Saturday, 19 September 2015

UE Loyalist lineages: Now easy to research online for free! Part VI

Updated 2015-11-20, a new 54,000 item index was just put online by LAC!

The sixth in an eight part series to help people with potential UE Loyalist lines access the wealth of documentation available online for free, as well as offline sources that can provide further evidence linking generations.

Step 5. Access free UEL record indexes and records online

By the end of Step 4, if successful, you have a candidate UEL. You can continue to work backwards chronologically as well as attempting to work forward from the UEL (which is considerably easier, just remember not to discount anything that may indicate your link to the UEL is not valid).

The easiest thing to access for most UELs are their loss claims and land petition records. Search whichever of the following databases match the locations identified for your UEL family:
And, Ancestry has a database indexing the following claims records, but you can manually view the scanned typescript nominal indexes for free:

If you get hits in an index-only database - and remember, there are often different people with the same name -- look at the details (for the databases: either displayed in the hits table or via a linked screen). The details should provide basic information (like date, name, and township, which is very useful) and then some sort of item number, typically the volume/bundle and page/item number of the record in the original manuscripts. In some cases the database links directly to an image (hopefully there will be more image links in the future). If there is no image in the databases, it will provide a microfilm reel code (usually a letter followed by a four or five digit number).

(In the typescript index, you need to carefully write down the name and all bundle, volume, page and item number information and then do a lookup which I will discuss after first explaining how to access the Land Petition records.)

The records provided online for free consist, essentially, of large digital photo albums of the images from the microfilms. There is a trick to navigating these large image banks.

To locate an individual record you look at the volume and page/item numbers in the index details, then open the virtual "reel" (see below for links to collections of reels which are scanned and available online) and check how many images it contains (usually about a thousand). Go to the page/image number box and enter a number that is about half the total (i.e. 500). Look at that image and scroll down to the bottom (sometimes look to the right side instead) where there should be a little typewritten label below the manuscript document that was filmed. The label will indicate the volume for that item and may indicate the page or item number; if not, the page/item number will be written or stamped on the document (check top right corner first).

If the volume and page number you are looking falls after the one you want, go to a page halfway between the start and where you are now (i.e. page/image 250). If you are before where you need to be in the sequence, go in the other direction (i.e. 750). Check to see if that item is before or after the one you want and then repeat this process -- you can get to the record you want much more quickly than navigating through every single image of the album in order.

Almost all Land Petition microfilms in the above series, with the exception of New Brunswick and PEI (which is very small), are available online via the index or as scans through archived LAC sites or the Héritage project. Once an index has given you a reel number, check these sites to see if the reel is in one of these online collections. (On the Héritage project site you can just type the reel number into the search box and it will pop up if it is there.)
To access claims in the Audit Office records (which you identified by checking the scanned typewritten indexes) uses fundamentally the same navigational approach described above. For AO 12, transcriptions of the original claims (which are at the National Archives UK) in the surviving volumes (1-2, 5, 7, 10-12, 15-16, 18, 23, 25-27, 57, 59-63, 98-99, 109 and 123-124) were filmed onto three very large reels when the original paper transcription became brittle. The three rolls are available online for free. Your index search should have provided a volume number (and a page/item number), determine which of the following reels you need to access (then navigate by halves until you hit the right volume and page of interest):

  • C-12903 (2803 pages), vol. 1-vol. 16 page 420
  • C-12904 (2123 pages), vols. 18-99
  • C-12905 (959 pages), images up to 285 are AO 12 vols. 109 and 123-124

If you found a name in AO 13 on the LAC website, there is good news and bad news. Firstly, it is good to know that most of the material in AO 13 repeats what is in AO 12. However, while the extant volumes (1-100, 102-140) were microfilmed, only a transcribed selection of material is in the microfilm reel which is available online for free:
While it is unfortunate that the full set is not online, you can order the specific microfilm reel you need (and it is a microfilm of the original records, not a transcription) to your local Family History Centre (or check to see if the films are in the holdings of an institution in your area).

Finally, other easy to access online collections worth checking include:
The final step is to try to identify if your UEL or their descendants left wills which link the generations together and provide additional information.

Continue to Step 6...

