Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year

I just wanted to wish you all a happy New Year!

Tying up news of my books over the year, there have been a few nice mentions of my work.

BBC History magazine have included my quiz on the queens of England as one of their top 10 quizzes of 2014. You can read more here. My friend, Lauren Mackay's quiz on the six wives of Henry VIII is also included and thoroughly enjoyable.

The Boleyn Women was included as one of Anne Boleyn: From Queen to History's top 10 history books of the year: 'A wonderful, captivating and thoroughly enjoyable book'. You can read more here.

Finally, the History of Royal Women blog published a nice review of Elfrida just before Christmas: 'this book is very well researched and finally shows us Elfrida as the queen she really was'. You can read the full review here.

Otherwise, I think that's it for 2014 - five minutes left until 2015 here in the UK!

Tudor Times - A new Tudor and Stuart website

The excellent Tudor Times website went live earlier this month. It's a fantastic site, full of well researched and reliable information on the period. The first person of the month is Catherine Parr, who I have previously written a biography on. I am also currently researching her later life for my new book, The Seymour Scandal, which will be published by Head of Zeus in the UK and Pegasus in the US. Alison Weir very kindly referred to my book in her guest article on the scandal (here).

You can also read my guest article on Tudor Church Monuments (here). Church monuments are central to my academic research into the Blount family, with the monuments, and other material culture, used as a source.

There are some fascinating articles coming up over at Tudor Times and I recommend that you have a look!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

150 Essential Hints and Tips

To mark the 150th issue of the fantastic Your Family Tree magazine, I wrote a cover feature on 150 Essential Hints and Tips. If you are just starting out in your family history research or are looking to go back further, take a look at this article. There are suggestions for sources going right back to the pre-Conquest period.

Richard III's DNA

The team at Leicester University have released some very interesting findings regarding Richard III's DNA. Although the maternal line is unbroken up to the present day, the male line of descent from Edward III has a major issue. Both Richard III and the current day Somerset family should share the same Y chromosome, since they are believed to have been direct male line descendants of Edward III (with the Y Chromosome passed down intact from father and son). However, they don't. This means that either in Richard III's immediate ancestry or in the Beaufort (who became the Somersets) family, someone was the not the son of their purported father - someone was illegitimate.

It's unclear who this was and impossible to speculate. It also doesn't affect the current royal family or the Tudor dynasty. For it to affect the Tudors, John of Gaunt or his immediate Beaufort descendants would have needed to be illegitimate. Even if this was the case, Henry VII claimed through conquest and marriage and his wife, Elizabeth of York, was a descendant of Edward III (unless the illegitimacy lay in the Yorkist line). Her daughter, Margaret Tudor, who is the ancestress of the current royal family therefore carried her descent.

You can read more about it in an interesting article in the Daily Telegraph in which I am quoted.