Ancestry.co.uk Blog http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm Thu, 03 Jul 2014 06:29:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.2 Titanic Mystery Solved with DNA Testinghttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/titanic-mystery-solved-with-dna-testing/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/titanic-mystery-solved-with-dna-testing/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 06:28:17 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=62 DNA solved a 70-year-old question of whether Loraine Allison survived the Titanic crash. Many have wondered what happened to the two-year-old little girl who disappeared from the crash more than 100 years ago. The story begins with Hudson and Bess taking their two kids, Trevor, seven months, and Loraine, two years of age, across the… Read more

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DNA solved a 70-year-old question of whether Loraine Allison survived the Titanic crash. Many have wondered what happened to the two-year-old little girl who disappeared from the crash more than 100 years ago.

The story begins with Hudson and Bess taking their two kids, Trevor, seven months, and Loraine, two years of age, across the Atlantic on the Titanic. At the time of the sinking, it is said that Trevor was rushed to a lifeboat by their maid and that the other three died on the boat. However, only Hudson’s body was found, leaving the mystery of what happened to Loraine and her mother.

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The New York City Herald covered the sinking tragedy on April 16, 1912. (Credit: Library of Congress)

The New York City Herald covered the sinking tragedy on April 16, 1912. (Credit: Library of Congress)

The unknown remained until 28 years later when Helen Kramer came forward on a radio show called “We the People”, and said that she was the two-year-old missing girl. Only a few of the distant relatives believed her story, but immediate family members denied the claims and kept her out of the inheritance.

When Helen died in 1992 the claims seemed to have died with her. However, in 2012 the granddaughter of Helen, Debrina Woods, resurfaced the claims by saying she had inherited more evidence from her grandmother and that the truth should be told.

With all of this evidence, and with a desire to solve this case, a group of Titanic researchers put together a project to help unlock the mystery.

They did just that, by convincing descendants from each family to have a DNA test done.

The results from the tests show that there is not a relationship between the two families, suggesting that this was a hoax or a complete misunderstanding.

We don’t want to downplay the tragedy of this story to those involved but rather highlight that we have a tool that will help us unlock the mysteries of our past with DNA testing.

This isn’t the first time DNA has helped provide evidence to disprove a connection to a historical claim. DNA testing disproved Anna Anderson’s claims that she was Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the Russian Tsar, Nicholas II. Similar to the Kramer story, researchers found multiple people from both sides of the family in question and had them take a DNA test. No DNA was shared, disproving a relationship.

What questions have you always wondered about in your family?

Discover your family story. Start free trial.

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New Warwickshire Parish Recordshttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/new-warwickshire-parish-records/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/new-warwickshire-parish-records/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 06:25:06 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=57 Wherever you are in the old county of Warwickshire, you’re surrounded by history – from the Cathedral in Coventry, to Rugby School, to Warwick’s Tudor houses. The region has played host to some of our most important figures – William Shakespeare was born in Stratford, while it’s said that the Gunpowder Plot was hatched in… Read more

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Wherever you are in the old county of Warwickshire, you’re surrounded by history – from the Cathedral in Coventry, to Rugby School, to Warwick’s Tudor houses. The region has played host to some of our most important figures – William Shakespeare was born in Stratford, while it’s said that the Gunpowder Plot was hatched in Warwick. Now you can discover your family’s part in this fascinating tale, with our NEW Warwickshire parish records, 1502-1984.

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These comprehensive lists of baptisms, marriages and burials, created in parish churches, take you right back to the time when Catholicism was the established religion, before Henry VIII ordered the dissolution of monasteries such as Nuneaton Priory and Coombe Abbey near Coventry. For the next 300 years the Church was the centre of the local community – so its registers reflect the ups and downs of parish life.

Because these new records overlap with our civil birth, marriage and death indexes, they let you pick up your family’s story where those more recent records leave off in 1837. You could start by searching for a relative that you’ve already found in the civil indexes, to pinpoint the church where they were baptised or buried.

Often, families stayed in the same parishes for generations. So, once you’ve located that first ancestor, you can move back through the centuries, following the twists and turns in your family’s story.

Of course, this is just the latest in our series of parish releases. In the past few months, we’ve also released local collections from West Yorkshire, London, Dorset, Liverpool and Ireland. These add to millions of parish records already at our site.