UE Loyalist lineages: Now easy to research online for free! Part IV

The fourth in an eight part series to help people with potential UE Loyalist lines access the wealth of documentation available online for free, as well as offline sources that can provide further evidence linking generations.

Step 3: Google, using township name

By the end of Step 2 hopefully you have names of a 19th century Canadian ancestor or couple, and some location information as well as key dates. Start Googling.

As the figure in Part 1 demonstrated, UELs can be expected to have in the range of 180,000 grandchildren and 500,000 great grandchildren in the 19th century, and perhaps 26 million descendants living today. The odds that many UEL descendants are mentioned on the web are actually pretty good. Even if your ancestors turn out not to be descended from UELs, this step has potential to kick up useful information about their origins.

Query the name as well as whatever location information you've uncovered, preferably a township name. Add any known birth, marriage, or death years. Add the term "loyalist"/"UEL" to see if they pop up in the context of a UEL's descendants listing. You could uncover posts by your cousins seeking assistance researching the family, as well as secondary content sites providing information (including some of the county histories mentioned in Part I, if your research extends far enough back, to a generation that was alive by the time those were written).

Google really is the universal genealogical index (all due respect to the IGI) and it is foolish not to use it, albeit with careful analysis of whether the results generated really do pertain to your line.

Continue to Step 4...

Friday, 18 September 2015

UE Loyalist lineages: Now easy to research online for free! Part I

The first in an eight part series to help people with potential UE Loyalist lines access the wealth of documentation available online for free, as well as offline sources that can provide further evidence linking generations.


An estimated half a million colonists were loyal to the Crown during the American Revolution. Of those, some 420,000 Loyalists remained in the former colonies at the close of the war.

However, 60,000-100,000 Loyalists -- those who experienced persecution, the confiscation and destruction of their property, and who served the British cause -- left the United States and were compensated for their losses by the Crown. Some loyalists went to refugee camps early in the war and when peace was declared those, and others evacuated from surrendered territories, began taking up land grants in British colonies.

This generated a tonne of paperwork.

The survival of these documents, mostly intact, is a tremendous boon for those seeking to extend their North American family histories well into the 18th century, as well as access biographical details that do not tend to survive in church records. Up until about five years ago, accessing these records required surmounting the usual bricks-and-mortar research institution obstacles.

However, given that approximately 50,000 Loyalists came to Canada -- where they are known as United Empire Loyalists (UELs) -- Library and Archives Canada (LAC) took the initiative to place the most important UEL record sets (as well as all Canadian census records), online for free.

LAC's priority digitization of these records reflect the continuing importance of the Loyalists in Canada. Canada's population was only about 125,000 in 1770. Therefore, the 50,000 refugees from the former colonies to the south exert a lasting founder-effect on the population and their legacy is embodied in a significant percentage of the Canadian population today.

Additionally, my own research tracing the descendants of couples born in the late 18th century has shown me how many Canadians were caught up in American expansion westward starting in the 1850s. A significant number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren of UELs returned to American soil. My "back-of-the-envelope" attempt at estimating the percentage of UEL descendants in both Canada and the US indicates the following scenario is not impossible:

The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of UELs were justifiably proud of their ancestors, who had lost everything, trekked into the Canadian wilderness, and successfully started again. They were also aware that many church records were gone and set about writing family and county histories to document their ancestors' lives before memories were lost forever. While such sources always need to be checked against primary documents, many of these 19th and early 20th century books are now in the public domain and accessible on sites such as Canadiana, OurRoots, OurOntario, and Internet Archive. Some of those sites also index the text to Google, ensuring the content will come up in a Google search, particularly if a township name and key date is included in the query.

In addition to the LAC digitization projects, and the provision of old county histories and family genealogies online, some provincial governments (Ontario, British Columbia, New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland) deserve tremendous credit for placing not only vital records indexes, but actual scans of registrations online, for free.

The vital records, particularly marriages and deaths, often include parents' names and can be key to linking back to the preceding generation. While the records offer excellent coverage, there are unfortunate sequences which do not include intergenerational information (list forms were briefly used in some jurisdictions) and there is always a risk that ancestors were residing in a frontier township that could not properly support registrarial functions (or a generation was averse to registering, which does happen).

