Ancestry Chart

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AC -- Primary Chart 1 AC -- Primary Chart 2 AC -- Branch Chart 1 AC -- Branch Chart 2

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Wife of Oakley Leigh (I). dau of John Prichard & descendant of Welsh knights and princes


As we said in the Overview, the ancestry chart (also called ahnentafel) is the most useful genealogical tool to line up numerous ancestors between their parents and their child in direct descent. Using the known pedigrees, we first prepared a single long chart with all claimed lines from
?MARGARETTA back for twenty-nine generations. But it was very unwieldy and hard to follow with many intersecting branches, numerous intermarriages, variable surnames especially with the Welsh patronymic system, and siblings appearing in different generations (see below
Organization of an Ancestry Chart for the inherent difficulties of very long charts). Therefore, we decided to divide
into two parts, extracting a large branch but keeping the same numbers and leaving all other ancestors in place so that the total chart can be easily reconstructed. Simply expressed, the main part gives the non-royal figures, and the branch gives the royal figures who, not surprisingly, are also the earliest ancestors we know.

The main part of ?MARGARETTA’s ancestry, the Primary Chart, begins with her immediate family for four generations of the PRICHARD name and one grandmother on her father’s side, 5.NN ferch JOHN ap REES, the wife of 4.RICHARD ap WILLIAM PRICHARD. The first name of this only known grandmother is nowhere given, but her single line from her parents, 10.JOHN ap REES of Aranell and 11.ELIZABETH f. THOMAS ap RHYS of Ravensdale, gives all of the figures we treat in both parts of
?MARGARETTA’S known ancestry.

The second part of ?MARGARETTA’S ancestry shows a long branch extracted from the rest of the line of 5.NN f. JOHN ap REES, and titled Branch Chart of the HUGH VAUGHAN and JANE LEWIS lines. This branch is especially interesting because it extends the number of generations from 19 to 29 and includes most of the major figures of Welsh royalty from the 15th century back to the 8th century after giving their royal descendants in the landed gentry. It seems ironic that a nameless woman of the early 1600’s should bring to the PRICHARD family, and then to the LEIGH family through her marriage to OAKLEY LEIGH, so many illustrious figures of Welsh history.

It is the function of this ANCESTRY CHART to show how that long descent occurred. The historical place and role of these ancestors are given in the HISTORICAL NARRATIVE for all of those lines we consider reasonably well supported by pedigree and historical documentation. In the ANCESTRY CHART we have added to that number by also giving other figures who are possible but so far not well enough supported to be considered certain or even reliably likely ancestors. Our tests for reliability in a timely pedigree and historical confirmation are outlined in the Overview. For both sets of people, whether accepted ancestors or merely speculative candidates, we give whatever evidence we found for their identity and family status in notes to the CHART. We recognize and regret the much greater difficulty of proving the identity and status of wives, mothers, and daughters than of male ancestors, so we have sometimes listed female pedigree names without supporting evidence or without study. At least they serve to remind us that, named or nameless, a mother always provided half of our genetic inheritance.

To a certain extent, our ANCESTRY CHART is a progress report on our research so far and a record of what we included but also why we excluded certain lines or branches, e.g. the claimed descent of Gruffudd from Elidir Goch (see 20,608.GRUFFUDD and 10,240.ELIDIR GOCH). One of the major means of identifying family relations occurs by property transfer in inheritance or dowry, so we decided to try to follow the estate of Penddeulwyn in the Primary Chart. This estate was known in our line from a pedigree recorded by the herald Gruffudd Hiraethog in Peniarth MS 134, but we wanted to learn its earlier owners, and we found further generations "of Penddeulwyn" in the previous two pages of the MS. Though we have found no documentary proof, from these attributions it is possible to infer that the estate passed down through two female lines (353.MARGRED and 707.GWENHWYFAR) in the early 1400s, and it can be traced back two further generations in the earlier of these lines to 2828.RHYS LLWYD in the mid-1300s.

