an ancestral blog by Terrell Ledbetter
There are common themes for many family trees; the long lines back to ancient times are possible because the line contained some or many historical or famous persons. Most lines do not stretch very far back into history as the tree members lived their lives in unrecognized fashion. Many trees stretch only as far back as family Bibles take them. Over time, the famous historical figures had their ancestors and descendants recorded and maintained.
I have been adding onto my tree for over forty years now and my grandfathers and grandmothers number over 7800 now (no sibling or cousin members were added to tree, only direct line parentage). The long lines in my tree contain historical men, or women, and the short trees have records of ancestors long lost because no one cared to preserve their family history or the historical records or family Bible records were misplaced or destroyed.
The best way to further explain this is to render my lengthy line of my tree:
Seleucus I Nicator was my 77th great-grandfather (358 BC-281 BC) who was a General for Alexander the Great. Seleucus was commander of the elite fighting unit called silver shields or “Shield Bearers”, who were the lead unit to face the elephants of King Porus. On the same day and ceremony where Alexander married the daughter of Darius III, Seleucus married a Persian Princess called Apama. He became leader of huge provinces in the Near East and founded Antioch. Records of this ancestor who lived 80 generations back (2363 years) were carefully maintained because the descendents were leaders in the Near East and Egypt and eventually Rome.
Listing every notable descendent of Seleucus would be lengthy and pointless, so I will touch only a few. One of the decendants I will touch on is my 69th great-grandmother, Cleopatra Trypaena (born 135 BC). Many people wrongly assume that pharohs and their queens were Egyptian but that would be incorrect. After Egypt was conquered by Alexander the Great, Egypt was ruled by decendants of Syrians and Greeks whose ancestors had been installed by Alexander. Cleopatra Trypaena was no different and was most likely Syrian. It has been suggested that Cleopatra Trypaena was the mother of the famous Cleopatra who ruled Egypt with the grace of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.
A few generations of descendants later to my 62 great-grandfather was Gaius Asinius Quadratus of Rome (130-220 AD). He was a senator who wrote 15 books about the history of Rome.
From Rome to the Holy Roman Empire arose my 38th great-grandfather Charles the Great or Charlemagne. Most likely the greatest King of all time was born in 742 Ad and died 813 AD. His ancestors and descendents were carefully recorded and that is responsible for many lengthy trees.
Ten generations later arrive William the Conqueror (1024-1087 AD) my 26th great-grandfather. This Norman, by conquering England, established taxes, census and laws that established a different kingdom. His son, Henry I Beauclerc, was the first King of England.
Six hundred years later, my 7th great-grandfather Lord William Johnson was born in Colonial Virginia (New Kent, Virginia 1697-1756). He was the son-in-law of Burgess Larkin Chew and was a landowner in Colonial Virginia.
If you are chasing a long ancestry line, keep after it and you may end up 80 generations back as I did.