How the author was able to trace her maternal lines to the Arthurian Era, using DNA & Genealogy.
King Arthur's Black Descendants
By Anita L. Wills
Ms. Wills is a writer, researcher, and genealogist, and author of the book, Notes and Documents of Free Persons of Color: Colonial Virginia, 1650-1850 (March 2003).
Although the newest movie about King Arthur is fiction, research and documentation of my family history prove it is based on fact. I now have a personal interest in the Arturian period, and the legends of King Arthur and his Knights. After many years of piecing together my family history, one drop of DNA put it all together. In April of 2003, I received the results of my maternal line DNA test.
The results proved my ancestry from Colonial Virginia, through Wales, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and Morocco. The DNA covers a span of over 45,000 years, and has a trail that spreads all over Europe. This one test traced my main ancestry back 10,000 years, and a subgroup (T2), 45,000 years.
The group my ancestors and I are associated with is T (Tara), and is believed to have entered Europe 10,000 years ago. According to results from this and other DNA tests, the group entered from the Iberian Peninsula. The DNA chart shows the countries my DNA, "cousins" were located in, Wales (Britain), Germany, and Switzerland, the Basque region of Spain, and the Berbers of North Africa.
Once I shared my results with my family, a maternal cousin, once removed, took a similar test. She is my mother's first cousin, and her test was more definitive than my own. Her test proved our connection to the Berbers of North Africa, who now occupy areas of Morocco and Libya. The test found DNA "cousins" in the Basque region of Spain. Another DNA test was taken by a male cousin and the DNA was again found in the Basque region of Spain and in the Berbers of North Africa. From the Lewis family Pedigree charts it appears that the male and female line entered Spain from North Africa together.
The Iberian Peninsula consists of modern-day Spain and Portugal. If the pedigree charts are accurate, my male and female lines appear in Wales at different times. According to family pedigree charts, the females are documented in Wales by 350 AD, and the male line by 400 AD. The female lines were connected to the Votadini Tribe of Northern Wales, as were the males. Eventually they settled in Northern Wales, and their descendants continue to occupy that region.
The female, paternal names (according to the Lewis of Llangatock pedigree) include Tacitus (Roman Prefect), Paternus, (of the Red Cloak), and Wledig (Conquered North West Wales, ca. 400 AD, and established Royal Line). The females include Genillin - Janet, daughter of Prince, later Sir Howell of Caerleon; Idris - Ann, Daughter of Moriddig Warwyn; and Ieuan Gwaldus, daughter of Gruffud ap Madog, Great Grandson of Jestyn ap Gwrgan, last King of Glamorgan.
In my direct male line (from the pedigree of Lewis of Abernant Bychan - Cardiganshire Wales), the first recorded male member in Britain, is Coelius, who enters around 400 AD.
In this same group is Uther Pendragon, the purported father of King Arthur, and Aurelius Ambrosius, who entered around 466 AD. It appears from the chart that Uther and Ambrosius are brothers. Marchudd, founder of the 8th Noble Tribes, is descended in line from Yspwys, as are Kings Henry VII & VIII, as well as Queen Elizabeth I. They are descended through their paternal line according to P. Bartrum's Welsh Pedigree. Another purported descendant of Marchudd is Ednywain (Head of one of the 15 Noble Tribes), through his paternal line.
The Kingdom of Wales sits between England, Scotland, and Ireland. The Votadini are linked to the Romans. When the Romans ruled Britain, the Votadini acted as police, protecting their Colony. When the Romans withdrew, the tribe was left unprotected. From the north they were under threat from the Picts, from the west, the Irish, and from the east, the Angles.
According to Lewis family historians, the Votadini joined forces with King Arthur, agreeing to fight against Ireland and the invaders from the north. At the request of Ambrosius, they were rewarded with Northern Wales. This would have been around the time of King Arthur, and gives credence to the belief that (if he existed) he was part of this tribe. The major tribes that comprised Arthurian England were the Romans, Saxons, Angles, Celts, and Votadini.
It was around this time that the Gwynned family Coat-of-Arms came into being. Gwynned became the Dragon, and they were referred to as the Dragons of Britain or the Head Dragons. In those days a Dragon was described as a fierce person, or a heavily armed warrior. The adaptation of the Dragon as an emblem in Gwynned coincides with the arrival of the Votadini who where definitely warriors. In the Lewis Coat of Arms and family Crest, a Dragon is prominently displayed.
The descendants of Llewelyn and Lewis continue to occupy Cardiganshire, LLangatock, Crickhowell, Brecon, and Monmouthshire Wales. After the Tudors' reign, the Stewarts ascended the throne, and were eventually replaced by the House of Windsor. The current Queen Elizabeth is descended from the House of Windsor. Princess Diana was of Welsh descent and was also in descent from the House of Windsor.
My direct ancestor, Charles Lewis, as his father before him (John Lewis), was a seaman in the Revolutionary War based in Fredericksburg Virginia. He and his brother Ambrose served as seamen and colonial soldiers. The ship they served on was built by Fielding Lewis, under the commission of George Washington, and given the name, Dragon, by Fielding Lewis. George Washington's sister, Betty, was married to Fielding Lewis. The Lewises of Warner Hall (also related to the current governor of Virginia), are related on my maternal side.
The Warner and Lewis gravesites in Gloucestor County Virginia, contain the remains of Colonial John Lewis, who was married to Elizabeth Warner, both of whom are my direct ancestors. The site was often visited by Queen Elizabeth as an acknowledgement that those buried there are descendants of the Royal Family.
There were two John Lewises who left Wales in the 1600's and settled in Virginia. As fate would have it, they are both my forbearers. From my female DNA test, I am connected to John Lewis, who came to Virginia around 1650 and died 1657. His son, John Lewis, married into the Warner family, and were the forebearers of my female Lewis ancestor (Susannah).
In my male line, a John Lewis, who was the father of Zachary Lewis, settled in Gloucester County Virginia, around 1650 and died 1670 (are you thoroughly confused yet?). Zachary's son, John Lewis, is the father of my ancestor, Charles Lewis. (Actually, I could, and did, write a book about my family's forebears.) The female connections have to do with my ancestor Charles's wife, who was called Hannah (Susannah). According to my DNA test Susannah's DNA makeup was 87 percent European, 8 percent Native, and 5 percent African. She would be considered white by todays standards, but was a mulatto in Colonial Virginia.
Susannah is my direct female line, and her ancestors were of Welsh descent. They are also related to Britain's Royal family from the Tudors to the House of Windsor.
Although the King Arthur movie is fictionalized my research is factual. The DNA results were icing on the cake, after years of researching my family history. King Arthur and his Knights may indeed be legends, but they are now an integral part of my family history. In my case, DNA and genealogy helped prove a line that was broken hundreds of years ago.
For more information about my family history go to: http://www.lulu.com/leboudin, site for Notes And Documents of Free Persons of Color, or email alani2.yahoo.com.