(updated November 8,2002)
Relativesof Note and Interest:
- Afranius Syagrius. Gallo-Roman consul fromthe city of Lyon, France, he lived in the mid- to late 400s. (Yes, that's"four hundreds" (1700 years ago) NOT "fourteenhundreds"!) Many professional medieval genealogists accept him as theearliest, best documented direct ancestor of any living person. That meansthat every generation from me to him can be identified (and is on mypedigree). After that, there are gaps and much speculation. Somegenealogists take a more aggressive stance and claim even earlierdocumented ancestry. Noted medievalist Christian Settipani offers apossible (though by no means definitive) route through Ruricius, Bishop ofLimoges (c. 485-507), via Ruricius's purported ancestors of the late Romannoble family Anicii, onward to Antiochos II Theos, king of Syria (c.261-246 b.c.e). From there, one may find tenuous connections to ancientPersia, Babylonia and even Egypt. Settipani also has suggested a Greco-Roman ancestry for AfraniusSyagrius, reaching back with definitive, identifiable persons to just beforethe Christian era. See Settipani,Les Ancêtres de Charlemagne; Settipani, Continuité Gentilice et ContinuitéFamiliale dans les Familles Sénatoriales Romaines à l'Epoque Imperiale.
Ido think it's clear, though, that ever since the dawn of civilization, rulingfamilies have engineered strategic marriages with neighboring ruling families,so that as centuries and millennia passed, the ruling classes around the world(with the exception of those in impossibly remote areas) have had many commonancestors. That's not to say that ruling class blood did not flow downward to"common" folk (indeed, that's how I got MINE!), or that"common" blood did not flow upward. Often persons of peasant origins would become military heroes or leadersfor other reasons. But all in all,noble families of today -- be they in India, Morocco, England, Spain, orelsewhere -- are related, however distant, and probably carry within them thegenes even of the pharoahs of Egypt.
- Charlemagne (Holy Roman Emperor and rulerof much of Europe).
- William the Conqueror (Norman conqueror ofEngland).
- Eleanor of Aquitaine (Princess noted forpromotion of courtly love and chivalry).
- John Lackland (the English king againstwhom Robin Hood fought).
- Foulques V (crusader and king ofJerusalem).
- various saints, mostly Germanic andpre-Norman conquest.
- Faye Dunaway (Academy Award-winningactress).
- Mary Hyanno (princess of a Native Americantribe living in New England).
- Edward Fuller and his wife and son Samuel,all passengers on the Mayflower.
At least three times in thepast, my mother's and father's ancestors have come geographically very close --a surprising fact when one considers that my father's family comes exclusivelyfrom a limited area of southeastern Italy, while most of my mother's familyarrived in the United States in the early 1600s and otherwise since about the1400s hails from northern Europe. The most recent time my father's and mother'sfamilies nearly crossed paths was in the 1910s and 1920s, when my paternalgrandparents lived in western West Virginia. My mother's parents livedliterally several miles away, across the river in Ohio. They may have passedeach other on the roads or stood in line beside one another in stores.
A hundred years earlier, mymother's ancestors moved briefly to Oneida County in New York State, where my father'sfamily would later move and where my father would grow up, marry my mother andraise a family.
Finally, over 900 yearsago, my maternal ancestor Robert Guiscard conquered and ruled Puglia, where myfather's ancestors lived.
List of various occupations of my ancestors
- attorney (mygreat-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather John Tinker)
- coal miner (my grandfatherVitantonio Zizzi, my great-grandfather Nunzio Semeraro)
- farmer (mygreat-great-great-great-great-grandfather Giacomo Oronzo Semeraro and manyothers)
- goldsmith (mygreat-great-great-great-grandfather Vincenzo Baldassarre, mygreat-great-grandfather Martino Molendini)
- brass smith (mygreat-great-great-great-grandfather Filippo Castrignano)
- gospel singers (mygreat-great-great-grandfather Thomas Stanclift, mygreat-great-great-grandmother Mary Ann Peek)
- governor (mygreat-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfatherThomas Roberts)
- mason (mygreat-great-grandfather Cosimo Damiano Semeraro)
- medical doctor (my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfatherGysbert Van Imbroeck)
- minister (mygreat-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather PaulPeck)
- notary (mygreat-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Leonardo Antonio Quirico AndreaMolendini and my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfatherOronzo Molendini)
- pharmacist (mygreat-great-great-grandfather Oronzio Paolo Molendini, mygreat-great-great-great-grandfather Leonardantonio Molendini and mygreat-great-great-great-great-grandfather Oronzo Paolo Molendini)
- photographer (my father PeterNunzio Zizzi)
- spinner of thread (mygreat-great-great-grandmother Maria Teresa Gasparro, mygreat-great-great-great-great-grandmother Lonardantonia Scarafile)
- stonecarver (mygreat-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather James Stanclift andvarious of his descendants)
- tavernkeeper (mygreat-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Maria duTrieux, my great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Samuel Griffin)
- trader (mygreat-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather Jan Peeck)