How Do I Find My Royal Bloodline?
Updated on April 16, 2024
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How Do I Find My Royal Bloodline?

If you’re curious about your heritage and if there’s any royal blood in your ancestry, consider the following before investigating:

Where you’re from (or what you know of where you’re from) – Some regions may not have had royalty or monarchies. Try to consider their equivalent or what they may have considered “royal” or leaders. If you’re not 100% certain of your heritage, an ancestry DNA test and talking to older generations may help.

What you and your older family members already know – Start with what you and your older family members know. If your grandparents or any older generations have ideas about where you might have come from and if you have any interesting things of note in your family history, you can start backtracking from there.

The resources you have access to – If you have older members in your family, library access, or knowledge of online family tree portals, use those to your advantage.

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Once you’ve established all of these points, you can start your investigation. Try the following methods:

Start With Your Own Family Members

Your family members may know more than you do when it comes to your roots.

Talk to your parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents to start getting clues and information.

They may either know direct ancestors, have guesses, or can even refer some resources to you. Older generations in your family may also know more about any nobility or royal ancestry in your family tree that may not be easily found or traced.

Consider Where You and Your Family Grew Up

It’s possible that your family may have moved around and didn’t stay where your ancestors grew up.

Note that many descendants of noble, aristocratic, or royal families are related to New England Yankees, Pennsylvania Quakers, or Tidewater Planters, though these likely aren’t the only connections they have.1

Remember that noble or royal ancestry also likely traveled to the Americas with a bit of money, so moving around wouldn’t be too much of a surprise. So even if your family history or family tree doesn’t reveal origins in these areas, don’t give up hope just yet—royal connections may still be a possibility.

Make sure you also consider any bloodlines ending or last names changing because of a lack of male children to inherit and pass down the family name back then.

Look Into Local Archives and Libraries

If you and your family haven’t really moved much, your local archives may be your best bet. Look into news clippings and other local documents that have been preserved. If you don’t stay where you and your family grew up, libraries may still have a lot of information for you to tap into.

Use Genealogical Websites

Genealogy websites store loads of information that help you find out more about your ancestry.2

Documents like birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, census data, tax documentation, etc. can be found here. There is no 100% guarantee that all of these documents will be on these sites, but it’s still a good place to check.

They may also be able to track if a lineage “stopped” because there were no male children to inherit the family name—this is a good way to look deeper into your lineage.

Talk to a Genealogist or Genealogy Specialist

A genealogist may have access to more resources that you may not normally have. They can help you get connected or even find other documents or specialists on your behalf.

Look Into “Gateway” Ancestors and If You Have Any Connections to Them

Gateway ancestors in America are typically what people call immigrants from Europe who had well-documented, high-ranking families (some were even royals) that settled in the New World.4

They left many new descendants in America when they migrated, so if you have a connection to any gateway ancestor, chances are you also have royal blood.

Because nobility, royalty, and aristocracy had such well-documented family trees, finding a gateway ancestor who had any ties to any of these high-ranking families makes it easy to find the rest of your bloodline.

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They were so meticulous with royal and noble lineage because they had to prove their pedigree, so once you reach any known gateway ancestor, it’s easy to trace from there.

Some descendants of gateway ancestors may not have retained the same last name for a variety of reasons. It’s possible that at some point in the family tree, they only had female children, and these children took on their husbands’ last names. Illegitimate children may also be a possibility.

Look for Clues in Titles or in Latin or French Abbreviations in Your Family Tree

Noble titles such as Earl, Marquis, or Duke are easy giveaways for anyone titled in your family tree.

If not, try to find abbreviations such as “v.m.” which stands for “vita matris,” which implies that their mother was an heiress or noblewoman, among others.1,3

Differentiate Between Royalty, Nobility, and Their Equivalents in Other Regions

Royalty is different from nobility and aristocracy.

The royal family was often the ruling family, while the nobility were the families that surrounded them and also enjoyed high rank, but often didn’t rule unless they married into the royal family.

This distinction may also vary in other regions or even have their own unique equivalents.

Remember that monarchies are also different from empires. Getting this terminology correct can help you narrow and focus your search.

Look Into Heraldic Symbols in Your Family Tree or History

If you have papers on your family and lineage, try to find heraldic symbols. Heraldry was often used to distinguish families and nobles from others. It’s likely that if you share heraldic symbols or imagery with a well-documented noble family, you may share their blood.

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Consider Ancestry DNA Testing

Ancestry DNA testing may help you better determine where you came from and give you a clearer picture of your heritage. This can give you clues on where to start looking.

You may also be surprised and find long-lost family members via genetic testing.

It’s natural to wonder if there’s anything interesting hidden deep in your family tree. After all, Gary Boyd Roberts, author of “The Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants,” claims that a huge chunk of people in the Americas—almost 60%—are descended from royalty somehow.1

Once you’re able to track down an ancestor with any title or nobility, it’s pretty easy from there, as most royals or nobles had very extensively documented family trees that they kept safe for the purposes of inheritance and proving their status.