The final key in linking generations may therefore come down to wills. While the online coverage of wills is not (yet, fingers crossed) on par with these other record sets, some are online and there are techniques that enable wills to be obtained through interlibrary loan services such as Family History Centers.

Looking at the process for investigating UELs, I can break it down into 6 steps, some very easy, that you can follow to identify UELs in your tree, access the documentation of their lives, and collect solid evidence of your connection to these ancestors and their experience with some of the great events of history.

Start with Step 1...


PART I - Background
PART II - Step 1: Search, look at Canadian censuses online
PART III - Step 2: Search FamilySearch again, access Canadian vital records
PART IV - Step 3: Google, using township name
PART V - Step 4: Take stock, seek advice as needed
PART VI - Step 5: Access free UEL record indexes and records online
PART VII - Step 6: Search wills, obtain evidence linking to later generations
PART VIII - Future possibilities

UE Loyalist lineages: Now easy to research online for free! Part V

The fifth in an eight part series to help people with potential UE Loyalist lines access the wealth of documentation available online for free, as well as offline sources that can provide further evidence linking generations.

Step 4. Take stock, seek advice as needed

After Step 3, you will either have a candidate Loyalist ancestor or you won't:
  • Your Canadian ancestor may have left Canada before 1851 (or 1861 if from a township missing on the 1851 census) and Googling has not turned up a connection to their pre-census origins
  • You now know your Canadian ancestors immigrated to Canada from places other than the US well after the Revolution. Or before, don't forget those 125,000 Canadians kicking around in 1770 -- many of those are Quebecers, in which case the record bounty does continue but your focus would shift to Quebec records unrelated to Loyalists. If your ancestors immigrated from the US at the beginning of the 19th century, there is also a chance you have Patriots in your tree; while they won't show in Loyalist land records, their origins may show up in the county histories.
In the first scenario, circle back and look for documentation in their new country (marriage, death, burial, news coverage) that might indicate a fairly specific origin location in Canada. Run a couple more FamilySearch searches, as FamilySearch also indexes a variety of specialized Canadian record sets that pre-date 1851.

As soon as you have a province, or ideally a county or township, seek out advice on the Internet from people who have specialized knowledge of the records for that location. This could involve joining a Facebook group for a regional branch of the provincial Genealogical Society as well as reviewing branch websites (these organizations have active research support functions and branches may have very robust indexing projects), check the municipal library websites for historical records online -- particularly directories -- as well as specialized indexes for things like obituaries (this is highly variable by municipality, some have done a superb job at placing this information online), check for county and township historical societies which may also have a research function.

If your research leads to a family in the Kingston, Ontario area (a region known as "The Bay of Quinte" for the body of water that intersects with Hastings, Prince Edward, Lennox & Addington, and Frontenac counties), you should probably also check out the files of a renowned 20th century historian, Dr. H.C. Burleigh. He researched over a thousand families and Queen's University and his descendants have ensured his notes and records are viewable onlinefor free.

If you have identified a likely UEL ancestor, the time has come to ensure generational links are solid, as well as locate and review all the primary documentation available for that person online.

Continue to Step 5...


PART VII - Step 6: Search wills, obtain evidence linking to later generations
PART VIII - Future possibilities

UE Loyalist lineages: Now easy to research online for free! Part III

The third in an eight part series to help people with potential UE Loyalist lines access the wealth of documentation available online for free, as well as offline sources that can provide further evidence linking generations.

Step 2. Search FamilySearch again, access Canadian vital records there or at provincial sites

The initial FamilySearch query in Step 1, if done broadly, would have screened the following provincial vital records/indexes as well:
Two collections are not indexed but the images are online for browsing. New Brunswick, Provincial Returns of Deaths, 1815-1919 (80,741 images) and  Prince Edward Island Death Card Index, 1721-1905 (15,903 images). (PEI has a very small population).

If your research led you to expect a vital record from one of the sources, but it did not appear, make sure to adjust the query (type=death only, etc.). Go broader (removing date or place restrictions) or, if you get too many potential records to weed through, use the census information to further refine the query by date and place. If that still does not work, search on every known family member who could also have a vital record. Your ancestor may fall outside a record set's timeline, but their children or sibling may be recorded. As mentioned above, some families were reticent about registering and some townships were not developed enough to properly support the registrarial functions. Additionally, as always, try to anticipate any way the name could have been mangled when indexed.

