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From Charles Martel to Barack Obama and George W Bush – A Family Tree

Posted by RB Kollannur on January 18, 2011

It was an odd footnote on a Wikipedia article about the Family of Barack Obama, which I went through after reading Obama’s “Dreams from My Father” couple of years back, that got me working on this little project. It mentioned Obama and his predecessor, George W Bush, were cousins. 10th cousins twice removed, in fact, but cousins still. Looking further, I came across a citation saying both were descended from Edward I who ruled England from 1272 to 1307. Oddly enough, the first thought that came to my mind seeing that was whether Edward I was descended from Charlemagne. It did not take me long enough it find a reference on Wikipedia of the same. One of the ancestors of Edward I was a daughter from the House of Vermandois, which was an illegitimate line that descended from Charlemagne. Going further I decided to look up at the known descendants of Charles Martel, (Charlemagne’s grandfather, which I later extended to Arnulf of Metz, the earliest known patrilineal ancestor of Charlemagne) who had famously stopped the Muslim conquest of Europe near Tours in 732 AD and found that most of the European monarchs and nobility (and a few Persian Shahs) can claim to be his descendants. Of course, the main source of the data is Wikipedia, so the data remains largely unverified and unconfirmed, though I did refer couple of other websites for references as well.

The project today is woefully incomplete, due to the large amount of data to go through. My main focus anyway was to get a better understanding of second millennium Europe. And of course, make the connection from Charles Martel to Obama and Bush. Though I could not find the connection that made Obama and Bush eleventh cousins and descendants of Edward I, I did come across a connection that made them twenty sixth cousins and descendants of Henry I of England (who in turn was the great great great grandfather of Edward I) on Genealogics.

From Arnulf of Metz to Amice Mainwaring

From Amice Mainwaring to Barack Obama & George W Bush

On the whole it gives an idea of how inter-related the world really is, though not unsurprising since there is sufficient commentary about inter breeding royals (especially in the Spanish House of  Trastamara and its successors, the Spanish Habsburgs, who had the habit of marrying cousins and nieces till they died out of impotence, allegedly, after three centuries). On a side note, it reminds of Dan Simmons Ilium series where there is an Earth lived in by clones of the progeny of a demented ruler. Arnulf of Metz, however, was not demented and in fact was given sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church and served as the Bishop of Metz after having sired two sons (One of them became a Bishop of Metz later). It is also just as likely to have similar lines coming from the English king Alfred the Great or the Saxon leader Widukind given the inter marriages amongst their descendants, though I have not checked.

Like I said earlier, the woefully incomplete file in its current form is available here.

You will need Freemind 0.8 to open the file.

Notable Descendants*

Seventh Century (Updated on 2011-05-01)

Arnulf of Metz – Bishop of Metz (614-629)
Pepin Heristal – Mayor of Palace of Austrasia (680-714); Neustria (687-695); Burgundy (687-695)
Clovis III – King of the Franks (691-695)
Childebert III – King of the Franks (695-711)
Drogo – Mayor of Palace of Burgundy (695-708)
Grimoald II – Mayor of Palace of Neustria (695-714); Burgundy (708-714)

Eighth Century (Updated on 2011-05-01)

Dagobert III – King of the Franks (711-715)
Theudoald – Mayor of Palace of Austrasia (714); Neustria (714); Burgundy (714)
Charles Martel – Mayor of Palace of Austrasia (714-741); Neustria (717-741); Burgundy (717-741)
Carloman – Mayor of Palace of Austrasia (741-747)
Pepin the Short – Mayor of Palace of Austrasia (741-751); Neustria (741-751); Burgundy (741-751), King of the Franks (751-768)
Charlemagne – King of the Franks (768-814); Lombards (774-814), Holy Roman Emperor (800-814)
Carloman I – King of the Franks (768-771)
Pepin – King of Italy (781-810)
Louis I the Pious – King of Aquitaine (781-814); Franks (814-840), Holy Roman Emperor (814-840)
William Gellone – Count of Toulouse (790-811)
Charles the Younger – King of the Franks (800-811)

Ninth Century (Updated on 2011-05-01)