See all our parish collections

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New Dorset Records – Are You Descended from Pirates?http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/new-dorset-records-are-you-descended-from-pirates/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/new-dorset-records-are-you-descended-from-pirates/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 06:21:51 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=55 Abandon all hope, ye who enter Ancestry.co.uk today. There be pirates about, and they be thirsty for your blood. Actually, strictly speaking, we’re hoping that our pirates already share your blood. These scurvy dogs – who appear as part of nine new Dorset record collections we’re launching today – are real historical people who could… Read more

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Dorset historical records

Abandon all hope, ye who enter Ancestry.co.uk today. There be pirates about, and they be thirsty for your blood.

Actually, strictly speaking, we’re hoping that our pirates already share your blood. These scurvy dogs – who appear as part of nine new Dorset record collections we’re launching today – are real historical people who could be your relatives.

Piracy was rife off England’s south coast right up into the 18th century. Dorset’s coves, caves and sandy beaches were the perfect hiding place for buccaneers and brigands and their ill-gotten loot. That means you stand a good chance of spotting these seadogs in our three new criminal collections.

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Whether your family’s black sheep committed their crimes on land or sea, our Calendars of Prisoners, 1854-1904 take you back to their trials – and often include detailed accounts of their offences. Then our Transportation Records, 1730-1842 and Prison Registers, 1782–1901 let you uncover how they coped with their punishment.

But our new records aren’t all about burglars and bandits. There’s plenty of opportunity to learn about ordinary law-abiding folk as well – and gain a rare insight into their everyday lives.

Our Jury Lists, 1719–1922 reveal the very people who upheld the law, and our Militia Records, 1757–1860 remember those who defended the community. Meanwhile, our Land Tax Returns, 1780–1832 provide a virtual census of everybody in the local area.

See all our Dorset collections

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New London records – Freemen of the Cityhttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/new-london-records-freemen-of-the-city/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/new-london-records-freemen-of-the-city/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 06:13:57 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=51 When it comes to family history, London is definitely a special case. To have a realistic chance of finding ancestors in most other parts of the UK, you need to have some sort of local connection. With the capital, though, it’s worth anybody searching the records – because so many people owned businesses or second… Read more

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When it comes to family history, London is definitely a special case. To have a realistic chance of finding ancestors in most other parts of the UK, you need to have some sort of local connection. With the capital, though, it’s worth anybody searching the records – because so many people owned businesses or second houses in the City, or moved there in search of a better life.

Our latest London release will help you discover the most prominent people in all kinds of occupations and trades – across more than 200 years. It also gives you a remarkable insight into an ongoing capital tradition.

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London Freedom of the City Admission Papers, 1681-1925, reveals almost 600,000 men and women who were given one of the City’s most prestigious titles. These Freemen were allowed to vote in civic elections, drive livestock over London Bridge, and even carry a naked sword in public!

More importantly, becoming a Freeman gave you an elevated standing within all kinds of occupations. From constables and aldermen to merchants and stonemasons, people from all walks of life benefitted from this exclusive status.

Find relatives among our Freemen, and you’ll discover intimate details about their lives. You may also find information about the people that taught them their trades – effectively giving them the chance to earn a decent living.

And remember, even if your family didn’t live in London, there’s a good chance they may have moved there to take advantage of the opportunities only the capital could offer.

Search the records now

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1911 Census – Start Searching!http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/1911-census-start-searching/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/1911-census-start-searching/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 06:06:29 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=47   Good news this week for everyone in Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, plus the millions all over the UK with roots in those areas. We’ve completed the first part of our 1911 Census transcriptions – and you’re the ones to benefit. Right now, everyone can search for ancestors in Wales and the… Read more

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Good news this week for everyone in Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, plus the millions all over the UK with roots in those areas. We’ve completed the first part of our 1911 Census transcriptions – and you’re the ones to benefit.

Right now, everyone can search for ancestors in Wales and the Crown dependencies just as you would with our other census records. Just type in a name, give your best guesses of things like birth dates and places, and see what you can find.

Many of you have commented before that we tend to start with English records. We’ve taken these observations on board, which is why we’ve concentrated first on other parts of the UK this time.

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It’s obviously great news if you’re one of the three million people in those areas. However, the popularity of surnames like Evans, Jones and Davies shows how the Welsh in particular have spread all over the UK. If you have connections to London, Liverpool or any of the coalmining towns in the North and Midlands, for example, it’s definitely worth checking for Welsh roots.