Unfortunately FamilySearch does not have the index for the Drouin Collection, which is the primary index for civil registration-type information for Quebec, but some pay sites do.

Neither Newfoundland or the Northwest Territories were Loyalist settlement areas. While Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta,  and British Columbia were not Loyalist settlement areas, there is greater chance a subsequent generation went to those provinces. Manitoba vital statistics can be searched separately, as can Saskatchewan's (coming online in batches). Alberta is an online vital record dead zone, however the settlement began there quite late, so using Canadian censuses to trace back towards 1851 will likely indicate another provincial origin where the documentation trail can be more easily accessed.

Continue on to Step 3...


PART VII - Step 6: Search wills, obtain evidence linking to later generations
PART VIII - Future possibilities

UE Loyalist lineages: Now easy to research online for free! Part II

The second in an eight part series to help people with potential UE Loyalist lines access the wealth of documentation available online for free, as well as offline sources that can provide further evidence linking generations.

Step 1. Search, look at Canadian censuses online

FamilySearch has indexed all Canadian census records through to 1911, in addition to US censuses indexed through 1940 (with some US censuses viewable on the site). For American descendants the process will probably start by finding an ancestor listed on a US census with Canada as birth location; use the censuses to try to identify when they left Canada for the US and whether they should appear on an earlier Canadian census. Search there first (if you do not get hits, also try searching the LAC indexes at the links below as a back-up).

If you get likely hits in Canadian censuses, go to the LAC site and search (under the exact name listed on the FamilySearch index record) to view and download the census form for that person and their family (if the family extends to the previous or next page, adjust the image number at the end of the URL plus or minus one, to go forwards or backwards in the image bank):
Returns for the odd township in the 1861-1911 censuses also did not survive and if you don't find a record you expect, go to LAC's About page for each census to check if a target township is missing.

If you find your ancestors, download the census form and make special note of the County and Township (often called the Sub-District) they were residing in. Trace back through as many censuses as you can and get as specific with the location as possible. Township location is key to using more sophisticated research methods to find detailed information.

Warning: Be careful to align the details of spouses, siblings, children, birth dates (+/- up to 4 years) with any details identified in your existing research for the succeeding generation. Given that this is a group with an endogamous founding population, it is not uncommon for multiple people to have the same nameeven if the name appears to be rare at first glance. Working through other record sets described here as well as cemetery records can help you ensure the links are solid (to start: FindagraveOntario Cemetery Finding Aid - index only, but covers 3 million burials in Ontario, CemSearch, etc.).

Continue to Step 2...


PART I - Background
PART II - Step 1: Search, look at Canadian censuses online
PART III - Step 2: Search FamilySearch again, access Canadian vital records
PART IV - Step 3: Google, using township name
PART V - Step 4: Take stock, seek advice as needed
PART VI - Step 5: Access free UEL record indexes and records online
PART VII - Step 6: Search wills, obtain evidence linking to later generations
PART VIII - Future possibilities
PART IV - Step 3: Google, using township name
PART V - Step 4: Take stock, seek advice as needed
PART VI - Step 5: Access free UEL record indexes and records online
PART VII - Step 6: Search wills, obtain evidence linking to later generations
PART VIII - Future possibilities

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Genetic genealogy needs horizontal pedigree charts

Making the most of your autosomal DNA ancestry test requires understanding some simple odds and finding a good way of visualizing how genetic match connections work.

The trick is to build a picture that fits in your brain and doesn't leave you feeling overwhelmed by a morass of potentially connecting pathways. I've got one and I'll share it with you below in the hopes that it works for you too.

The most basic, probably universal, chart for "family" looks something like this:

When visualizing "ancestry", a common approach builds on the standard family chart by adding to it vertically. This is the vertical pedigree chart, which looks something like this:

You may recognize that as the structure used by Ancestry, FamilyTreeDNA and others for tree display. The tendency for genealogy and genetic testing companies to use the vertical pedigree visualization is a damn shame.

I think it is the major limit on efficiently identifying the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) between genetic matches. You'll see why in a moment.