Many of those who sailed to America from Europe also eventually settled, creating families of their own and extensions of those families that set up roots in certain areas and professions.

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Understanding Royal Ancestry

A royal, noble, or even aristocratic bloodline seems a faraway concept and something that you wouldn’t associate with modern times outside of contemporary royal families. However, a lot of modern royalty have roots in the Old World and significant record-keeping to prove it.

Not only that, but many people still have royal or noble blood dating back generations and don’t even know it because of lost documentation.

Not all families who have noble, royal, or aristocratic blood have retained the last name or even the generational wealth, making it seem even more impossible. However, it’s possible that they were illegitimate children, their last names changed, or even papers were lost when moving around and settling in new areas.

What Does It Mean to Have a Royal Bloodline?

Having a royal, noble, or aristocratic bloodline means that you had an ancestor who was part of high society. It’s possible that they were in wealthy, titled families, ennobled, or even outright part of a royal family.

This, of course, depended on the country or region they belonged to. There were monarchies all over the world and even more iterations and equivalents in other regions.

In the United States, the most common royal bloodlines are from Europe.

Those who brought their royal bloodlines to the Americas were often younger children of European royalty or nobility who had no chance of inheriting their family’s wealth or name, so they migrated to the New World to settle there.5

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However, there are also direct-line descendants from other regions and countries who live in the US. For example, one in 200 men worldwide is said to have some relation to Gengis Khan (with about 16 million people alone in Central Asia also sharing this genetic similarity).6

Despite most of the contributors to modern royal bloodlines being European, some studies show that many in the New World are considered blue-blooded, even those with African or Native American ancestry.7

This is principally because of the mixing of the populations and the complex history of slavery in the US, among other reasons.

You don’t necessarily have to be a “legitimate” or recognized descendant to acknowledge your royal blood. Illegitimate children still carry that blood, while royals or nobility marrying commoners is also becoming more common (like Prince William and Kate Middleton of the British Royal Family). So, even marrying into a royal or noble family ties you to them.

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Source: 123rf

Why is Tracing Royal Ancestry Significant?

Aside from fulfilling your own personal curiosity about your lineage, tracing royal or noble ancestry is significant because of the following:

Genealogical research and science can benefit from analyzing your DNA if you’re of royal or noble ancestry, as they can establish further matches via your DNA sequences

More comprehensive documentation of family trees and legacy

Opportunities for meeting others who share similar bloodline ancestry via lineage societies and organizations that continue to recognize those with connections to royal forebears and royal lines

Potential proof for any inheritance or legal matters, in case you can prove a match to anyone in that bloodline

Remember that while tracing family lineage and looking into the past can be fun, it can also become a sensitive topic when faced with the ethics of how those bloodlines came to be. Consult a geneticist, genetic counselor, or any genetic expert to be absolutely sure when you do your research in case anything sensitive comes up.

Have People Discovered Royal Lineage Before?

Yes. Plenty of people have. Whether it was on their own, through family historians, or with the help of geneticists, they were able to make royal connections.

Some stories have been fantastic. One man helped prove that the remains found under a car park in Leicester were King Richard III through his DNA—and that’s how he found out he had royal blood.9

Another man was thrust into the royal spotlight when his DNA test revealed he was a prince—he was immediately crowned after.10

Interestingly enough, all 46 presidents of the US have royal European ancestry, with about 14 of them sharing King Edward I as their forefather.8

Many of the US presidents also have genetic overlaps with each other and even Charlemagne, the first king of the Franks, and his royal family.

Former president Barack Obama is actually related to the British Royal Family, as he’s Queen Elizabeth II’s second cousin twice removed.11 Royal connections aren’t as rare as they seem.

Other stories have been more tame, with many just confirming a distant relation. Most of these discoveries rarely come with claims to thrones or even inheritance, but it’s still a fascinating journey to what always seemed like such a foreign concept to their own family history, like royalty.

Initiate Your Royal Ancestry Research

In order to fill out your family tree further and better understand your family history, you want to make sure you conduct proper research and have the right tools.

Noble and royal ancestry isn’t an everyday discovery, so you must ensure you properly equip yourself with what you need.

Gather Initial Information

When gathering information, consider several sources:

Your own family, especially older relatives who may have better ideas of any royal connection deep into your lineage

Genealogy websites that have documents going way back to see if any of your ancestors descended from royalty

Books and research on gateway ancestors or immigrants who settled in the Americas from former (or even current) monarchies

Local libraries or the libraries where your family used to live if you moved away

These sources may give you the best places to start when looking into your family history. A genetics expert may also be able to point you in the right direction, especially if you collate any and all family-related information for them to look into.

Identify Potential Royal Connections

If you can trace your ancestry back to any immigrant who settled in the Americas, you may be able to trace royal ancestry. This is because many of those who settled in the New World came from nobility and had royal blood.

