was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1874 and, in typical Celtic naming convention, was named for her maternal Grandmother, Charlotte Fairlie.  This Charlotte, was born in Renfrewshire, Scotland, in 1813.  She is the link to the Scottish Royal Family.  Her father, John Fairlie, was born in 1780.  His Grandmother was Margaret Maxwell, of Dumfrieshire, Scotland.  Margaret is my 7th Great-Grandmother.  She is part of the Clan Maxwell.  So, that was the start for me. I saw a picture of “my” Castle, and I decided to keep searching and see what else I could lay claim to.  😉

So, moving further up this branch of my tree, I then discovered one of my Maxwell ancestors had married Janet of Corstophine, Forrester. Her 4th Great-Grandfather (and my 24th Great-Grandfather) was Robert, 6th Laird of Annandale, de Bruce.  Indeed.  Robert de Bruce (remember Braveheart?). So I just kept climbing.  And, lo! and behold! Robert led me to his 2nd Great-Grandfather…and my 27th Great Grandfather…David I, King of Scotland (whose Mother is my 28th Great-Grandmother, St Margaret, Princess of England, Queen of Scotland, Aethling. I have saints as well as sinners…).

Ok.  But is this right???

So I spent about a week, researching everything I could find. Tracing, retracing, re-retracing the links within the families to ensure that my connection was solid. And it appears to be. In a family like this, once you reach a certain point, Burke’s Peerage and other Peerage/genealogy books pretty much take over. It was a matter of tracing the lines through these books down to where my personal connection is:  my dear Great-Granny Charlotte, who may have heard family tales; we’ll never know. But she was descended from Scottish Royals as well as some of the most powerful Clans in Scotland, the Border Lords or Reivers

I never knew her. Besides the adoption thing, Charlotte my Great-Grandmother died six months after I was born. This intrepid Scotswoman emigrated to the States after her Husband and Sons. She arrived in July, 1928, at the age of 52 with two adult Daughters, and one Son, Duncan, aged 12…listed as “Scholar”. But, then, she was descended from brave stock; willing to risk a better life for her family and her children. Her Great-Great-Great…Granny St Margaret was from the Kingdom of Hungary. It was no small thing to travel from there to Scotland in the 11th century, I expect.

As I continue to discover the stories behind my ancestors, I am fascinated by how those things which appear to be anomalies in my DNA (Orcanian? come again?) do figure on some level, if I look deep enough and broad enough. Since my mtDNA indicates Scandinavian, I’m interested in trying to find how that connects. Viking Raiders? Kingdom of Wessex? Transdanubia?  Who else am I related to, regardless of how obscure?