The alternative ancestry charting method is the horizontal pedigree chart:

Notice how:
  1. this is a much more space-efficient chart that is easy to display on a computer screen, (it's basically a table) and
  2. each column is a nice, easy to read list of all the ancestors belonging to each ancestry level in your tree.
GEDMATCH, to its credit, uses a horizontal pedigree chart, although it's not space efficient (it does not list many generations). Why am I going on about space efficiency and the benefits of listing names per generation?

Odds, that's why.

When you receive your autosomal test results, you typically get a list of 700-1000 other testers who share at least one DNA segment with you. Looking at your list of matches and the estimated relationships between you two (provided by the testing company), you'll notice that you have a handful of relatively close matches but the vast bulk of your matches, say 995 of your 1000, will be more distant than that.

Pretend, for a moment, that all the connecting relationships for the 1000 matches were already known, the average relationship across the group would probably be something like 5th or 6th cousins. So, what do you need to know in order to identify the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) between you and the vast majority of your matches -- all these people, who are, on average, your 5th cousins?

Odds are, you need to know the fourth-great-grandparents of each tester.

If you have two full fifth cousins and you take a list of the 64 fourth-great-grandparents for each, two names on both those lists will be the same.
(simulated tree)

So, in order to effectively use your test results 99.5% of the time, you need to have lists of fourth, fifth, and sixth great-grandparents to compare. Unfortunately, none of the testing companies provide an easy way of doing this*.

None provide single view horizontal pedigrees to the fourth-great-grandparent level (or beyond). Instead, the tree structures they provide for testers to add information to are difficult to access and use.

I estimate that 90% of the completed, already researched, genealogies in the testing pool are not available by clicking on a match's name. This is a massively wasted opportunity.

As this charting method shows, in terms of odds, most matches will resolve through a shared person or couple in the list of your 64, 128, or 256 "lines" (i.e. the 4th, 5th, or 6th great grandparent level of your tree -- the farther you complete your tree, the more known lines you have and the more information you have available to figure out how you relate to someone). Most people have no trouble understanding they have a maternal and paternal side, but the exponential expansion of lines to the level of their fourth-great-grandparents is not yet part of how they see the process. Unless everyone is provided with a horizontal pedigree chart to complete to the relevant levels, efforts to identify MRCAs quickly stall.

It gets trickier to identify connecting relationship if fewer names are known (on either tree) but the same principal applies: use the testing company to estimate the level of your tree and your match's tree that should contain an overlapping couple or person (half relationships can be considered by going out one farther level than the estimate predicts). If you can't find a match, look at any missing areas on either side and consider whether the DNA and the combined information from both of you provides a clue about who the missing people could be.

This is how genetic genealogy can break through brick walls.

A seven to nine generation horizontal pedigree model provides a way of easily working with a complex situation. For full fifth cousin matches there are 32 potential pathways on your side and 32 potential pathways on your match's side (because the two sides of the final complete path between you and the match will connect at a couple).While this means that there are over one thousand potential pathways to investigate (odds that can seem overwhelming) checking two reasonably complete lists of 32 pairs of fourth-great-grandparents to find a common pair is not that hard.

So, in summary: to succeed at genetic genealogy you need to have a model of your tree and your matches' trees that allows you to easily identify the overlapping ancestors, namely shared fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-great-grandparents. Horizontal pedigree charts which run at least to the fourth-great-grandparent level allow you to do that efficiently and with an awareness of what is missing. Other methods are not as easy or effective.


A second reason why genetic genealogy needs horizontal pedigree charts is substantially more obvious then the one outlined above: they can provide a spatial representation of ancestry composition. Testing companies who provide ancestry composition estimates do not provide a charting tool that reveals regional contributions to the tester's DNA, but the horizontal pedigree chart can easily do this as well:

And finally, completing such a chart would give testers something to do during the long wait between sending the kit and waiting for their results to come in.

Updated: Template - this is an excel file I use (it is bigger than the above and set up to print on 11 x 17 at a copy shop). It is also expandable -- you can copy the table into a new worksheet and then each person in the last column becomes the base person of their own table, assigning them the ahnentafel number next to their name.