All sources we used are briefly cited in the notes of the CHART, and since they are often the same references used for the HISTORICAL NARRATIVE, their full citation is given separately in the BIBLIOGRAPHY, which thus serves all of our work on ?MARGARETTA PRICHARD’S ancestry.

Organization of an Ancestry Chart

The following style of family tree is usually called an ancestry chart or ahnentafel, because it creates a numerical list of ancestors to reveal parental relations by simple arithmetic. In pre-computer days this was a great advantage over pictorial trees and pedigrees that required special typesetting. The ancestry list is still very convenient for uneven pedigrees with large gaps (such as this PRICHARD line), because it leaves unused numbers instead of unused space for lacking information. If gaps can later be filled, these numbers allow easy addition or correction.

The person who is subject of the pedigree is given number 1 and his/her parents have numbers 2 and 3, the father always first and the mother with his number plus 1. The father's father is then given number 4 (=2 X 2) and the father's mother is given number 4+1 = 5. The same occurs with the subject's mother's parents: her father is given the number 6 (=2 X the mother’s number 3), and her mother is given the number 6+1 = 7. The great-grandparents are then treated the same, the father's paternal grandfather first (8), then his grandmother (8+1 = 9), and his maternal grandfather (10) and grandmother (10+1 = 11. The list is infinite, and moving forward and backward through the numbers is simple. For example, the subject's 2X-great-grandfather on his father’s side is number 16, so one finds that man’s father easily as number 32, and his mother as number 33 (= 32+1). Earlier ancestors with higher numbers are also easily found, e.g. the father of number 3008 would be 6016, the mother 6017.

A fascinating result of a long ahnentafel is the end number showing how many slots (both filled and unfilled) exist in the pedigree of a single person. When first encountered, that number is amazing. We counted 29 generations back from our ?MARGARETTA PRICHARD, and these 29 generations show 398,589,988 slots in her pedigree when it reaches MAREDUDD ap TEWDWS, who died in 796 A.D.

Most slots are blank and unfilled, of course, but even if all slots were filled we would see a second amazing figure. In a pedigree with millions of slots, there will not be millions of people. In fact, the actual people will number only in the thousands, because the same ancestors are repeated or shared over and over. This occurs even without known relatives marrying each other, and it occurs among international royal dynasties as well as in a medieval village where no serf travelled more than thirty miles away during his whole lifetime. We would see low thousands in the pedigree of someone who descended primarily from a single county in England, and high thousands for someone with Asian, African, and mixed European parentage. Think about it---it has to be this way, because the population of the Earth could never be large enough for each of us to have millions of separate ancestors. We really are one world.

A final surprise. The same person shared as an ancestor in different lines may appear in different generations reflecting the different ages and relations of each share. For example, if a forty-year-old man takes a fifteen-year-old bride as his second wife, she may belong to the generation of his children by his first wife and his marriage may pull him into that generation, then his children from his second wife may appear in the same generation as his grandchildren from his first wife. The simplest way to think of this situation, of course, is that he lives in two generations, and that is what is shown in the ancestry table because it gives a different line for the man with each of his two wives. Also, family lines may differ greatly in size as well as number of generations, for example the HUGH VAUGHAN and JANE LEWIS lines merge in the 10th century, though the former line was three generations shorter through the 16th down to the 12th centuries (see Branch Chart 1-2). The integrity of the generation change from parent to child remains intact, even though different generations when compared to each other may appear incompatible. As a result, even with sound pedigrees it is difficult to demarcate the generations on an ancestry chart for very long before the natural variations become confusingly wide! So use caution with our generations numbered and labeled below!

Note also that the generations are numbered back from ?MARGARETTA in the 17th century, not from ourselves in our own present time. We have at least ten generations back to her, and if we began with ourselves at number 1, she would have at least number 513 instead of number 1, and the number of slots in our pedigree would be 513 times higher.

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AC -- Primary Chart 1 | AC -- Primary Chart 2 | AC -- Branch Chart 1 | AC -- Branch Chart 2

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© Copyright Derek Williams, Norma Rudinsky 1999, 2011
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