Twenty-seven generations of great-grandparents

A while back I posted that if you are somehow descended from Patrick Grehan Senior (1756 -1832) and Judith Grehan (neé Moore), then you are a fourth cousin of Anne Boleyn , and a fifth cousin of Elizabeth 1st. You can find that post here.  I hadn’t taken it any further, so I’m grateful to Nancy Beckley for pushing things back to Edward the First. I picked it up, and pushed it a bit further. It all seems very impressive until you do the maths. 27th great-grandparent means there are another 536 million other great-grandparents who aren’t kings or queens. Still it’s always nice having a saint in the family.

Saint Margaret is Scotland’s only royal saint, and Malcolm is the one in Macbeth. 

27th great grandparents William the Conqueror (1028–1087) and Matilda of Flanders (1031-1083), and also Saint Margaret and the Scottish king Malcolm III. 

26th great grandparents Henry I (1068 – 1135) and Matilda [originally christened Edith] of Scotland (c. 1080 – 1 May 1118),

25th great grandparents Geoffrey V (1113 – 1151) of Anjou and Matilda, (1102 – 1167)

24th great grandparents Henry II ( 1154 -1189) and Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 -1204)

23rd great grandparents King John (1199-1216) Isabella of Angoulême (1188 – 1246)

22nd great grandparents Henry III (1207-1272)/Eleanor of Provence (1223 – 1291)

21st great grandparents: King Edward I (1239-1307)/Eleanor of Castile (1241 – 1290)

20th great grandparents:  Elizabeth of Rhuddlan (1282-1316)./ Humphrey de Bohun, (1276-1322) 4th Earl of Hereford (second husband)

19th great grandparents:  Lady Eleanor de Bohun (1304-1363)/James Butler (1305-1338), 1st Earl of Ormond

18th great grandparents:  James Butler (1331-1382), 2nd Earl of Ormond/Elizabeth Darcy (1332-1390)

17th  great grandparents: James Butler (1359-1405), 3rd Earl of Ormond/Anne Welles (1360 -1397)

16th  great grandparents:  Richard Butler (1395-1443), Sir Richard Butler of Polestown/ Catherine O’Reilly(1395-1420), Gildas O’Reilly, Lord of East Breifne

15th  great grandparents:  Edmund MacRichard Butler (1420-1464), The MacRichard of Ossory/ Catherine O’Carroll (?-1506)

14th  great grandparents:  Sir James Butler (1438 -1487),/Sabh Kavanagh (1440 -1508), Princess of Leinster, daughter of Donal Reagh Kavanagh MacMurrough, King of Leinster (1396-1476)

13th great grandparents:  Piers Butler (1467-1539), 8th Earl of Ormond/Margaret Fitzgerald (c.1473 -1542)

12th great grandparents:  Thomas Butler (?-1532)/wife not known

Rory O More

11th great grandparents:  Margaret Butler/Rory O’More (?-1556)

10th great grandparents:  Lewis O’More/wife not known

9th great grandparents:  Walter Moore/Alicia Elliott

8th great grandparents:  Patrick Moore/Joan O’Hely

7th great grandparents:  Edmund Moore/Elizabeth Graham

6th great grandparents:  James Moore (?-1741)/Mary Cullen

5th great grandparents:  Edward Moore (?-1787)/Jane Reynolds

4th great grandparents:  Judith Moore (1763-?)/Patrick Grehan (1758-1832)

3rd great grandparents:  Patrick Grehan (1791-1853)/Harriet Lescher (1811-1877)

2nd great grandparents:  Celia Mary Grehan(1838-1901)John Roche O’Bryen1810-1870

1st great grandparents: Ernest A O’Bryen 1865-1919/Gertrude Purssell 1873 -1950

If you’re related to Patrick Grehan Senior (1756 -1832) then you are a cousin to Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth 1.

Anne Boleyn

I’ve avoided this one for a while, partly because it is out of period, and also partly because it is hard to work through. It does also appear to be slightly showy-offy, which it isn’t intended to be, well maybe a bit.

It does make it a bit slow going around the National Portrait Gallery, as well as getting a bit of a look when I chime up with “That’s another one of yours…”

Where I do think it helps, is in helping to set into context, how the Grehans would have felt about themselves. In a period when lineage, and status was very important to people; and when there was a strong emphasis on family backgrounds, then it is almost impossible to believe that there wasn’t talk of being the descendants of Irish kings, and of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy. It almost certainly colours some of the wedding choices in the C19th.