*Note for clarity: Apparently AncestryDNA does have a pedigree view option (I am not sure how many generations it shows on one screen). As a Canadian, I had used AncestryDNA for haplotype testing many years ago and those accounts, deleted by the company last year, did not have a pedigree tree view (or trees, if I remember correctly). Apparently those (US, Ireland) who can order the autosomal testing do have access to this.

Updated 2015-02-09 with template (see bottom). 2015-02-10 template link updated and switched to viewable sharing as someone is editing the template with their own information. Please let me know in the comments if the viewable template cannot be downloaded, thx.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Haplotype (PART 1): What's it good for?

Not much.

I kid, but haplotype results are not good for as much as most people initially assume. A common assumption seems to be that the result reflects one half of your ancestry (your maternal or paternal "side") but in fact it represents only a minuscule amount of your overall heritage.

If you made this mistake, don't worry, so has pretty much everyone who ever received results from a commercial testing company. Haplotype results are over-hyped and tend to dominate ancestry DNA reports (for reasons I won't get into here).

With this post and a couple of follow-up blogs covering investigations I am working on, I hope that I can help you navigate through the hype, bringing haplotypes to ground in the area where they are actually useful: using their logical inheritance pattern to prove/disprove theories of relationships for which no documentation can be found.

The simplest way to understand a "haplogroup" is as a grouping of Y-DNA results or mitochondrial DNA results based on shared variants in the 59 million bases in a male's Y chromosome or or 16.6 thousand bases in anyone's mitochondrial DNA. (This is how the term haplogroup is used in genetic genealogy, biologists use it for all sorts of stuff).

Every individual tested who shares the exact same variants at key locations on the relevant chromosome is assigned the same haplotype. They all inherited these variants from ancestral lines that lead back to the same person a very, very long time ago. Likely tens of thousands of years ago, given the resolution of most basic tests (if you've used a high resolution STR marker test you probably already know this stuff so I don't feel bad about making a slight oversimplification about timelines).

Everyone in a group got their variants from the same person many thousands of years ago, and still has the same sequence of variants, because of two simple facts: Y-DNA gets passed down from father to son without recombining, and mitochondrial DNA is the non-nuclear DNA inherent in the egg cell itself (the sperm's mitochondrial DNA does not survive fertilization) so it also passes intact, but from mothers to all of their children. You, your mom, and her mom's mom's mom, etc. in a straight line of maternal relationships, all have the same mtDNA haplotype. There is a small mutation rate, but don't worry about it until you've become more expert in using haplotypes.

So, how does that type define you?

It really doesn't reflect much about your complete genetic make-up.

Categorizing 16.6 thousand base pairs out of a total of 3 billion is categorizing a measly 0.0005% of who you are, genetically. Women don't even have a Y chromosome and for men it is only about 2% of their total genetic make-up. However, as insignificant as these percentages are, these are the only groupings of DNA that can be made to reflect ancient ancestry and follow a specific logical inheritance pattern, because all your other DNA emerged from mixing events every single time one of your ancestors was conceived. So, the fact that these pieces of DNA do not change and are associated with specific people in every ancestry chart is pretty cool and can be a powerful tool in certain investigations.

So, your haplotype does not really define much about your overall genetic identity, does it tell you much about your relationships with genetic matches on autosomal tests?

I'll answer that in PART 2...

Saturday, 17 January 2015

You are a third cousin of Richard III

If you are English of predominantly English ancestry.

If you are from the broader UK, Commonwealth, or a former colony with any antecedents from the UK, the odds are still good that you are also at least a third cousin of Richard III. The populations of several other European countries are also home to many, many cousins of Richard III, particularly Spain and Portugal, wherein lay the marital destinies of some of his female third cousins. If you are in the west but not of western ancestry, over time, your relatives or descendants will very likely marry a third cousin of Richard III.

How is this possible?

Andrew Millard, a genealogist in Durham, UK, has attempted to calculate "the probability that a present-day English person descends from Edward III." Millard's conclusion is that the probability is well over 99%. As Edward III is the 2nd great-grandfather of Richard III, the odds are you have an ancestral line that runs straight through one of Edward's other great-great-grandchildren, all of whom were third cousins to Richard III.

However, the question remains how many generations removed you are from that point. Benedict Cumberbatch, for instance, is his third cousin, 16 times removed.