Bernard – King of Italy (810-818)
Pepin I – King of Aquitaine (817-838)
Louis the German – King of Bavaria (817-840); Germany (840-876)
Lothair I – King of Italy (818-840); Franks (840-843); Middle Francia (843-855), Holy Roman Emperor (840-855)
Pepin II – King of Aquitaine (838-851)
Charles the Bald – King of France (843-877); Italy (875-877); Aquitaine (851-855), Holy Roman Emperor (875-877)
Louis II – Holy Roman Emperor (855-875), King of Italy (855-875)
Lothair II – King of Lorraine (855-869)
Charles – King of Lower Burgundy (855-863)
Charles the Child – King of Aquitaine (855-866)
Louis the Stammerer – King of Aquitaine (866-879); France (877-879)
Odo – Count of Orleans (866-888), King of France (888-898)
Berengar I – Margrave of Friuli (874-887), King of Italy (887-889); (894-895); (902-923), Holy Roman Emperor (887-889); (894-895); (899-900); (902-924)
Carloman – King of Bavaria (876-880); Italy (877-879), Holy Roman Emperor (877-879)
Louis the Younger – King of Saxony (876-882); Bavaria (880-882); Lorraine (880-882)
Charles the Fat – King of Swabia (876-882); Italy (879-887); France (884-888); Germany (882-887); Lorraine (882-887); Aquitaine (884-888), Holy Roman Emperor (879-887)
Louis III – King of France (879-882)
Carloman II – King of France (879-884); Aquitaine (879-884)
Baldwin II – Count of Flanders (879-918)
Guy III of Spoleto – Margrave of Camerino (880-894), Duke of Spoleto (883-889), King of Italy (889-894), Holy Roman Emperor (889-894)
Pepin – Count of Vermandois (886-893)
Arnulf of Carinthia – King of Germany (887-899); Italy (896-897); Lorraine (887-895), Holy Roman Emperor (896-897); (898-899)
Louis the Blind – King of Lower Burgundy (887-928); Italy (900-902), Holy Roman Emperor (900-902)
Ranulf – King of Aquitaine (888-890)
Robert I – Count of Orleans (888-923), King of France (922-923)
Rudolph I – King of Upper Burgundy (888-912)
Lambert II of Spoleto – King of Italy (891-894); (895-896); (897-898), Holy Roman Emperor (892-894); (895-896); (897-898)
Ratold – King of Italy (896)
Zwentibold – King of Lorraine (898-900)
Charles the Simple – King of France (898-922); Lorraine (911-923)
Louis the Child – King of Germany (899-911); Lorraine (900-911)




The Peerage

* I have made the file with the view to identify the current descendants of Arnulf of Metz / Charles Martel. So I have accepted certain questionable genealogies if I found a better referenced connection later in the hierarchy like the ancestry of Robert I of France has been included since both he and his subsequent generations married into descendants of Arnulf of Metz. For regnal years, I have relied more on de facto rule, especially in post Carolingian Holy Roman Empire.


7 Responses to “From Charles Martel to Barack Obama and George W Bush – A Family Tree”

  1. Akhil said

    I suppose the blood relations between European royal families in the pre-modern to modern era is fairly well-known and documented, but its interesting to note these connections from the medieval and pre-medieval ages. As always, good job on your continual research and it is, of course, quite hard to confirm the credibility of the vast source of information on the subject as most of it relies on legends and not necessarily on proper records or DNA analysis (which is not really feasible now going so far back). Genealogy is nevertheless an interesting subject, and I’ve always wished I could find out more about my ancestors, but unfortunately, we don’t really have records going back more than a couple of generations or so. I’m quite envious of the Brits here, who have formal tools and govt websites where they can search details about their ancestors going back to atleast a few centuries, thanks to official records of births, marriages and taxation that have been maintained since then.

  2. Arby K said

    Incidentally, my family has done some research on our ancestry till probably early 1800s. A book was published in 1983 and I make my appearance in it as a newly born. Says my ancestors came from Mundur and settled in Kottekad, but my great great great grandfather shifted to Thrissur leaving all his relatives behind (Where they still exist though they go by the surname Tharayil, while the line that shifted to Thrissur goes by Kollannur)

  3. Akhil said

    Hmmmm…interesting. Lucky you !

  4. Clinton said

    I was able to trace my father’s line back to a gg grand-son of Charlamagne (enough g’s?), a man named Guillaume (I) Taillefer, the direct-line ancestor of the Riddle/Riddell/Ridel/Rydale clan. While it means literally nothing in today’s age I do take a lot of pride in my heritage and applaud all who devote the time to such research. Of course, it’s like if you have one royal in your tree, you’ve got hundreds (marrying cousins and the like), but hey, it is what it is, right?

    Anyway, keep at it. Would love to see more.

  5. Riddle said

    Interesting. I was able to trace to Charles Martel on a completely separate line from the Riddle clan (my last name is Riddle, and I was able to trace the name fairly far back). Maybe I’ll find an intersection!

  6. Did I correctly catch that you’re aiming for the current descendants of Arnulf et al? That’s like more than 500 million people, holmes! Virtually everyone of European descent, ie, most of the people in Europe and easily 70% of Americans (& probably more) are descended from Arnulf & Martel via Charlemagne. While that may be true, it’s still something to be able to actually trace each of the 40 or so people that link oneself back to him. For my part, it turns out I’m 11th cousins with Obama, 10th cousins w/ GW Bush, and also 11th cousins, twice removed, with the royal Princes William and Harry. Carrying vaious lines back, it also becomes apparent that at the time of the American Revolution the people over here of English descent were probably as little as 4th to 6th cousins to the “redcoats” not to mention to King George III himself! Anyway, I liked your post, just wanted to offer some context. Carry on!

  7. To be honest I never thought it would be that large when I initially set out couple of years back, but since I realized it I have put it somewhat on the backburner. I update the mindmap (for which I’ve given the link in the post) on the first of every month, if there are any updates. Anyway, I largely rely on secondary data that is already available online. It would be difficult for me coming from the southern tip of India to get connected to people who does this kind of research in Europe and US.

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