Forty-Eight Generations and a Birth Announcement

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Somewhere in the deep recesses of history, God told man to be fruitful and multiply: to fill the earth.

In the early 6th Century, when Bishop (later, Saint) Arnulf of Metz (582–640) stepped into verifiable history, claiming a possibly-mythical ancestry of Roman senators and Merovingian princesses, the population of Europe stood at perhaps 25 million. Arnulf begat Ansegisel (born c. 602), who begat Pippin the Middle, Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia, who begat Charles Martel, who saved Christendom from the Moors at Tours, in 732. Charles begat Pepin the Short, who reigned (752-68) as King of the Franks.

Pepin begat Charlemagne, King of the Franks from 768, and Emperor of the Romans, from 800 to his death. For his reforms, Charlemagne has been called the Father of Europe, but he was also, biologically, ancestor to every royal dynasty that later inhabited the continent. It is estimated that more than half the population of Europe—maybe fifteen million people—lived in his realms. He personally sired 20 children, by eight women, but conservatively, if we suppose that his progeny only doubled in each successive generation, had there been no intermarriage, his living descendents today would be triple the current population of earth.

Charlemagne begat Louis the Pious (778 – 840), King of the Franks and Holy Roman Emperor, whose daughter Gisela (820 – 874) was likely married to Henry of Franconia and bore Ingeltrude, whose a son Berengar ruled as lord of Rennes until both his land and his daughter were captured by the Viking chieftain Rollo (Old Norse, Hrólfr, c. 870 – c. 932). Poppa converted her husband to Christianity (though Viking habits die hard), and their descendents were known as the Dukes of Normandy: William I Longsword (893-942) begat Richard I the Fearless (933-996), who begat Richard II the Good (970-1026), who begat Richard III (997-1027), who begat Robert I, called variously “the Magnificent” or “the Devil” (1000-1035), who begat William II the Bastard (c. 1028-1087), who shed that moniker at the Battle of Hastings, in 1066, becoming William I the Conqueror, King of the English.

England, with perhaps a million souls at the conquest, grew to as many as seven million within three centuries. A warming trend brought longer growing seasons. Better ploughs and the horse collar allowed more land to be farmed. The rise of powerful kingdoms brought relative stability.

William begat Henry I (c. 1068-1135), whose daughter Matilda (1102-1167) was briefly Empress of the Holy Roman Empire. When her father died, she attempted to rule England in her own right, but was more successful in passing the throne to her son Henry II Plantagenet (1133-1189).

Henry acknowledged paternity of William Longespee (1176-1226), whose daughter Ida (1210-1269) bore Beatrice de Beauchamp (1242-1285), who bore Maud Fitz Thomas (1265- 1329), who bore Ada de Botetourt (c. 1288-1349), who bore Maud de St Philibert (1327-1360). Even while the Black Plague was ravaging Europe, claiming 40% of the population of Germany, 50% of Provence, and 70% of Tuscany, this Maud bore Maud Trussell (1340-1369), who bore Maud Matilda Hastang (1358-c. 1409), each woman married to a knight. Maud and her husband, Sir Ralph (1355-1410) brought forth the first Sir Humphrey Stafford (1384-1419), whose death in France just weeks after the victory at Rouen may have been due to wounds in the battle, but not before he sired a second Sir Humphrey (1400-1450), who sired a third (1426-1486), who sired a fourth (1429-1486), who sired a fifth (1497-1540), whose daughter Eleanor (c. 1545-1608) bore Stafford Barlowe (c. 1570-1638), “a Gentleman of Lutterworth.”

Stafford’s daughter Audrey (1603-1676) first bore a son, Christopher Almy (1632-1713), and then both generations migrated to America, settling in Rhode Island. He begat Elizabeth Almy (1663-1712), who bore Rebecca Morris (1697-1749), who married John Chamberlain, and moved to New Jersey. It is believed the Chamberlains owned slaves. Their son Noah (1760-1840) served in the Revolutionary War.

Noah begat John C. Chamberlain (1812-1866), who begat Samuel L. Chamberlain (1842-1914), who fought with an Ohio regiment in the Civil War, and then walked out on a wife and daughter, Anna Margaret Chamberlain (1875-1956), who I remember meeting once, when I was very small. Anna hailed from Scotch ancestry. The population of Europe doubled during the 18th Century, and did so again in the 19th. At that time, 70 million people came to America, both to the United States, and to places like Brazil.

Anna Chamberlain married Thomas Boyer Reef Kelley and bore Ruth Ella Kelley (1899-1974). They tried to make a go of it on the Dakota prairie, but gave up and moved to be near the shipyards in Washington. Ruth married Howard Vincent Carroll (b. New York, 1898). He was of recent Irish and German extraction, refugees of the Potato Famine. Today, 6.2 million Irish live in Ireland, and 80 million live somewhere else. Howard left Ruth with two sons, including Donald, who has been everything a son could want in a father. Donald begat Brian, who teaches school and blogs on Saturdays. Brian begat Matthew, who has been everything a father could want in a son, and Matthew—already with two wonderful sons—begat Eliezer Carroll, who was born yesterday, in Goiania, Goiás, Brazil.

Welcome, Eliezer, to the family. We are saints and devils, counts and no-counts. There are not quite 7 billion of us. Help take care of the place, be fruitful, and live long.

Photo by his father
Thank-yous to Sally Carroll, Devin Carroll, and Wikipedia for contributing information to these thoughts.


That's one amazing birth announcement/welcome for the newest Carroll addition. Brian, Are you this expansive at Thanksgiving Dinner prayers? Eliezer is a beauty; precious precious picture. Well done Sally and Devin! Welcome Eliezer to this crazy world. & Congratulations Grandma and Grandpa Carroll!

Irish Blessing Prayer - for you Eliezer
May you always have
A sunbeam to warm you
Good luck to charm you
And a sheltering angel
So nothing can harm you
Laughter to cheer you
Faithful friends near you
And whenever you pray
Heaven to hear you

Diana said...
February 20, 2011 at 7:04 PM  

Only a history teacher would come up with a birth announcement like that! I love it! Welcome to the world, Eliezer! May your life me long and filled with peace and health! May you be a blessing and a joy to those around you!

March 13, 2011 at 4:17 PM  

Only a history teacher would come up with a birth announcement like that! I love it! Welcome to the world, Eliezer! May your life me long and filled with peace and health! May you be a blessing and a joy to those around you!

March 13, 2011 at 4:17 PM  

That is an awesome birth announcement. It is definitely one that people will remember. Congratulations and Welcome to the world Eliezer!

March 14, 2011 at 11:11 PM  

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