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Subject: The most important battle in history from a personal perspective rss

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Steve Pole

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For me this is the little known Battle of Sedgemoor (1685). It was the battle which finally put pay to the Duke of Monmouth's attempt to overthrow the recently crowned James II.

Why so important? One of my direct ancestors was in the lead rebel unit which was shot to pieces by the Royalist artillery. Not only did he survive that carnage; but, he also managed to stay out of the clutches of the Royalist troops who, following the battle, scoured the countryside for rebels and brought them before Judge Jeffreys "Bloody Assizes". Had he not have survived I would never have been which is important to me, although I can see why it might not be quite so important to anyone else.

Funnily enough, historians who write about the battle tend not to mention my ancestor's escape, or my ancestor at all for that matter. Instead they focus upon some chap called Churchill who, apparently, was one of the Royalist commanders. I understand he went in to make quite a name for himself.
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Eric Walters
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My wife is directly related to that "some chap" who went on to make quite a name for himself!
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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My mother once excitedly showed me that one branch of my ancestors which is English traces its line back to William the Conqueror. I did not have the heart to tell her that after so much time, anyone with any English ancestry can say the same. I don't know if 1685 crosses that threshold. I think though it's something like 7 generations and so maybe it does.
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marc lecours
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estimate:

10 generations at 25 to 30 years per generation. 10 X 30 = 300 years. After 10 generations you have 2^10 = 1024 ancestors (assuming no duplicates). So about 1000 ancestors 300 years ago (in year 1718).

In 1418 (600 years ago)(20 generations ago) each of us had about 1000 X 1000= 1000 000 ancestors. (assuming no duplicates).

In 1118 (900 years ago) (30 generations ago) each of us had about 1000 x1000 x1000 = 1 000 000 000 ancestors. (again making the by now unreasonable assumption of no duplicates).

Since the population of England in the time of the Domesday Book is of the order of 1,5 to 2 million we can estimate that maybe a quarter of the people in 1400 were ancestors to an average englishwoman or englishman nowadays. And that virtually everyone in England (except those that had no children) in 1066 are ancestors to all modern english men and women.

I would say that the threshold was somewhere around the black death.
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Viktor Karlsson Mantel
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rubberchicken wrote:
estimate:

10 generations at 25 to 30 years per generation. 10 X 30 = 300 years. After 10 generations you have 2^10 = 1024 ancestors (assuming no duplicates). So about 1000 ancestors 300 years ago (in year 1718).

In 1418 (600 years ago)(20 generations ago) each of us had about 1000 X 1000= 1000 000 ancestors. (assuming no duplicates).

In 1118 (900 years ago) (30 generations ago) each of us had about 1000 x1000 x1000 = 1 000 000 000 ancestors. (again making the by now unreasonable assumption of no duplicates).

Since the population of England in the time of the Domesday Book is of the order of 1,5 to 2 million we can estimate that maybe a quarter of the people in 1400 were ancestors to an average englishwoman or englishman nowadays. And that virtually everyone in England (except those that had no children) in 1066 are ancestors to all modern english men and women.

I would say that the threshold was somewhere around the black death.
wow! That is some cool maths right there!
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Rosecrans man
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Ironically enough for me, it would be a battle that my Dad did NOT fight in (although he was in the neighborhood, so to speak). My Dad’s ship USS Nehenta Bay (CVE-74) was transferred sometime after providing air support during the Marianas operations. Because of the need to repair the water purifier, they had to go back to port and lost their position in the CVE group covering invasions. So, from Peleliu until the Lingayen Gulf operation they became part of the At Sea Logistics Group. The ship which reportedly took their position in Taffy-3 was Gambier Bay, which was sunk in the battle off Samar. In December 1944, being in the At Sea Logistics Group unfortunately put the Nehenta Bay smack in the middle of Typhoon Cobra. After taking their part in the invasion of Lingayen, they were sent back to San Diego for a refit, causing them to miss Iwo Jima and part of Operation Iceberg (Okinawa). When they got back to the fleet they were put on Picket Duty.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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For me it is the American Revolution because I can trace one my ancestors back to it. If he wouldn't have survived it would have the doom of about 250 descendants.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Rubenpup wrote:
Had he not have survived I would never have been...

I'd guess most of us could post something similar, if we only knew which battles. In my case, it would be easy - my father participated in six invasions during World War II before I was conceived. Or I could cite one of the battles in which my great-grandfather fought for the Union during the American Civil War.

Your date from the 17th century is something I can't match, however. My family history extends back only to ~1730, and our arrival in the new world.
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Pelle Nilsson
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https://www.theguardian.com/science/commentisfree/2015/may/2...

"Basically, everyone alive in the ninth century who left descendants is the ancestor of every living European today".

"If you’re white, you’re a bit Viking. And a bit Celt. And a bit Anglo-Saxon. And a bit Charlemagne."
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A confirmed William the Bastard descendent here, I can place ancestors at a tonne of historical battles as a result, Crusades, Viking invasions, you name it. Like others have said I'm no different to anyone else, I just am lucky enough to have the names.

However in more recent history, I'd cite three examples.

Firstly, Vinegar Hill, 1798. I've no proof my ancestor was even there, and I suspect he wasn't, but in the ensuing British crackdown he was identified as a rebel and transported to Sydney. Fairly important in my personal genealogical history.

Then, Mentana, 1867, my great great grandfather was one of the Papal Zouaves who defeated Garibaldi. He was a huge influence on my grandfather - his faith in particular, which, if you asked him, was responsible for his survival of labour camps during WW2.



