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Tracing ancestry back through several generations, through direct parentage is a challenging and meticulous activity. Cherry-picking other family trees and chasing “names” can be very unreliable. The tradition from Scotland of recurring grandfather names can also lead to confusing and misleading results. Surnames can appear simultaneously in different parts of the UK and Europe, not necessarily related.  All the Jones and all the Smiths and all the Hills are not necessarily linked by family. Verifying by Birth, Death and Marriage certification is vital to validating results, in particular through the 1600s and 1700s. However, once a name of distinction is found and validated the continuing search is much easier. Where property or business is found there are legal and family records archive somewhere. Where title Feudal or Peerage rewards are found then the connections are normally well documented. Newspaper or land/building leases or sales are a goldmine of information as are the prime documents of historical records which are slowly being brought online. The court records of royal houses have valuable minute detail of everyday decisions and activity that is slow and heavy to trawl through. Family diaries are a rich source of gossip and intrigue, love and mischief. Most established “families” kept diaries of business and social affairs which can be found in libraries or online.


Tracing into a royal house is difficult and tedious but once a link is established progress is rapid and can be spectacular. The Royal Stuarts are possibly the richest seam of family connections across Europe with family branches and cousins that intermarry across the houses of Europe.

William Wallace


Robert Bruce                                                            The Stuart connection.


Egidea Douglas                                                         Granddaughter of Robert II of Scotland


Sit William Sinclair                                                    William of Rosslyn Chapel.


Marie De Pol.                                                            Baronies of Waterbeach with Denny


James VII of Scotland and II of England                   D'Romers


The Three Dorotheas,

the Sophie Succession

and the King of America                                          Prussia and the the Romanovs

The Black Douglas

Ollec , Robert of Jerusalem                                      Count of Flanders 

Baldwin                                                                    Flanders to Jerusalem 

Marie de Saint Pol Countess of Pembrooke.




Marie was born into the powerful French house of Châtillon, Counts of Saint Pol. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Châtillons married more often into the royal line than any other noble family, and they were renowned for holding prominent positions as Cardinals and Constables of France. Marie herself was cousin to Charles, Duke of Brittany. She was the fourth daughter of Guy, Count of St Pol and Marie of Brittany. She had four sisters and two brothers, but nothing is known about her childhood. She was also the great-granddaughter of Henry III of England through her mother.


Marie and Pembroke were married in Paris in 1321, she was 17 , he was 50. Legend has it that she was maiden, wife, and widow all in the space of a single day when her husband was killed in front of her in a friendly jousting match, on their wedding day. However, this is unlikely as documentation indicates he died of apoplexy after three years of marriage.


Foundation of Pembroke College Cambridge


Edward III’s charter in 1347 gave Marie the authority to found a house of scholars in Cambridge.  The resulting college was known as the Hall of Valence-Mary, and is known today as Pembroke College.


 home to over 700 students and fellows. This makes it the oldest Cambridge College with an unbroken constitution from its foundation to survive on its original site. In 1355 and 1366, Marie acquired papal bulls to allow the college its own chapel, which was the first college chapel to be built in Cambridge. The foundation of the college demonstrates Mary's piety as well as her interest in education. 

Marie had important ties with both the English and French kings. In 1326 Edward II exempted her from the royal order to arrest all French persons, and Edward III exempted her from the 1337 confiscation of the lands of aliens. As well as lands in France that she held in her own right, she also acquired the estates that had belonged to her husband. However, in 1372 her lands in France were confiscated by King Charles V.

In 1336 Marie was granted the manor of Denny in Cambridgeshire by Edward III, and there organised the foundation of a Franciscan nunnery in 1342.

Marie died on the 16 or 17 March 1377 and was buried in Denny Abbey, to the north of Cambridge on the road to Ely. The abbey became a farmhouse and all traces of Marie de St Pol's tomb have been lost. She is believed to have been buried next to the high altar; the site is now grass.



1630:  Philip Herbert, Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery married Lady Anne Clifford of Appleby Castle.


Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke and 1st Earl of Montgomery, KG was an English courtier, nobleman, and politician active during the reigns of James I and Charles I.


The Herbert’s’ were staunch royalists and their fortunes swung with the support of the Stuarts, James 1st and Charles 2nd. During the days of the Sinclair’s rescue bid for the boy king James 1st both Sinclair and the future king were held in the Tower. Sinclair was soon restored by Edward of England but the prince was held for many years before coming to the combined thrones of England and Scotland. The manor, latterly known as Romers was given and taken several times in political twists and turns which included being confiscated to the crown then restored with fines.


James I King of England and Scotland became the master of restoring the Stuarts coffers by manipulating the Feudal Baronies and Lordships for cash and political and military support. 


The Earls of Pembroke (Pows), the Sinclairs , the Douglas' and the Trotters (Barony of Mortonhall) did well in the long run from this patronage for their loyalty and their cash. The Baronies of Waterbeach with Denny and D'Romers changed hands many times before being restored as incorporeal property.



