Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys,

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The Blennerhassett Challenge (€2,000 competition)

Blog - Archive

Latest entries are here.


President Obama visits Ireland, May 2011

Obama's visit to Ireland does in fact make genealogical sense. His Irish-born ancestor, his 3-greats grandfather Fulmoth Kearney (died 1878, many different spellings) is actually his most recent ancestor born outside America on his mother's side. So apart from Kenya (his father's side), Ireland would be his first stop outside America.

Queen Elizabeth II visits Republic of Ireland, May 2011

The Queen's most recent Irish-born ancestor, her 3-greats grandfather Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley (died 1842).


Google Street View for UK and Ireland

This is an image, not an embed:

Street view of James O'Mara's house,
30 Maida Ave, Maida Vale, London.
Click to rotate and see location by canal.

Irish Times article, 1 Dec 2010

Royal Descent of 5th Viscount Fitzwilliam

UK election, 6 May 2010

New O'Rahilly and Humphrys images

Brooke Shields on "Who Do You Think You Are?" (US), 2 Apr 2010.

Brooke Shields on the show.
The show focused on her French Royal ancestors, neglecting her other Royal ancestors.

New details

New details

My MRCA work is mentioned on "QI", Jan 2010

Episode 10, "Greats" of Series G
of Stephen Fry's QI show, BBC One TV, 29 Jan 2010.
See 6:12 to 9:27.

  • Unfortunately, they seem to be working from an old article, since they name-check Daniel Boone, whose Royal Descent has since been disproved. It is a shame, since there are so many other famous people they could have mentioned.

  • About 5 million people watched this.
  • This is the short version. In the extended version ("QI XL") there is nothing extra on our section.
  • QI Blog, 13 Jan 2012.

Royal Descent of General Robert Hunter


New details and images

"Who Do You Think You Are?", RTE TV

Ryan Tubridy descends from Brian Boru.

Rosanna Davison descends from Edward III.

Tim Humphrys branch

New details and images

New details

My grandparents' houses

Video hosting moved to YouTube


US Presidential election, Nov 2008

New Aberdeen-related images, used with permission

New details and images

Henry Noltie.

Family tree of Hilda Davis

Ancestors Chart

New details

The Blennerhassett Challenge, launch May 2008

My father dies, Feb 2008

My father, with whom I went on family tree research trips for 25 years, died of a sudden and unexpected illness on 27 Feb 2008. His family is heartbroken. He was a great father. I was very close to him.

Good bye, Dad.

Dad in 2006.
See memorial page.

Full video of The Struggle (2003) online

Full 55 minute video of the drama-documentary The Struggle (2003)
about the Free State raid on 36 Ailesbury Rd in 1922.

3 minute introduction only.

36 Ailesbury Rd for sale

Cashel of Alaska

Embedded interactive Google satellite maps

Location of the Gibbon graves, Nigg Bay, Aberdeen.


New details

My wife's 4th Royal Descent, worked out 2007.

New details

New details and images

New images and video

Lost portrait of Augustus Reebkomp
hanging in Gibbon home, 1913.

New details and images

Arthur Gibbon.

O'Mara tree now online

New details and images


New details

Quinsborough House.

New images and video

New details and images

The old Rahilly house, Ballylongford.

These family trees are now online:

The song "My Love: The O'Rahilly"

The song "My Love: The O'Rahilly".

New details and images

New details

New details, images and video

James O'Mara and Agnes Cashel.

New details, images and video

Media coverage of Royal Descents and CAs

The Associated Press newswire service quotes me in two articles by Matt Crenson, released July 1, 2006, and carried in many places:

  1. Article on Royal Descents, carried in many places with many titles, such as The Washington Post, Newsweek, Forbes, CBS News, Fox News, ABC News, MSNBC and CTV.

  2. Article on CAs, carried in many places with many titles, such as Wired, Forbes, USA Today, The Boston Globe, San Diego Union-Tribune, Deseret News, Fox News, CBS News, CBS 4 TV and WBZ TV.

    Crenson nicely phrases how we only need one ancestor to be physically descended from someone. That genealogy is not the pursuit of broad patterns (like genetics). Genealogy is the pursuit of statistical artefacts. "Though people like to think of culture, language and religion as barriers between groups, history is full of religious conversions, intermarriages, illegitimate births and adoptions across those lines. ... "And the thing is, you only need one," said Mark Humphrys, ... One ancestral link to another cultural group among your millions of forbears, and you share ancestors with everyone in that group. So everyone who reproduced with somebody who was born far from their own natal home - every sailor blown off course, every young man who set off to seek his fortune, every woman who left home with a trader from a foreign land - as long as they had children, they helped weave the tight web of brotherhood we all share."

