Friday, June 6, 2008

When I began researching my family’s genealogy, I had no idea that I would ever find any information beyond a few generations. I figured that the memory of my grandparents would be about as far as I could go into the past. I have been amazed at how far I have gone.

I began thinking I might have some ancestors who came through Ellis Island and all the romance that goes with that, which we are taught about in school. Maybe I might have some ancestors who came here from Europe during either WWI or WWII.

My ancestors have all been here far longer than that. Most of them were here before the Revolutionary War and some were here in the 1600’s.

Once you get back that far, every generation you find brings more amazement. I began finding many family names, which were noble family names and these led to royal families.

I became interested in the Merovingian lineages, which were written about in the Holy Blood Holy Grail book and the resultant movie The Da Vinci Code. I don’t think that I was alone in this interest, given the many documentaries on the History Channel and The National Geographic Channel.

What was surprising to me was being directly descended from the families mentioned in these books, movies and shows. My husband is also descended from them and this piqued my curiosity further. If there is any significance to these lineages, then my children have double, triple, quadruple and more descents and could be very affected by this.

I do not as yet know where this research will lead me, but at present, I do not believe that there are descendants of Jesus Christ. However, I do believe there is some higher plan that has been in effect for many millennia.

I will jump right into the midst of things, and relate everything I can find out about William/Guillaum Gellone. The first place I came across his name, it meant nothing to me. I have found that I descend from him, which changes my perspective.

William Gellone was the son of a man named Thierry/Theodoric/Machir/Makir and some sources also name him Natroni.

If no source can agree on Theirry’s name, I do not know if it is possible to accurately show his parentage.

Some sources say Thierry was the son of Claribert (Herbert) I Count of Leon and his wife Bertrada.

Claribert was the son of Thierry III and Clotilda. Thierry III descended directly from Merovec, from which the term Merovingian derives. His wife Clotilde descended from Merovec’s brother, Sigimaerus I on her father’s side. They were in effect, of the same bloodline. If this is the correct parentage for Thierry, who was the father of William of Gellone, it is traceable back through a Jewish ancestor.

Merovec and Sigimaerus had a great grandmother who was Jewish. Supposedly she descends from a son of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, named Joseph. I am not buying into that theory, but it is possible that she was Jewish. She may have even been a niece of Jesus, through one of his brothers.

The other opinion is that Machir was sent to the Narbonne area of France in order to rid the ruler of Bagdad of an element of descension and make an ally of France. Arthur J. Zuckerman, in his book, identifies Machir with Natronai and says he was the rightful Exilarch in Babylon, but had been deposed. Thus sending him to Narbonne and setting him up in his own domain, would have pascified him. Some others such as Athol Bloomer, say that while Machir was an Exilarch, he was not Natronai.

Regardless of who Thierry/Machir descended from, his wife Auda was the daughter of Charles Martel and aunt of Charlemagne. Thierry married into a very powerful family.
What makes William Gellon so interesting? Firstly it is the things which have been written about him.

He is referred to as Saint William of Gellon and his day is traditionally observed on May 28. He was born in Northern France in 755, and died 812 or 814. He is known as Guilhem, Guillaume d'Orange, Guillaume Fierabrace, and the Marquis au court nez. He was the second count of Toulouse from 790 until his replacement in 811.

He is the hero of the Chanson de Guillaume, an early chanson de geste, and of several later sequels, which were categorized by thirteenth-century poets as the geste of Garin de Monglane. Another early product of oral traditions about William is a Latin Vita ("Biography"), written before the 11th century, according to Jean Mabillon, or during the 11th century according to the Bollandist Godfrey Henschen.

As a close relative he was a trusted courtier and it is said that after being made count of Toulouse, Charlemage gave his son Louis into his care. It was common during the middle ages for noble families to send their sons to other trusted families for training in the art of war and chivalry. William must have been well trusted to have the care of the young prince.

In 793 Hisham I and his Muslim army of 100,000 invaded Asturius and Languedoc, penetrating as far as Narbonne. William defeated them, but was later defeated himself at river Orbieux, at Villedaigne
He founded a monastery at Gellone in 804,

which is now called Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. It is near Lodève in the diocese of Maguelonne, and dedicated it to Saint Benedict of Aniane, whose monastery was nearby. He retired as a monk there in 806 where he died on the 28th of May 812 (or 814). His feast is on that date.
He gave o the monastery a piece of the true cross,which he had received from Charlemagne. Charlemagne reportedly wept at his death. According to legend, the bells of Orange rang by themselves when he died.

There are 24 chansons-de-geste written about him. One of them tells about his father and he is referred to as Aymeri of Narbonne in it. Yet another name for William’s parent.
He was by all evidence, a remarkable man.

Now,to return to my personal interest in him. William Gellone and his wife Kunigunda, had a daughter named Cunnigundis Des Francs. She married Bernard Roy De Italie. They in turn had a son named Pepin II who with his wife had a daughter named Cunigunde des Francs. She married Wido Des Senlis and also Berengar de Bayeaux. Sources differ as to who her daughter Poppa was fathered by. Poppa married Rolf Ragnvaldsson nd had Adele (Gerloc) of Normandy who married William Guillaume I Duke of Aquitaine

Their daughter Adela married Hugh Capet, King of France Rolf Ragnvaldsson was Duke of Normandy

I have several lines of descent through these Capetian kings and the Norman Dukes.
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