But a word of warning from Sir Bernard Burke, in the preface to the 1912 edition of Burke’s Irish Gentry.

“Of course, one knows that every Irishman is the descendant of countless kings, princes and other minor celebrities. One admits it, the thing is unquestionable. One knows, of course, also, that every family is the oldest in Co. Galway, or Co. Sligo, or somewhere else, and that, for some reason or other, every Irishman is the ” head ” of his family…”

Elizabeth I – The Armada portrait

However, it does appears that if you are somehow descended from Patrick Grehan Senior (1756 -1832) and Judith Grehan (nee Moore), [in our case, they are great,great,great,great, grandparents, so ha ha Danny Dyer] then you are a fourth cousin of Anne Boleyn [yes that one.], and a fifth cousin of Elizabeth 1st [yes that one, as well.], as well as descended from a number of Kings of Laois, and a fair smattering of Irish Earls.

The first major clue comes from Burke’s Landed Gentry in the 1871 edition. In the lineage of Patrick Grehan III (Patrick Grehan senior’s grandson) there is the following statement.

(lineally descended from Lewis, the 4th son of  Roger O’More (more commonly, referred to now as Rory O’More), of Leix, by Margaret, dau. and heiress of Thomas, 3rd son of Pierce, 8th Earl of Ormonde). Through this marriage with the co-heiress of Moore, Mr Grehan of Mount Plunkett quarters the arms of O’More of Leix, and Butler, Ormonde.”

Patrick Grehan III had his rights to the arms confirmed in June 1863, so it must have been accepted by the Ulster King of Arms.

Broken down in, I hope, the simplest way; Judith Grehan’s great-grandfather was Edmund Moore, and he, in his turn, was the great-grandson of Lewis More, the youngest son of Rory O’More, and Margaret Butler. So they are separated by seven generations.

Therefore, Judith Grehan is a fourth cousin of Anne Boleyn, seven times removed, and a fifth cousin of Elizabeth 1st six times removed. In order to work out your own relationship simply add on the right number of generations. In the case of my children, it is a fourth cousin of Anne Boleyn, fourteen times removed, and and a fifth cousin of Elizabeth 1st thirteen times removed.

Rather than expand this post too much, I have decided to link to two further posts, containing the workings-out.

How Margaret Butler and Anne Boleyn are related.


There is also more detail on the More-O’Farrell post, though that is possibly the most confusing entry in any edition of Burke’s Landed Gentry ever.


Jane Grehan 1782-1866, and New Hall convent in Essex

Jane Grehan (1782- Abt. 1866, aged 84), was the daughter of Patrick Grehan Senior and Judith Moore. She is a great,great,great,great, aunt. She seems to be rather a shadowy figure; but from the extract below from the New Hall records at least we know what her school fees were. And from the look of it, great,great,great,great, grandpa Paddy Grehan Senior was paying the equivalent of an Eton education for a girl in 1798. So good on him for that…


[Trappes-Lomax, Richard, late Captain 3rd Batt, K.O. Lancaster Regiment, J. P. for Lancashire — born 1870, eldest son of Thomas Byrnand Trappes, of Stanley House, Clitheroe, by Helen,daughter of Thomas Lomax, of Westfield, Preston, who inherited the Clayton and Great Harwood properties from her uncle, James Lomax, D.L., K.C.S.G.; educated at Stonyhurst; took name of Lomax 1892; served in the South African War 1900-1901; married (1894) Alice, daughter of Basil Fitzherbert, of Swynnerton, Co-editor with Mr Joseph Gillow of “The Diary of the English Nuns of the Immaculate Conception at Paris”. The Manor of Clayton- le-Moors came to the Lomax family by marriage with the heiress of John Grimshaw of Clayton Hall about 1720. The Trappes family was formerly seated at Nidd Hall, Yorkshire. from the Catholic Who’s Who and Yearbook 1908.]

A history of this community was printed for private circulation, on the occasion of its Centenary at New Hall, in 1899 ;and to it I am indebted for the following brief account :

About 1480, one John a Broeck, a Canon Regular of the Holy Sepulchre, established a Monastery at Mount St. Odile, near Cologne, and another a few years later at Kinroy, near Maesych on the Meuse. This he soon after transformed into a Convent of Canonesses. The Order flourished, and rapidly spread over the Low Countries.