The Wallaces were vassals of the High Stewards of Scotland. Renfrew today is known as "The Cradle of the Stewarts". In fact, all the High Stewards are buried in Paisley Abbey.


This family came north from Shropshire on the Welsh Marches in the time of David I of Scotland. The original form of Wallace meant "Welsh Speaking", and we know that William's ancestors followed these "Stewards" north as their vassals. In 1174 one Richard Wallace, who is generally regarded as being William's ancestor, witnessed a charter to the Abbey of Paisley. The Wallaces were granted the lands of Elderslie sometime before 1250. The Wallace family have always had some kind of fortified dwelling at Elderslie. The ruins which stand there today date only as far back at the 1500's, but as a house adjoining this site is called the Moat House (ancient fortified dwellings were known at Mottes or Motte Houses), the house in which William was born could have occupied either of these sites.

Sir Robert Sinclair 1480 was married to Margaret Alexander 1480.

Her mother was Margaret Hepburn 1456.

Her father was Adam Hepburn 1430.

His mother was Lady Ellen Wallace 1415, and her parents were Sir Thomas Wallace and Lady Elena Wallace of Elderslie

and so on to William Wallace of Elderslie.

Lady Ellen Wallace 1415 Paisley

Ellen Wallace married Sir Patrick Hepburn, 1st Lord Hailes, son of Sir Adam Hepburn of Hailes and Janet Borthwick.1

Parents Sir Thomas Wallace of Auchinbothie 1387-1447 = Lady Elizabeth Cathart Countess of renfrew 1395 

Patrick Hepburn = Janet Douglas 1560


Malcolm Wallace of Elderslie 

Son of Adam Wallace, Laird of Riccarton and Kyle and Euphemia Stewart

Father of  Sir William Wallace of Elderslie, Kt.Malcolm Wallace; Wallace and N.N. Wallace

Malcolm Wallace of Elderslie,

Birth:1249 Elderslie Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland (United Kingdom)

Death: August 23, 1305 (55-56) Ayrshire,  (killed in Battle of Loudoun Hill)
Husband of Margaret Crawford

Sir William Wallace of Elderslie, Kt.


wWlliam Wallace 2.jpg


The parents of Lady Ellen Wallace 1415 were Sir Thomas Wallace and Lady Elena Wallace of Elderslie and back to William Wallace of Elderslie, famed hero of the Scottish Wars of Independance. It is assumed that William Wallace was born and grew up in Elderslie. On the site of the ancient Elderslie Castle there stands a monument to commemorate his life, and a commemoration ceremony is held every August. Also on the site is the Wallace Yew, an ancient yew treeAuchenbathie Tower a few miles to the south is a site associated with William Wallace in an action against the English.

Though he has become a leading symbol of Scottish nationalism in recent years, details of Wallace's life are sketchy, with most of what we know of him coming from the fifteenth-century ballad "The Wallace" by the virulently anti-English bard Blind Harry. In May, 1297, Wallace and a company of thirty men burned Lanark, Scotland and killed the royally-installed sheriff there, apparently to protest English King Edward I's efforts to control the region. Bolstered by this triumph, Wallace organized an army that took Glasgow and marched on the English stronghold of Scone in September, 1297. Though the English army (which, according to most sources, numbered 50,000) greatly outnumbered the Scots, the English made a grave tactical error by engaging the Scots at Sterling Bridge over the Forth River. The English were not able to bring their full force to bear because of the bridge's narrowness, and the Scots were able to pick them off as they came across. Wallace conducted further campaigns in England's northern counties and assumed the office of Guardian of the Realm. In July, 1298, however, Wallace lost to Edward I's forces at Falkirk, and he would flee Scotland for the continent in 1299. In the years that followed, Wallace would try to gain support for the Scottish cause from French King Philip IV and various other European nobles; these efforts met with little success. By 1304, Wallace was again campaigning in Scotland. He was captured in 1305 and executed in London in August of that year. 

William Wallace's left upper quarter is interred in the wall of St. Machars Cathedral in Aberdeen Scotland and marked with a star.

Wallace to Trotter.png

Robert Clifford/Appleby

This highly experienced knight from England’s borderlands was a veteran of the earlier battles in the wars of independence.

Appointed by Edward I to guard the border in 1296, he fought at the battle of Falkirk in 1298. He was granted the Douglas lands by Edward as a reward for his loyalty. James Douglas was determined to win these back.

At the battle of Bannockburn he was one of Edward’s most trusted commanders, Clifford led a 300-strong cavalry division.

On the first day of the battle he drove his horsemen between Bruce’s army and Stirling Castle in an attempt to cut off the Scots’ retreat. He and his men surrounded Randolph’s schiltron but were unable to destroy it and many men and horses met a gruesome end at the hands of the spearmen.

The following day Clifford was slain as he charged at the Scots, risking all in an attempt to make up for the previous day’s defeat – a high profile and shocking casualty. As a gesture of respect from Robert Bruce, Clifford’s body was returned to England.


