Genealogy - KNIGHTs from Continental Europe to England/Ireland, to Philadelphia (PA), to France - Sept. 2018

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Introduction (with Google Translate French/English) -

This KNIGHT family tree contains 5 883 individuals, 3 503 families and 2 892 unique surnames. Only direct ancestors, with a birth/death date identified after 1000 A.C., are considered in this pedigree. However, the names of all their children may be indicated in the notes of their cards.

Many names and dates are in my family archives (my grand grand father's Family Chart), others were found on the web, where many errors (names, dates, etc.) have been propagated unfortunately. So, the information I have found in old books and encyclopedias are privileged (but they are not without errors ...).

I hope you will benefit from the information I present here and please note that the data has been updated Sept. 2018 (with many adds & corrections)

1. Our ancestors from a historical perspective

2. Comments on the difficulties encountered

3. Contributions requested

1. Our ancestors from a historical perspective

The family tree that I have built consists of complete branches (up to eleventh century, and no more for not having too many names and dates uncertain) and others very incomplete.

The identification of people in complete branches was made possible by the fact that they belonged originally to the nobility of Europe in the Middle Age. By their actions, they built the history of Europe which was first written by ecclesiastics in Latin and in French by columnists. Some historians then resumed to complete these stories, in english and french (this language until the nineteenth century, was that spoken by all educated people in Europe)

a) The Midle Age

So, our european ancestors identified, in XI and XII centuries, came from continental Europe, mainly from Normandy (the norman barons) and Brittany, with or in the footsteps of William the Conqueror. Through the interplay of marriages between nobles, we are also from other French regions, (Pays de Loire, Burgundy, Alsace, Savoy, Lorraine, Provence, ...), and also, in smaller numbers, of Spain, Italy, Germany, Poland, Belgium and Holland. {These notions of countries did not exist at that time. There was talk then of territories / lands belonging to this or that noble, itself generally to "honor" and pay contribution to another noble of higher rank (a king, a duke, an earl, ...)}

From the 12th century, most of our noble ancestors, french and from elsewhere in Europe, settled in England and continued to marry among themselves. Some others, in small lines, began to intermarry with English / Irish / Welsh / Scottish-born. So they became all fully "subjects of their gracious Majesties," the kings of England, all of french origin, and became the "English", who then went back and forth to France to occupy some territories in Normandy, Aquitaine, Burgundy, ... in wars for reasons of inheritance against members of french families they came from.

Many famous people, who wrote the history of the european Middle Ages, in both France and England, can be found in our genealogy.

- In France: 11 kings and many Dukes of Normandy, Brittany, Aquitaine, Burgundy, etc.. Besides many earls and barons.

- In England: 7 kings (We are distant cousins ​​of Queen Elizabeth II...) and all of the aristocracy of this kingdom at this period. Thus we have the same roots as all the princes, dukes and earls of the kingdom of England today.

- Many participants in the Crusades, some of whom left their life.

But remain humble, the KNIGHT family is not the only one who can boast such a pedigree !

b) The 16th and 17th centuries

1) The religious conflicts in England and France have had an impact on the evolution of our genealogy because of population movements they led.

In England, King Henry VIII, on the advice of Cromwell, undertaken many reforms in his kingdom which we note, for our part, the creation of the Anglican Church accompanied by the persecution of Catholics who had not yet renounced to obey the Pope and his bishops and the looting and destruction of monasteries and abbeys built by the normans.

Many Christians disagree with the Anglican church and met in new religious movements, such as those of the Puritans and Quakers, who were, also, more or less persecuted. Many of them choose to emigrate for this reason in Ireland and in America.

At about the same time, in France and some other continental European countries, several periods of persecution of Protestants took place. In France, many Protestants (Huguenots) left to settle in Holland, Germany and England for a while. Then they went to America

2) Economic reasons are also causes of population movements that have impacted on our genealogy. First, it was tradition in the family, noble or not, that the elders inherit the bulk of their parents' properties. The other children were then in the unenviable situation. Moreover, misery and famine were common at that time among the people. The discovery of America then opened a new horizon for all those people in religious and / or economically situation more or less desperate.

3) Our Thomas Knight, Sr., who died in Ireland around 1660 most likely came from England because he was puritan and perhaps also for economic reasons. Thomas Knight, Sr. and Jr., are mentionned as "Merchants".

c) The 18th and 19th century

The son, John Knight, left Ireland to America around 1711 very likely, too, for religious reasons, the Quakers were not well accepted in this country, as in England. Economic reasons have motivated probably also his emigration. He was a "brewer" associated with his step-father Henry Badcock in Philadelphia (PA), city in which all first KNIGHTs resided until the departure of Daniel Ridgway to France in 18xx.

As John, our ancestors Henry, Daniel and Robert married girls from quakers families. They (Henry ?) were house and marine carpenters and not enough informations about them can be found. It seems they were often involved in civic life. Daniel died in Valley Forge in 1833 ...

2. Comments on the difficulties encountered

Some names and dates are in our family archives (Family Bible Chart) If the tree is not complete, it is obviously a matter of time. There is still much work to do to move up in the branches still incomplete. But, it becomes increasingly difficult for many reasons: many of our ancestors have left no trace in the history written, the vital records were not always, or simply because all available information has not yet been digitized and posted on the internet.

a) Relevance of information found:

The information available on the web are too often full of errors (names, dates, etc.) especially when they are presented in sites devoted to genealogies supplied by individuals. The same errors have been propagated unfortunately. Also, I preferred the information found:

1) In old books (thanks to Google Books) But the old books have also many contradictions...

2) The encyclopedias (thanks to Wikipedia in english and in french)

3) A site devoted, and very well documented, to the Anglo-Norman nobility frpm the XI to XV th centuries (thanks to the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy)

The LDS Church data base contains, also, many errors because anyone can register its own data, of course unverifiable. But visiting this site for informations not available elsewhere or to overlap with others, remains essential. (thanks to the LDS Church)

For one person you can find, for example, birth dates included in a range of 100 years in America, England or in France ..., the first and last names are variable (Maud, Maude, Mathilde, Matilda or Mathilda) (Thibau De Valentia, Thibou De Valoignes, Thibaud De Valoines, Thibaut De Valognes, the particles (De), (Of) are present or not ...) This is explained by the fact that these names, in the Middle Ages, were often written in Latin, then, Frenchified and finally Anglicized ... Then, the research and the choices are often difficult or impossible !

3. Contributions requested

I'm looking for informations, corrections and adds, specially about :

Thank you to help us

(*) The Bandon Genealogy Site :

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