Remember, this is the first Census where you can see the forms filled in by your ancestors. That means you can study their handwriting, and look for any extra notes or comments. Plus, the records include added information, such as how long couples had been married, and the number of children they’d had.

Search now

We’ll have another set of transcriptions for you, covering a large part of England, within a couple of months.The rest will follow next year.

In the meantime, you can continue to use the whole Census by browsing the records. Find out how

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Warwickshire Occupational and Quarter Sessions Records – Hair Powder Certificateshttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/warwickshire-occupational-and-quarter-sessions-records-hair-powder-certificates/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/warwickshire-occupational-and-quarter-sessions-records-hair-powder-certificates/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 05:59:24 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=42 Authored by Rob Eyre.  Rob has more than 20 years experience working with the public in archive repositories and has been a Senior Archivist at the Warwickshire County Record Office since 2005. Hair Powder Certificates One of the more obscure sources of information for family historians focussing on the 18th century are the returns of… Read more

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Authored by Rob Eyre.  Rob has more than 20 years experience working with the public in archive repositories and has been a Senior Archivist at the Warwickshire County Record Office since 2005.

Hair Powder Certificates

One of the more obscure sources of information for family historians focussing on the 18th century are the returns of hair powder certificates. The newly launched collection of Occupational and Quarter Sessions Records from Warwickshire County Record Office includes one small section that features these returns for the years 1795 and 1796.

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The administration of William Pitt the Younger was responsible for a whole series of taxes at the end of the 18th century, including the first income tax, either directly or indirectly to help fund the expensive war with Napoleonic France. The introduction of a tax on hair powder was one such measure. It required individuals using hair powder to acquire a certificate from their local J.P on which a stamp duty of one guinea was paid.  The list of those that had paid was lodged at the local Quarter Session court and a copy of the list affixed to the door of the parish church by the parish constable.

The information included in the list will provide a date, a parish, a list of names and a description being usually the relationship to the head of the household or another role such as servant. So like a census return it is possible to piece together some familial relationships. The lists however will of course be much less complete than a census because most people were not of a status to wear wigs or hair powder and there were also many exemptions such as clergymen with an income of under £100 a year, non-commissioned officers, militia, mariners, officers in the navy below commander and many others.

One payment was acceptable for a group of servants in one household, so for example Lady Leigh of Stoneleigh Abbey lists a housekeeper, house steward, groom, three butlers and a coachman. A word of caution though, housekeeper usually refers to the head of a household rather than a servant and similarly references to ‘inmate’ refers to lodgers not the occupant of some institution.

The tax on hair powder was not repealed until 1869 but by the mid-19th century less than a 1000 people a year nationwide are paying the tax. Some say that the tax hastened the decline in hair powder usage as a fashion; it certainly coincided with the abandonment of wigs for a shorter, more natural hairstyle amongst fashionable young men in Regency England.

In terms of a genealogical resource for Warwickshire what we are left with is a chronologically brief sample with good geographical coverage of well to do society (and their servants) in the mid-1790s, which may well be worth a look if you are focussing on that period.

For more information on what is being held at the Warwickshire County Record Office click here. You can also view the Friends Of The Warwickshire County Record Office Facebook page by clicking here.

Authored by Rob Eyre.  Rob has more than 20 years experience working with the public in archive repositories and has been a Senior Archivist at Warwickshire County Record Office since 2005.

Search for Warwickshire Occupational and Quarter Session Records, 1662-1888 here.

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5 New Ways to Trace Your Military Ancestorshttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/5-new-ways-to-trace-your-military-ancestors/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/5-new-ways-to-trace-your-military-ancestors/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 05:43:25 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=34 5 new ways to trace your military ancestors We’re giving you 5 new ways to trace your military ancestors this Remembrance Weekend. We’ve added thousands of new records covering both World Wars, and stretching right back into the 19th century. The largest new release is Commonwealth War Graves, 1914-1945. If you have relatives who fell… Read more

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5 new ways to trace your military ancestors

We’re giving you 5 new ways to trace your military ancestors this Remembrance Weekend. We’ve added thousands of new records covering both World Wars, and stretching right back into the 19th century.

The largest new release is Commonwealth War Graves, 1914-1945. If you have relatives who fell in either World War I or II, this collection could tell you where they’re buried, and also give you the names of other family members. It covers more than half a million graves in total.

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Our second new collection is no less emotive. Prisoners of War, 1914-1918, reveals 8,000 British officers who were captured during WWI, and tells you their ranks, regiments and dates of capture and release.