In 1641, Susan Hawley and Frances Carey entered the Sepulchrine Convent at Tongres, with a view to founding an English Convent of the same order. In the autumn of the following year they established themselves at Liege, accompanied by a Belgian lay sister and a Mother Margaret of the Tongres Community. They settled in a house on the Hill of Pierreuse.

In 1656 they numbered fifteen choir nuns, four young professed, and four novices. After ten years on the Pierreuse they moved to a house in the Faubourg d’Avroy (1655-6). In 1794 the Revolutionary wars compelled them to move to Maestricht, and thence to London. After a two years stay at Holme Hall, near Market Weighton, in Yorkshire, they moved to Dean House, near Salisbury, (1796)  and in 1798 to The following records from the Convent Archives comprise :

A. The Chapter Book.

B. The Benefactors Book.

C. The Dead Book, or Necrology.

D. An Account of the Beginning of the Convent at Liege.

E. An Account of the Revolutionary Troubles, migration to

England, and settlement at New Hall.

F. Lists of the girls at the Convent School, 1770-1799.

G. Notes of Deaths from the Book of Pensioners and Boarders.

H. Charities received, 1651-1663.

I. Accounts of Pupils and Boarders, 1651-1777.

The above have been transcribed by Mother Aloysia James (Kendal) and Sister Ann Frances (Trappes-Lomax)




[Original list of school girls from 1796]


  • Miss Goldie came upon ye 18th of June 1797 she pays 40 Guineas a yr She left us ye 18th June 1798. pd all.
  • The Honble Miss & Miss Christina Clifford came here upon ye 22d of Augst 1797. They pay 37 Guineas a yr each they do not drink Tea. They accompanied us to New Hall where Miss Clifford
  • died ye 1st of July 1805. Miss Christina left us ye[?] of May 1806.pd all.
  • Miss Smith came here upon ye 24th of Augst 1797. She pays £23. 3s. including washing she does not drink Tea, she accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 7 of Augst 1800. pd all.
  • Miss Nihell came here upon ye 20th of Sepbr 1797, she pays 25 Guineas a yr including washing She accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 5th of Decbr 1807.
  • Miss Tuite came here ye 6th of Novbr 1797, she pays 40 Guineas a yr. She left us ye 16th of Novbr 1798. pd all.
  • The 2 Miss Wrights came ye 23d of Octbr 1797, they pay 40 Guineas a yr they accompanied us to New Hall. Miss Mary Wright left us ye 30th of Janry 1801. Miss ann Wright left us ye 9th of Augst 1802. pd all.
  • Miss O. Toole came here upon ye 13th of Decbr 1797. She pays 40 Guineas a yr She accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 26th of June 1800.
  • The 2 Miss Whites came here ye 13th of Decbr 1797. They pay 30 Guineas a yr & are not found in Tea & Pocket money. They accompanied us to New Hall. Miss White left us ye 22d of June1806. Miss Margaret White left us June ye 28th 1808. pd all.
  • Miss C. Stourton came here upon ye 3d of July 1798, she pays 40 Guineas a yr, she accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye20th of June 1800.
  • Miss Isabella McDonald returned to us ye 14th of Janr v 1798.she accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 28th of May 1800.pd all.
  • Miss Charlotte Conolly came here ye 10th of Sepbr 1798. She accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 10th of June 1803 she pays 40 Guineas a yr. Pd all.
  • Miss Melior Weston came here on ye 28th of Sepbr 1798. She pays 20 Guineas a yr. She accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 23d of Febry 1804. pd all.
  • Miss Addis came here on ye 3d of Octbr 1798. She accompanied us to New Hall. She pays 40 Guineas a yr. She left us ye 4th of May 1800. pd all.
  • Miss Coppinger came here the same day. She pays 20 Guineas a yr. She accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye [?] of Augst 1800. pd all.
  • Miss Bourke came here upon ye 4th Octbr 1798. She accompanied us to New Hall, she pays 40 Guineas a yr. She left us ye 16th of Novbr 1801. pd all.
  • Miss Grehan came here upon ye 29th of Novbr 1798. She pays 40 Guineas a yr. She accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 23d of April 1804. pd all.
  • Miss Power of Waterford came here on ye 17th of Decbr 1798, she pays 40 Guineas a yr,she accompanied us to New Hall. She left us ye 24th of May 1802.

There is a post about the 125th anniversary of the school and convent here