My wife is of royal lineage. Anyone who knows her can tell you that; our daughters always tease her about how genteel she is. So, when some years ago we learned her family tree included Henry VIII and a host of other historical la-di-das, none of us was surprised.
I, on the other hand, come from a long line of la-di-nots. Although it’s hard to be sure, since the Teemley patriarch Conrad seems to have been the first of that name; even now, there are only a couple dozen Teemleys in the world (on other planets, who can tell?). We never knew who Conrad’s father was until…
A few months back I took a DNA test and discovered that Conrad Teemley’s father was not, in fact, a Teemley, but a Voigt, and furthermore that Herr Voigt’s wife (cover the children’s ears) was not Conrad’s mother! No, according to Ancestry.com, Conrad’s mother was a fräulein named Private, which in English translates to “None of Your Business.”
“So it seems you not only married a peon,” I told my wife, “but an illegitimate one at that!” I’m still trying to find out who Herr Conrad’s mutter was. She was undoubtedly a very pleasant peasant, but a peasant nonetheless.
Meanwhile, double helix in hand, I turned to my mother’s side, the McLaughlins. More peasants, I assumed, only Irish ones. Even so, I’ve always been proud of my Irish roots. In fact, ever since playing the leprechaun Og in the musical Finian’s Rainbow, I’ve gone by the nickname Og.
For starters, I discovered I’m actually Scotch-Irish. The McLaughlins were Scotts who moved first to Northern Ireland, and then eventually to North America.
But what about before that? I clicked the Ancestry “Hints” tab and suddenly my family tree lit up like a, well, Christmas tree. I learned the McLaughlins, known in the highlands as the MacLachlans, were a centuries-old, castle dwelling clan of…royals! And, to my glee (aye, I said glee, laddie!), it turns out my MacLachlan patriarch went by the nickname Og!
Now, you might quibble, insisting that chieftains, lairds and baronesses aren’t technically royals. Except that the first Lachlan (MacLachlan means “sons of Lachlan”) just happens to have been…the freaking High King of Ireland! (I confess, I added the “freaking;” it seemed appropriate.)
Yes, I’ve turned into a total ancestry-head. But not because I’m a royal. I already knew that. I found that out 43 years ago when my Father, the High King of Heaven told me I was one of his chosen, his royal priesthood, his “special possession,” entitled “to declare the praises of him who called (me) out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). And my wife too, by the way. How about you? I mean…
You can’t get any more la-di-da than that!