If you’re looking for WWII veterans, we’ve also added thousands more records to the similar Prisoners of War, 1939–1945. This includes ordinary soldiers as well as officers. Plus, you’ll find new Memorial Books from WWI and WWII, and additions to our Navy Lists, 1888-1963.

Don’t forget, we already have the largest online collection of World War I records, plus medal records, casualty lists and more from the modern era right back to the Battle of Waterloo. So there are plenty of opportunities to discover your family’s heroes.

See all our military records 

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King George’s Answer to the White Feather: World War I’s Silver War Badgehttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/king-georges-answer-to-the-white-feather-world-war-is-silver-war-badge/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/king-georges-answer-to-the-white-feather-world-war-is-silver-war-badge/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 16:03:03 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=30 The British Empire lost more than 700,000 service personnel in World War I, and almost three times that many were discharged because of wounds or illness that left them physically unfit for service. The service and sacrifice of more than 800,000 of these men—and women—is recognized in the collection of Silver War Badge Records, 1914–1920, now… Read more

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silver war badgeThe British Empire lost more than 700,000 service personnel in World War I, and almost three times that many were discharged because of wounds or illness that left them physically unfit for service. The service and sacrifice of more than 800,000 of these men—and women—is recognized in the collection of Silver War Badge Records, 1914–1920, now on Ancestry.co.uk.

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In September 1916, King George V authorized the Silver War Badge (SWB) to honor all military personnel who had served at home or overseas since 4 August 1914 and who had been discharged because of wounds or illness. The SWB was a small, circular badge made of sterling silver that bore the king’s initials, a crown, and the inscriptions ‘For King and Empire’ and ‘Services Rendered’. The badge could also be worn by personnel who were discharged because of age. 

The SWB was not simply an honor; it also served a practical purpose. At the time, men of military age in England who were not obviously in the service were sometimes accosted or insulted by civilians presenting them with white feathers—a symbol of cowardice—for shirking their patriotic duty. The badge, which was worn with civilian dress, served as an outward symbol that the wearer’s duty to country had been honorably fulfilled.

Downton Abbey’s second season featured an episode where two ‘white feather girls’ crash a war fund raiser hosted by the Crawleys. When one of the girls presents a white feather to Branson, he tells her,

‘I’m in uniform.’

To which the girl replies,

‘Wrong kind.’

 

One ‘coward’ who didn’t receive the white feather was renowned playwright Noël Coward, who served in the Artists Rifles and is listed on the Silver War Badge rolls:

 

noel name swb

 

Thousands of women appear on the rolls as well. Florence May Hall, Ella Madeline Randall, and Beatrice May Pickard all served overseas in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, which provided cooking, mechanical, clerical, and other support services. Their record indicates that they served overseas.

 noel page swb

 

Jane E. Harvey (Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service) and Florence Rudd (Territorial Force Nursing Service) both served as nurses.

 SWB nurses

 

One thing to keep in mind as you search for your own WWI ancestor. Millions were wounded in the war—some, like J.R.R. Tolkien, so severely that they never did return to the front—but unless they were discharged, they won’t be on the Silver War Badge rolls.

The Silver War Badge rolls have always been a valuable resource, but they were not organized alphabetically and not easily searchable by name—until now. The Silver War Badge Records, 1914–1920, database brings a generation of heroes home for you to discover.

 

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Traditional Choices Top List of Most Popular Middle Nameshttp://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/traditional-choices-top-list-of-most-popular-middle-names/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/traditional-choices-top-list-of-most-popular-middle-names/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 15:30:20 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=22 Middle names doubled in popularity over last century   James, John and William top the list of most popular boys’ middle names, with Louise, Rose and Grace sitting atop of the chart for girls, according to new research. The findings, from Ancestry.co.uk, map the most popular middle names and also show that most (55 per… Read more

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Baby show. Courtesy of National Media Museum. No known copyright restrictions.

Baby show (Courtesy of National Media Museum. No known copyright restrictions.)

Middle names doubled in popularity over last century

 

James, John and William top the list of most popular boys’ middle names, with Louise, Rose and Grace sitting atop of the chart for girls, according to new research.

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The findings, from Ancestry.co.uk, map the most popular middle names and also show that most (55 per cent) are commemorative (selected to remember a well-loved family member) or have run in the family for generations (15 per cent).

