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An article in NEXUS: New England Across the United States (volume XVI, no. 5), published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, contains genealogical entries such as (p. 157):

William Lygon (ca. 1512-67) of Madresfield, = 1529 Eleanor Dennis (d. 1579-85/86), 9th in descent from Edward I via Clare, le Despencer, Berkeley, and Dennis; Segrave, Mowbray, Berkeley, and Dennis (from Thomas of Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk, son of Edward I and Margaret of France); and Bohun, FitzAlan, Mowbray, Berkeley, and Dennis

What does "9th in descent from Edward I" mean, and what does the rest of the sentence mean?

  • Do you have the volume and page number from NEXUS for this entry? – Jan Murphy Jul 17 '18 at 1:36
  • 1
    @JanMurphy I've added what information I have. – Ellen Spertus Jul 18 '18 at 20:39
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The phrase "9th in descent from Edward I" means that Edward I appears 8 lines above her in her pedigree (i.e. Edward I was her 6x Gt Grandfather). What follows is a little complicated, but the lines:

"via Clare, le Despencer, Berkeley, and Dennis"

"Segrave, Mowbray, Berkeley, and Dennis"

and

"Bohun, FitzAlan, Mowbray, Berkeley, and Dennis"

are Eleanor's different lines of descent through various notable familes.


A quick Google search found Eleanor' pedigree:

William Lygon of Madresfield married Eleanor Dennis

Her father, Sir William Dennis, married Anne Berkeley

Her father, Sir Maurice 3rd Lord Berkeley, married Isabel Meade

His father, Sir James de Berkeley, 1st Lord Berkeley, married Isabel Mowbray [1]

Her father, Sir Thomas Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk, married Elizabeth FitzAlan [2]

His father, John, 4th Lord Mowbray, married Elizabeth de Segrave

Her father, John, 4th Baron de Segrave, married Margaret Marshall Plantagenet, Duchess of Norfolk

Her father, Thomas of Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk, married Alice Hayles

His father, Edward I, married Marguerite of France (daughter of Philippe III of France)

(The emphasis is mine, to show descent via the female lines)

As you can see, can pick out the line of families:

"Segrave, Mowbray, Berkeley, and Dennis"

directly from the pedigree above.

The others required a little more research.


A little more digging revealed that:

Hugh le Despenser married Eleanor de Clare (daughter of Gilbert de Clare)

Their daughter Elizabeth le Despenser married Maurice de Berkeley

Their son James Berkeley married Isabel de Mowbray (see above [1])

which gives us the:

"via Clare, le Despencer, Berkeley, and Dennis"


A little further research found that:

Elizabeth de Bohun was the daughter of William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton and Elizabeth Badlesmere.

She married Richard FitzAlan, 11th Earl of Arundel

Their daughter, Elizabeth Fitzalan, married Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk ( see above [2])

giving us the

"Bohun, FitzAlan, Mowbray, Berkeley, and Dennis"

family line.

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