“My Ancestors were Normans” – Oh really? Prove it!

“My Ancestors were Normans” – Oh really? Prove it!

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by Dr. Bruce Durie

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“My Ancestors were Normans” – Oh really? Prove it!


Just about every genealogical conversations at some point includes the following statement: Of course, my ancestors came to Britain with William the Conqueror. It is possible to get the impression that, before the Norman Conquest that began on October 14, 1066, there was hardly anyone in Britain at all, and certainly no-one worth being descended from. This ignores some salient points: 1. The Companions of the Conqueror were at most about 5,000-12,000 strong; most of them simple soldiers rather than anyone knighted or noble and worthy of mention; 2. In any case, we only know, reliably, the names of about 20 Companions of the Conqueror, and only some 15 have proven descendants in the present day - possibly only two with the original surname; 3. However, more Normans turned up in the decades after the Battle of Hastings, were given land, and had families. So how do you prove Norman ancestry? And what happened to the Normans in Scotland, Wales and Ireland? Join Dr Bruce Durie on a canter through the genealogy of Norman ancestors.


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Presenter: Dr. Bruce Durie

Dr. Bruce Durie is considered one of Scotland's top genealogists, with an international reputation. He is perhaps best known for his eight-year BBC radio series, “Digging Up Your Roots” and “A House with A Past”, and he has authored over 30 books, including the best-selling “Scottish Genealogy” now in its 4th edition. His background is in medicine and neuropharmacology, as well as holding a doctoral degree in history and education.
Bruce founded, delivered and ran the much-acclaimed Postgraduate Program in Genealogical Studies at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, including a full-time, online, one-year Masters Genealogical Studies programme. He now teaches courses on Genealogy, Documents and Heraldry as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.
He is well known for speaking, lecturing and presenting workshops on various aspects of Scottish genealogy, heraldry, history and culture worldwide but particularly in the UK, USA and Canada.
His latest book is "Your Scottish-American Ancestry" and forthcoming are:
  • "Celt-ish: Uncovering the Great 'Celtic' Conspiracy" (The History Press, late 2019/early 2020)
  • “The American Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of Arbroath” (early 2020)

(see www.brucedurie.co.uk/books.html)


Other honours and awards:

  • Shennachie (Genealogist and Historian) to the Chief of Durie
  • Elected to the prestigious Académie Internationale de Généalogie (the only member from Scotland)
  • Recently appointed Chartered Biologist (CBiol) by the Royal Biological Society for his work on the public understanding of Genetic Genealogy
  • Founding Member of the Register of Qualified Genealogists (www.qualifiedgenealogists.org)
  • Founding Member of the Editorial Board of two scholarly, peer-reviewed journals, Genealogy (www.mdpi.com/journal/genealogy) and The Journal of Genealogy and Family History (www.qualifiedgenealogists.org/ojs)
  • Fulbright Senior Scottish Studies Scholar 2016, spending eight months researching “Scottish Migration into Colonial America” at St Andrews University, Laurinburg, North Carolina, USA
  • Right of Audience at the Court of the Lord Lyon

More info at: www.brucedurie.co.uk

Dr. Bruce Durie