 

Out of the Ordinary

The list is notable for the absence of ‘modern’ names, with none of the current top 10 girls first names appearing in the list and just three (William, James and Thomas) of today’s most popular boys names making the top 10.

There is also evidence that parents actively avoid the most common names when selecting their child’s second name, with half of parents (50 per cent) studying lists of top names, most often to avoid selecting more common choices.

 

Two—or More

Middle names are certainly more popular than they ever have been. Rewind more than a century and just one in three people (37 per cent) sported a middle name according to an audit of the 1911 census. Yet today, more than three-quarters of children are given second names (80 per cent) and one in 10 new babies (11 per cent) is given two or more middle names.

While most second names are commemorative, a small number of parents do opt to be more creative, with a significant minority (seven per cent) purposefully selecting more ‘colourful’ second names or taking inspiration from TV, film, music or modern culture by having their middle name taken from a celebrity, fictional character or royalty (five per cent).

When it comes to selecting the middle name, Dad is twice as likely to have a say with the middle name than the first name (14 per cent vs 8 per cent) although both are most commonly chosen equally.

 

Keeping It in the Family

Miriam Silverman, UK Content Manager, from Ancestry.co.uk comments: “It seems that middle names are a relatively new phenomenon, having only become the norm over the last hundred yearsdriven by the desire to commemorate well-loved ancestors.”

“This will have become particularly prominent in society following the two World Wars. These wars affected the entire country and resulted in millions of Britons commemorating their lost loved ones as new babies were born in the years following the conflicts.”

“As a result, middle names are less likely to follow popular culture and more likely reflect age-old traditions or names that were popular in our parents’ or grandparents’ generation—hence the very traditional makeup of today’s top 10 middle names.”

Top ten middle names:

BoysGirls
1James1Louise
2John2Rose
3William3Grace
4Thomas4=Jane
5David4=Elizabeth
6Robert5Anne/Ann
7Edward6May / Mae
8=Peter7Marie
8=Lee8Mary
9=Christopher9=Amy
9=Alexander9=Catherine
10=Michael10=Victoria
10=Daniel10=Kate

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



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Does This Make Angelina Jolie Kate Middleton’s Fairy Godmother?http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/does-this-make-angelina-jolie-kate-middletons-fairy-godmother/ http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/does-this-make-angelina-jolie-kate-middletons-fairy-godmother/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 15:21:32 +0000 wexon http://blogs.ancestry.co.uk/cm/?p=17 Ancestry.co.uk discovers Malificent star Elle Fanning is related to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton While anxiously waiting for the release of the movie Maleficent (a “Sleeping Beauty” origin story about the malevolent fairy, in case you haven’t heard), film buffs Ancestry.ca have discovered that Elle Fanning has more in common with the character she… Read more

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Ancestry.co.uk discovers Malificent star Elle Fanning is related to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton

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While anxiously waiting for the release of the movie Maleficent (a “Sleeping Beauty” origin story about the malevolent fairy, in case you haven’t heard), film buffs Ancestry.ca have discovered that Elle Fanning has more in common with the character she portrays, Princess Aurora, than she may have thought. Fanning is actually the 22nd great-granddaughter of King Edward III, making her a long-lost princess. Her connection to King Edward III, who ruled from 1327-1377, makes Fanning of royal blood, a princess both on and off the big screen.elle lineage

If Fanning’s newly uncovered title of princess wasn’t enough, it turns out she has a second tie to the royal family. The actress is also a relative of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. They both share a connection to King Edward III, the grandson of King Edward I also known as “Edward Longshanks.”

“It’s exciting when art imitates reality, and Elle’s storied family history adds another layer of magic to her portrayal of Aurora,” said Michelle Ercanbrack, a family historian for Ancestry.co.uk. “Whether it’s royals or villains, there’s a story in every family tree, and you’ll never know what you might discover unless you look.”

While looking into Fanning’s family tree, researchers uncovered another magical connection. According to historical records, Fanning’s 2nd great-grandmother Mamie (Ozburn) Odum was known as the “Sunshine Lady” — a woman known for spreading good cheer. She was also a collector of unique antiques, including glass slippers, a central totem from another classic fairy tale, “Cinderella.”

With such a strong royal lineage, and a great-grandmother who may have been her generation’s fairy godmother, the starlet was a natural fit to play the part of Princess Aurora.

Wondering if you may be a long-lost prince or princess? Search and find out at Ancestry.co.uk. Start free trial.

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