A lot of European monarchs sought out the Americas, especially the younger children of high-ranking families who stood to gain little from their inheritance since they were not the firstborn children.

Instead, many of these European aristocrats looked to the Americas and settled there. From there, they made their own families.

These European immigrants are often referred to as “gateway” ancestors, as finding your connection to them opens up a gateway into well-documented royal family trees. Once you find your gateway ancestor, tracing any royal connection becomes easy.

One way to do this is to look at your family tree and identify any royal or noble titles or abbreviations, like the following:









Research Tools and Resources

Tons of databases and archives are both online and physically available.

Here is a breakdown of the best genealogy websites that have lots of online sources for you to look at, from an article we did on them:

Cost of genealogy researchStarts at $21.99 per monthFreeStarts at $7.42 per monthStarts at $13.33 per monthStarts at $2,950
Free trial14 daysN/A14 days7 daysNo
Historical record database40 billion records30 billion records19.5 billion records8 billion recordsThe Family History Library and independent research from global archives
Create your own family treeYesYesYesYesProvided by genealogists
Upload a family treeYesYesYesYesNo
Automated record searchesYesNoYesYesResearch performed by genealogists
Connects you to possible relativesYesYesYesYesResearch performed by genealogists

Some other great databases and archives are:

Library of Congress

American Ancestors by the New England Historic Genealogical Society

Digital State Archives

National Genealogical Society

Denver Public Library

If you have a local library and a church (especially one that has kept church records) that has been around a long time where you live, they can be helpful too. Church records can be reliable sources, as they often kept track of families that lived in the area.

Historical records in your local libraries may also only exist in that area, so make sure you explore those, too.

DNA Testing and Royal Lineage

DNA tests can help you determine potential royal ancestry by doing the following:

Estimating where your ancestors may have lived – If you have suspicions about any European royal ancestry in particular, finding out where your ancestors may have originated from can help you pinpoint which monarchy to look at

Matching DNA sequences with already existing/known relatives or descendants of royals – If there are living descendants of royal lines, they can probably match your DNA to theirs and establish royal blood.

Finding royal female ancestors with mtDNA testing – If you use a mitochondrial DNA test, you may be able to find female royal ancestors in your lineage.

Finding royal female ancestors with mtDNA testing – If you use a mitochondrial DNA test, you may be able to find female royal ancestors in your lineage.

Finding royal male ancestors with Y-chromosome testing – Similar to mtDNA testing, Y-chromosome testing can reveal male ancestors with royal blood in your lineage.

DNA testing can also match your DNA sequences with those who come from a certain region, essentially finding where you’re from from a heritage perspective.

For example, it’s possible that Dutch royalty had a certain sequence unique to them, namely, where they came from and the genes they inherited in their bloodline. If you have the same or similar sequences, it can be a big clue about your origins.

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Commonly Asked Questions About Finding Royal Ancestors

Here are some of the most common questions about finding royal ancestry in your lineage.

How Far Back Can Royal Bloodlines Be Traced?

It depends on how well-documented the bloodlines are. Some royal bloodlines have spanned over a millennium, thanks to how thorough their family historians were and still are today.

For example, the British Royal Family can be traced back all the way to the 9th century—well over 1,200 years and 37 generations. Queen Elizabeth II is descended from William the Conqueror, Alfred the Great, and Mary, Queen of Scots.

Tracing these bloodlines can be affected by how well or poorly documents are preserved and archived. If documentation is good and a family is careful with how they store and cite their archives, bloodlines can be easily traced.

If there are no preservation efforts, it can be more difficult. Some family trees may even be lost to poor record-keeping.

Is It Possible to Be Descended from Royalty?

Yes, it’s absolutely possible. In fact, many in the United States (and the Americas in general) have proven to have links to European monarchs and nobility.

What is the Longest-Lasting Royal Bloodline in the World?

Beyond the most well-known royal bloodline, the British Royal Family, here are some of the longest-lasting royal bloodlines:

The Japanese Imperial Family – This is the longest-running monarchy in the world. Their lineage dates back to 660 BC and is tied very closely to their religious beliefs. They believe their sun god, Amaterasu, bestowed the imperial regalia to her grandson, and that lineage has remained monarchs since.

The Danish Monarchy – The Danish monarchy spans over 1,000 years, with the earliest record dating back to 958 AD. It traces its roots back to Viking kings.

The Moroccan Monarchy – The Moroccan Monarchy also dates back several centuries, with the current line spanning back to 1882.

How Do You Know If You Have Royal Blood?

Knowing you have royal blood may require some research on your part, but if you’re able to trace a noble or royal in your family history, you probably have royal blood.

While most instances of finding out you have royalty in your lineage don’t really do much, it’s still a cool discovery to make. For some, they can join lineage societies that focus on honoring their heritage.

Updated on April 16, 2024
Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad
Content Contributor
Angela is a full-time digital content manager and editor for Know Your DNA. She also contributes freelance articles to several local and international websites when she has the time. She's always been a voracious believer in finding the truth and ensuring the science is sound.