The Dukedom of Albany was first granted in 1398 by King Robert III of Scotland on his brother, Robert Stewart, the title being in the Peerage of Scotland. "Albany" was a broad territorial term representing the parts of Scotland north of the River Forth, roughly the former Kingdom of the Picts. The title along with the Dukedom of Rothesay was the first Dukedom created in Scotland. He was also Earl of Fife and is remembered by title in buildings, pubs and streets. 

The Duke of Albany died in 1420 and lies buried in Dunfermline Abbey in Fife.


He was succeeded as Duke of Albany and Regent of Scotland by his son, Murdoch Stewart, Duke of Albany. But in 1425 the exiled King James, captive in England for 18 years, finally returned to Scotland, and executed Murdoch and most of his family for treason, causing the almost complete ruin of the Albany Stewarts.

Murdoch Stewart's sole surviving male heir was his youngest son, James the Fat, who fled to Ireland after a brief rebellion against the King over the arrest of his father and brothers. James remained and died in Ireland in 1429. He was never able to inherit his father's titles, since they had been declared forfeit. Albany's great-grandson, James "Beg" Stewart, (c. 1410-1470)  eventually secured a pardon from the King and return to Scotland, though the family never recovered their lost estates. 

King James II gained greatly by gathering up lands across Scotland. The later Gowrie Plot in the 1600s was as calculating  in gaining  Ruthven lands from those who had in the past supported the Stuarts and were  later poorly rewarded. By comparison James Trotter had a relatively small £500 fine for a minor brush with the Stuarts. 

The Walls family had a longstanding documented connection with Albany Street. Agnes Walls grandfather was born in 14a Albany Street Dunfermline and Agnes's sister Meg and Agnes’s third son William (Bill) lived in Albany Street in a tenement constructed as homes for the key workers in the linen factories lower down the valley. There seemed to be a  group of houses in Albany street in the hands of the Walls extended family. The  factory management had a large house  at the top of the hill with manager accommodation surrounding the estate. Agnes’s bother Pimm lived at the bottom of the valley in a workers tenement on the other side of the factories in Lady Campbells Walk. Agnes herself eventually moved into one of the new post war council houses in David Street.  


THE MOST TITLED MEMBER OF EUROPEAN NOBILITY was the Duchess of Alba with possibly 57  aristocratic titles, María del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y Silva, 18th Duchess of Alba, her family line was from a bastard child of James II extending the house of Stuart into Italy and Spain. 


In Spain Alba de Tormes was a “land holding” near Toledo.

King Henry IV of Castile elevated the County of Alba de Tormes into a hereditary Duchy.


In 1472 Fernando Álvarez de Toledo and of Mencía Carrillo de Toledo y Palomeque, Lady of Bercimuelle were the first Count and Countess of Alba de Tormes.


His son, García Álvarez de Toledo,  was the 1st Duke of Alba.


The most notable  of the Dukes of Alba was the 3rd Duke Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel and known as the Iron Duke. He was an adviser of King Charles I of Spain (Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor), and his successor, Philip II of Spain, governor of the Duchy of Milan , viceroy of the Kingdom of Naples, , governor of the Netherlands  and viceroy  of the Kingdom of Portugal . 

By some historians he is considered the most effective general of his generation as well as one of the greatest in military history. Although a tough leader, he was respected by his troops.  Alba especially distinguished himself in the conquest of Tunis (1535) during the Ottoman-Habsburg wars. He also distinguished himself in the battle of Mühlberg, where the army of Emperor Charles defeated the German Protestant princes.


The Royal House of Stuart became extinct with the death of Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart, brother of Charles Edward Stuart, in 1807. Duke Francis of Bavaria is the current senior heir. However, Charles II had a number of illegitimate sons whose surviving descendants in the male line include Charles Gordon-Lennox, 11th Duke of RichmondHenry FitzRoy, 12th Duke of Grafton;  Richard Scott, 10th Duke of Buccleuch;  and Murray Beauclerk, 14th Duke of St Albans who remains the Royal Stuart Society Governor General to this day. 

James II's illegitimate son, James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick, founded the House of FitzJames comprising two branches, one in France and one in Spain. The last of the French branch died in 1967; the senior heir of James II's male-line descendants is Jacobo Hernando Fitz-James Stuart, 16th Duke of Peñaranda de Duero.


The young FitzJames and his son Francis  were clever in gathering up influence, wealth and titles across Europe in particular in Ireland, France. Portugal and Spain. By marriage and cousins  the great house of Alba and Fitz-James came together in 1802, when María Cayetana de Silva, 13th Duchess of Alba, died without any issue and her titles were inherited by a relative, Carlos Miguel Fitz-James Stuart, who became the 14th Duke of Alba. Reputedly, the dukedom of Alba passed to the senior branch of the House of FitzJames, which took over the patrimony of the House of Alba.

Until 20 November 2014, the head of the House of Alba was Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba.


She held the Guinness Book of Records title for the largest number of noble titles, with 57 titles.

The current head of the House of Alba is Carlos Fitz-James Stuart, 19th Duke of Alba, who succeeded his mother on 20 November 2014. The family owns a significant collection of art, furniture and historic documents, mainly at the Liria Palace in Madrid.


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