Finally, Kokoda, 1942. My other grandfather was a member of the 39th Battalion, intended for home duties but thrown in desperation against the Japanese Marines advancing through New Guinea. He was one of the 80 odd members of the Battalion left standing after the Battle of Isurava when they were relieved (they'd started out with about 1500). He was in the front row as they were stood down:



They were reinforced and sent back to push the Japanese into the sea at Gona.

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Eddy Sterckx
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pelni wrote:
https://www.theguardian.com/science/commentisfree/2015/may/2...

"Basically, everyone alive in the ninth century who left descendants is the ancestor of every living European today".

"If you’re white, you’re a bit Viking. And a bit Celt. And a bit Anglo-Saxon. And a bit Charlemagne."


.. and as my wife would say : "and a bit Neanderthal" whistle

My mother can trace her ancestry back to the Count of Meldert whose oldest attested ancestor was a knight called Iwein, first mentioned in the chronicles in 1279 and who was on the winning side at Worringen, one of the largest battles of the Middle Ages and went on to sire children.

One impetuous charge in that battle might have changed everything.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Worringen
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AF Davis
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My late uncle celebrated his 19th birthday as a Marine in the first wave landing on Iwo Jima. He was pretty sure that day was going to be his last. He lived on to have over sixty more birthdays.
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Lee Trowbridge
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Of course, you have 49 pairs of chromosome. If you trace back generations, you nominally have 128 ancestors (assuming no duplicates). All can't supply your 98 chromosomes -- meaning that you are genetically unrelated to many of your ancestors, even that far back. (pure patrileneal Y-chromosome and pure matrileneal mitichondria excepted)
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Bob Long
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Jackson at the Crossroads: Cross Keys & Port Republic, June 8-9, 1862

Fought on a bit of land that my great great maternal grandparents owned
I remember my maternal grandmother telling me about all the land her grandparents owned in Port Republic/Grottoes Va..as I listened to her stories visiting her....in a very old house built in the 1800s.

The walnut and maple trees around her house had branches you could actually climb.
I remember my sister and brother in law had the opportunity to buy the house where Turner Ashby died but my brother in law's response as to not buying the house "who would want to live in Port Republic"
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Kyle O'Grady
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E_T_Lee wrote:

Of course, you have 49 pairs of chromosome.


23 pairs
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Lee Trowbridge
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oops... too late at night after a grueling day. Thanks for the correction...

That backs the chromosome shortage point down to generation six.
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roger miller
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For me the Battle of Buena Vista. Not because of any family connection but it was battle that interested me and I designed my first game on it and now I am a publisher. So very personal.
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Andrew Kluck
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Meh. My great grandfather was a member of the 45th Wisconsin sent to watch reb prisoners at Nashville in 1865. I still cannot figure out if he was even in the area during the battle.

(I write, as a challenge to any willing to pick up the mantle)
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Jeff Saxton
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After all, gas can is my middle name. Eh, not really.
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Mine would be Spottsylvania Courthouse, 1864. My paternal great grandfather was wounded there, his very first battle. Back then he was still a "Sexton".



 
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Jonathan A.
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My grandfather fought as a Fiipino Scout at the Battle of Bataan. He survived the Battle, the Bataan Death March, and the rest of the war as a POW.
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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When I was growing up, my father always claimed a direct ancestor of mine (name always unstated) fought on the American side at Bunker Hill. Dad also always insisted the actual battle was at Breed's Hill.

Dad likes to, um,… embellish things and so no idea if it's true or how much is.
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ian morris
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Luckily for me, my grandfathers were too young for WW I and too old for WW II. My maternal grandfather was recalled to the Worcesters as a sergeant-instructor, but had a massive heart attack in '41 which earned him a medical discharge.
My wife, on the other hand ... she can trace her mother's side of her family back to 1510. Her grandfather, four brothers and their father all enlisted in WW I, and their family group photo in uniform resides on the mantelpiece downstairs. A different version of this photo appeared in the Daily Mirror in November 1916, by which time two of the brothers were dead, killed on the first day of the Somme.
Her father served in the Merchant Marine during WW II, and told me some interesting stories. He was sunk at least twice, was issued with tropical kit and then diverted to a Murmansk convoy, was apparently on one of the ships that delayed the departure of the Graf Spee, and spent some time in Calcutta jail for jumping ship. He stated that his ship took part in a prisoner exchange in Norwegian waters, but I've never been able to find any details of that. He couldn't swim ! But told us that he could dive brilliantly. If he hadn't, then I wouldn't have been able to marry his daughter, which is pretty personal to me


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Freddy Dekker
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I envy people who can trace their family history back to an individual that did something exciting, even if it was something like, happening to end up in some battle.

In the past I did some research and all I found is that my ancestors had a talent for not standing out.
So disappointing.

On the other hand, if you come to think of all the things they managed to survive through history, wars, plaques, religious conflicts etc. you could say they were really succesfull at what matters most i.e. surviving.

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Brian Morris
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whac3 wrote:
When I was growing up, my father always claimed a direct ancestor of mine (name always unstated) fought on the American side at Bunker Hill. Dad also always insisted the actual battle was at Breed's Hill.

Dad likes to, um,… embellish things and so no idea if it's true or how much is.


Your dad was right about Breed's Hill at least.
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J. Simcoe
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From the research I have done I know I am not a direct descendant (the line ended at the end of 1800's I believe), but our family is related to my namesake John (Graves) Simcoe who commanded the Queen's Rangers at the Battle of Monmouth (there is a counter for him in GMT's Monmouth game) and later become a Governer of Cananda. He was also portayed as the Villain (wrongly by all accounts) in the recent TV show "Turn".
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