You may also have a closer than third cousin relationship to Richard III, as he had nieces and nephews, first and second cousins, with lines surviving to this day. And, he has many lines of cousins that descend from his great-great grandparents other than Edward III (in fact, his maternal line 2nd great grandmother, the mother of Katherine de Roet Swynford, is not even known, so anything is possible).

In fairness, the University of Leicester is claiming only one to 17 million people have connections to Richard III. However, they are not indicating how their probability calculations vary from Millard's (and they may not be familiar with his work). In the days leading up to Richard III's interment, and as his burial site in Leicester becomes a tourist attraction, considering these connections can make history very tangible, universal, and personal.

Richard III's nieces and nephews (who had children)

Richard is, infamously, a suspect in the deaths of two of his nephews. However, several of his other nieces and nephews had children with descendant lines surviving to today.  Eight of his nieces and nephews, many times removed, were reportedly involved in the legal dispute over whether he would be interred in York or Leicester. His living nieces and nephews descend from the legitimate and illegitimate children of his siblings who are known to have had offspring:
  • Anne St. Leger (14 January 1476 – 21 April 1526), who married George Manners, 11th Baron de Ros
    • Michael Ibsen is in this line in a completely female descent (which means he carries the mtDNA of Richard), but there are also may who do not follow a single-sex descent line
  • Elizabeth of York, queen consort to Henry VII of England (11 February 1466 – 11 February 1503)
    • Queen Elizabeth is niece of Richard III, 16 times removed, through this line (Margaret Tudor>Margaret Douglas>Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley>James VI>Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia>Sophia, Princess Palatine>George I>George II>Frederick, Prince of Wales>George III>Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn>Queen Victoria>Edward VII>George V>George VI>Elizabeth II)
  • Cecily of York (20 March 1469 – 24 August 1507), married first John Welles, 1st Viscount Welles and second Thomas Kyme or Keme
  • Anne of York (2 November 1475 – 23 November 1511), married Thomas Howard (later 3rd Duke of Norfolk)
  • Catherine of York (14 August 1479 – 15 November 1527), married William Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon
  • Elizabeth Plantagenet (born circa 1464), married Thomas Lumley, Esquire, of Beautrove, Durham
  • Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle (1460s/1470s – 3 March 1542), married Elizabeth Grey
  • Mary Plantagenet, married Henry Harman of Ellam
  • A daughter said to have been the first wife of John Tuchet, 6th Baron Audley
  • Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury (14 August 1473 – 27 May 1541), married Sir Richard Pole
Anyone who directly descends from someone on the above list is a niece or nephew of Richard III (removed as many generations as they are separated from the person above).

Richard III's first cousins (survived to adulthood, not known to be childless)

Anyone directly descended from someone on the list below is a first cousin of Richard III (removed as many generations as they are separated from the person below).

Father's side

  • William Bourchier, Viscount Bourchier (d. 1480), married Anne Woodville
  • Sir Henry Bourchier (d. 1462), married Elizabeth Scales, 8th Baroness Scales.
  • Humphrey Bourchier, 1st Baron Cromwell (d. 14 April 1471), slain at the Battle of Barnet.
  • John Bourchier, 6th Baron Ferrers of Groby (d.1495), married firstly Elizabeth Ferrers, and secondly Elizabeth Chichelle
  • Sir Thomas Bourchier (b. prior to 1448 d. 1492), married Isabella Barre
  • Edward Bourchier (d. 30 December 1460), slain at the Battle of Wakefield (offspring?)
  • see also Sir Thomas Grey below

