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Wednesday, 18 September, 2002, 09:40 GMT 10:40 UK
Relative history links Royals with Bush
Screenshot of 1891 census, Myfamily.com
Even Queen Victoria was counted by census takers
A distant relation that connects the families of Prince William and US President George W Bush - as well as Winston Churchill - has been discovered by a firm putting genealogical information online.

The company came across the link between the Royal Family, the Bush dynasty and Britain's most famous war-time prime minister during research to put Victorian censuses and other family history documents online.

Researchers from the firm traced all three families back to Henry Spencer who lived in Badby, Northamptonshire, during the 15th century.

The first census being put online will be the one collected in 1891. Other censuses dating back to the first in 1841 will slowly be added over the next few months.

Ancient ties

The news about the common Northamptonshire beginnings of Prince William, George Bush and Winston Churchill was released by US genealogy site MyFamily.com.

It is not the first time a link has been made between President Bush and Churchill.

George Bush, AP
President Bush is distantly related to...
In August US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld drew parallels between the latter's "lone voice" on Hitler in the 1930s and modern-day American warnings about Saddam Hussein.

Troy Dunn, vice-president of MyFamily, said the information about the genealogical link was brought to light by researchers preparing records for browsing by subscribers to the US site.

This week MyFamily.com is launching its UK site, called ancestry.co.uk, that will soon host online versions of the Victorian censuses drawn up between 1841 and 1891.

Anyone subscribing to the site will be able to search name records for their ancestors and then look at indexed pages of the census records to find out where their relatives lived, where they came from, their age and what they did for a living.

Mr Dunn said the census will be released county by county with Oxfordshire being first.

As the records are digitised, the names extracted and the pages indexed they will be added to the online database. Eventually the database will contain more than 200 million names.

Prince William, PA
...Prince William.
"If you tried to do that some other way it would cost you so much in time, transport, buying the documents and getting access to them," he said.

A subscription to ancestry.co.uk costs 29.95 per quarter or 69.95 per year.

High and low resolution versions of each census page are being prepared. The low resolution is for online browsing but the detailed version will be available for downloading and printing out.

State and staff

Included in the Victorian census are records for Buckingham Palace which list Queen Victoria and her consort Albert in attendance as well as numerous members of the Royal household.

The occupations of most people at the Palace are recorded and includes the Earl of Aboyne's title of 'Lord in Waiting' and workers such as Joseph Martin 'cabinet maker'.

By the names of the Queen, Prince Albert and the Princesses Royal there are no entries for occupation; instead a tick has been entered in the box.

Enlarge image
Enlarge image

Counting the Queen
The ancestry.co.uk website also holds other genealogical records as well as the growing collection of Victorian censuses.

Also online are parish and probate records, civil registers for births, deaths and marriages as well as New York port arrival records.

It will also host a version of the British 1901 census, a version of which was made available online by the Public Records Office in early 2002.

That site was overwhelmed by demand and even now is only operating a test service.

Andre Brummer, a spokesman for ancestry.co.uk, said he was confident that the site would cope with the number of visitors.

"We've done bigger projects than this," he said.

Mr Brummer said the US MyFamily.com website gets about 10 million unique visitors per month and now has more than 700,00 subscribers.

Have you come across any famous names in tracing your family tree? Tell us your stories using the form below.

Have your say


I discovered I was related to the world's smallest ever man

James Lyons, UK
I discovered that I was related to the world's smallest ever man after I began searching my family tree!
James Lyons, UK

Henri DeBohun, surety signer of the Magna Carta in 1215 AD, was one of my ancestors.
F Mariposa, USA

I'm sure many aren't too surprised at the above findings!
Peter, UK

I have discovered that my mother's side of the family (surname Cast) landed in London in 1666. They were Dutch merchant seamen, and they offered their services in helping to put out the great fire of London. They lived next to the Thames until the 1950s. One other theory about the name Cast is that they pioneered a new type of metal forging, and gave their name to cast iron, which used to be known as 'pig iron' in England - but I haven't had this confirmed.
Rob Holman, Chislehurst, Kent, England

On one side my line has been traced to Roger de Montgomery of the castle in England by the same name and from there back into Scotland to 900 for sure and 800 possibly. I need more help with Dad's side which is lost in a small town on the Elbe in N Germany about 1800. Can anyone assist in tracing such lines?
Ann D Hammond, USA

I am distantly related to the Roosevelts and Thomas Edison through a far-removed grandmother that settled in New Amsterdam when Manhattan was a Dutch colony. (I always wondered where my mechanical talent came from!)
Faye, USA

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Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
See also:

29 Aug 02 | Politics
31 Mar 02 | Science/Nature
03 Jan 02 | UK
24 Jan 02 | Scotland
02 Jan 02 | dot life
04 Jan 02 | UK
04 Apr 00 | Science/Nature
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