Why We're All Jesus' Children, Steve Olson, Slate, March 15, 2006:

  • He references me in the sidebar.
  • Olson points out that The Da Vinci Code does not understand genealogy: "no matter how the court case turns out, both books are confused. If anyone living today is descended from Jesus, so are most of us on the planet."
  • He criticises DNA studies, which - by focusing on male-male or female-female lines only - make people look less connected than they really are: "The risk of today's genetic genealogy tests is that they tend to divide people into groups, whereas the real message that emerges from genealogy is one of connections. ... People may like to think that they're descended from some ancient group while other people are not. But human ancestry doesn't work that way".

Photos of graves

My wife's 3rd Royal Descent, worked out 2005-06.



In 2005 I got non-shared, always-on broadband at home for the first time in my life (previously it was dial-up, or for one year shared broadband).

As a result, since 2005 I have made huge progress on the family tree and getting it all online.

New images and biography

New images and video

Wilton House

Bush is descended from Strongbow, Jan 2005


From 1995 on, all new material has gone straight online.

I get Gibbon into Burke's Peerage, 2004

The Gibbon family descends from the 10th Earl of Pembroke through his illegitimate son Augustus Reebkomp. Reebkomp's daughter married Arthur Gibbon in 1814, and from them the Gibbon family descends.

Burke's Peerage was first published in 1826, and for 178 years their entry for PEMBROKE excluded the Gibbon line because it was illegitimate.

When Burke's Peerage was re-launched in 1999, they said they would include illegitimate lines, so I contacted them in 2000. Due to my research, in 2004 I managed to get a mention of Gibbon inserted into Burke's Peerage. They had been excluded from it for 178 years.

Here is a screen shot of part of the new entry for PEMBROKE in Burke's Peerage:

Media coverage of CAs

I am quoted in a Nature news feature (copied here) on the paper [Rohde et al., 2004]. I speculate: "Looking at the whole sweep of the Americas, Europe, Asia, right across to Japan, I wouldn't be surprised if we had a common ancestor in the AD years." Note that it slightly misquotes me that: "A single prolific parent can have a vast influence". The original parent doesn't actually have to be prolific. All they need to have is 2 children to be a MRCA.

Media coverage of CAs

  • The Europeans, Radio National, ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), brief interview, 11 Nov, broadcast 15th Dec 2002. The audio link is not working.

  • See a hilarious reference to this in Opinion Journal (copied here) from The Wall Street Journal, 25 Nov 2002, in a discussion of "post-traumatic slavery disorder" and the universal victimhood (and guilt!) of our ancestors. The readers' suggestions here, with their laid-back approach to crimes committed against their ancestors, is exactly how I think people should think about ancestry - instead of nursing ancient grievances like children.

  • The Todd Mundt Show, National Public Radio, 4 minute interview, 6 June, broadcast 28 June 2002. Formerly here: at 28 minutes in.

"The Connection" radio interview, July 2002

Click to play radio interview.
Length 48 minutes.

"The Connection" (see home page), with Dick Gordon, National Public Radio, 2 July 2002, 1 hour live discussion with me and Steve Olson.

I thought this went well, except one point: A caller to the show asked how this related to all of humanity descending from the sons of Noah, or some such nonsense. I did not want to waste the show discussing creationism and biblical literalism, so I just ignored it. Anyway, for the record, no, it does not relate to the sons of Noah after the Flood, since no such people existed and no such event ever took place.

  • RTSP streams
  • RM format
  • MP3 format
  • WMA format

"The Atlantic Monthly" interview, May 2002

I am interviewed in "The Royal We" by Steve Olson, May 2002 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. See also interview with Olson.

Video of Cashel House

Movie of Cashel House.

My wife's 2nd Royal Descent, worked out 1998.

My wife's Royal Descent, worked out 1995.


From 1990 to 1994, I made out family trees on computer offline. I am slowly bringing all of this work online.


From 1983 to 1989, I made out family trees on paper. I am slowly bringing all this work online.

This note in the BLENNERHASSETT entry in [Burkes Irish, 1976] first made me realise in 1985 that my Blennerhassett line might connect to the World family tree.

The 1916 Rising in the movie Michael Collins.
My grandfather was in the GPO in 1916.
Growing up with this is part of what got me interested in researching the family tree.

My family tree

My wife's family tree

Our common family tree

The history of the Thomond motor car

Help on How to read these family trees

Help on Search



Hypertext and Genealogy

Royal Descents of famous people

Common ancestors of all humans

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