Mother's side

  • Ralph Neville, 2nd Earl of Westmorland, married Elizabeth Percy, married Margaret Cobham
  • John Neville, Baron Neville, married Anne Holland
  • Sir Thomas Neville, married Elizabeth Beaumont
  • Margaret Neville, married Sir William Lucy
  • Havisia Neville, married Sir William Bradford Heslerton
  • Joan Neville, married Walter Hart Griffith
  • John Neville, married Lucy Somerset, married Margaret Plumpton, married Elizabeth Newmarch
  • Sir Thomas Grey (1404 – d. before 1426), married Isabel of Cambridge (Richard III's paternal aunt) and some sources indicate they had a son before the marriage was annulled - line most likely died out at this point
  • Sir Ralph Grey (d. 17 March 1442), married Elizabeth FitzHugh
  • Eleanor Grey, married Sir John Arundel
  • Joan Grey, married Sir John Salvin
  • Elizabeth Grey, married firstly, Sir William Whitchester, and secondly, Sir Roger Widdrington
  • Margaret Grey, married Gerard Widdrington
  • Sir Gilbert Lancaster
  • Sir Thomas Dacre (d. before 5 January 1458), married Elizabeth Bowet
  • Humphrey Dacre, 1st Baron Dacre of Gilsland (d. 30 May 1485), married Mabel Parr
  • Joan Dacre, married Thomas Clifford, 8th Baron de Clifford
  • Margaret Dacre, married John le Scrope
  • Henry Scrope, Baron Scrope of Bolton, married Elizabeth Scrope
  • Isabella Scrope, married Richard Plumpton 
  • Margaret Scrope, married Thomas Grey, Baron Richemond
  • Alexander Cressener of Alphamstone (b. c. 1422 - d. 18 Jun 1498), married Alicia Radcliffe
  • Cecily Neville (1424–1450), married Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, line subsequently died out
  • Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick (1428–1471), married Lady Anne Beauchamp 
  • Alice Neville (c.1430–1503), married Henry FitzHugh, 5th Baron FitzHugh 
  • John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu (?1431–1471), married Isabel Ingaldesthorpe 
  • Joan Neville (1434–1462), married William FitzAlan, 16th Earl of Arundel
  • Katherine Neville (1442–1503), married first William Bonville, 6th Baron Harington, and second William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings
  • Eleanor Neville (1447–1482), married Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby
  • Lady Alice Neville, married Sir John Conyers
  • Lady Elizabeth Neville, married Sir Richard Strangeways
  • Lady Joan Neville, married Sir Edward Bedhowing
  • Sir Henry Neville (d. 26 July 1469), married Joan Bourchier
  • Thomas Neville, of Shenstone, Staffordshire ?
  • Jane Neville, some sources report she married Oliver Dudley
  • Richard Nevill (1439 – bef. 1476) ?
  • Sir George Nevill (c.1440–1492), married Margaret Fenne (ancestors to George Washington), married Elizabeth 
  • Alice Nevill, married Sir Thomas Grey
  • Catherine Nevill (b.c. 1444), married John Iwardby
  • Catherine Nevill (b. c. 1452/bef. 1473) married Robert Tanfield (b. 1461) (ancestor of Thomas Jefferson)
  • Margaret Nevill (b.bef. 1476-1506), married John Brooke, 7th Baron Cobham
  • John de Mowbray, 3rd Duke of Norfolk (1415–1461), married Eleanor Bourchier
  • Joan Strangeways, married Sir William Willoughby (they were ancestors of Herbert Hoover, among many others)
  • Katherine Strangeways, married Henry Grey, 4th (7th) Baron Grey of Codnor
  • Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland (25 July 1421 - 29 March 1461, Battle of Towton), married Eleanor Poynings
  • Thomas Percy, 1st Baron Egremont (29 November 1422, Leconfield, Yorkshire - 10 July 1460, Battle of Northampton, England), married Eleanor Percy
  • Lady Katherine Percy (28 May 1423 - d. aft 1475), married Edmund Grey, 1st Earl of Kent
  • Sir Ralph Percy (1425 - 25 April 1464, Battle of Hedgeley Moor), married Eleanor Acton, married Jane Teye
  • Sir Richard Percy (1426/7–29 March 1461, Battle of Towton), married Catherine Percy, of Thornton-Bridge
  • Humphrey Stafford, Earl of Stafford (d. 1458), married Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Stafford
  • Catherine Stafford (1437 – 26 December 1476), married John Talbot, 3rd Earl of Shrewsbury
  • John Stafford, 1st Earl of Wiltshire (d. 8 May 1473), married Constance Green
  • Joan Stafford (1442–1484), married first William Beaumont and secondly William Knyvett
  • Anne Stafford (1446–1472), married first Aubrey de Vere, son of John de Vere, 12th Earl of Oxford, married secondly Thomas Cobham, 5th Baron Cobham
  • Margaret Stafford, married Robert Dunham

Richard III's second cousins 

coming soon

Richard III's third cousins 

coming soon