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Roger the Conqueror

August 8, 2021

A friend of my brother’s recently told my mother about Ancestry dot com and how she’s discovered she’s a descendent of William the Conqueror. My mother immediately started calling her ‘Your Majesty’. Not out of respect, mind. She was being cheeky. My brother asked the friend if she was sure it was William and not Roger the Conqueror.

My mother, being the competitive type, now wants to know what’s gone on in her family tree. Last week she sent off a DNA sample and I began tracing her ancestry. On her father’s mother’s side it’s Scottish from Ayrshire, hardy people who came to settle in the South Island of New Zealand as farmers in the mid-1800s, part of the mass emigration that followed the Highland Clearances and Highland Potato Famine.

Marion gets excited when we talk about her ancestry and comes up with little nuggets of family information. Apparently, one of her grandmothers was deaf. ‘She used to watch us and smile,’ said Mum. Today I mentioned her grandfather on her father’s side. ‘Oh, him,’ she said. ‘He was a bad tempered old bastard.’

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