Who are Gateways? was Re: Sensational Find (?) - New Royal Gateway Ancestor ?
- From: "Leo" <can2002@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 4 Feb 2012 08:09:40 +1100
Many thanks for your message. I intend to use the term in my system for those people who crossed the ocean from Europe to America and simply add the word royal when I know the individual has royal ancestors. Also I try to add on that line names of ships and dates when they arrived.
To use Gateway Ancestor within a country I think is too hard.
If you go to Genealogics and go to Text Search, there you see a line 'search occupation' if you enter Gateway, you will find 899 results. However if you enter only "England - USA" you get 473 results. Sadly for me "France - Canada" only brings 14 replies.
At the moment I am working on improving these entries.
With best wishes
Leo van de Pas
----- Original Message ----- From: "TJ Booth" <tjbooth@xxxxxxx>
To: "GenMedieval" <gen-medieval@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, February 04, 2012 2:24 AM
Subject: Re: Sensational Find (?) - New Royal Gateway Ancestor ?
As Nat notes below, the definition of 'gateway ancestor' has been discussed
on SGM many times, but without any apparent common agreement. One major
problem for everyone is that the word 'royal' does not appear in the term,
yet many interpret it as implying a royal connection.
Accepting Nat's 'common usage in US genealogical journals' as the most
defensible definition, this would seem to make the term inappropriate for
your use. But many words have more than one meaning - can you simply define
the term as you wish and then include a link to the definition every time
the term is used? Using a different definition is certainly consistent with
other SGM posts - for instance, in 1999 John Ravilious posted an ahnentafel
for 'gateway ancestor' Samuel Hyde d. 12 Sep 1689 in Newton MA (a royal
pedigree later apparently found to be flawed) - see
The 'common usage' definition is not without its own problems. Borrowing
Nat's concept of grafting one population tree branch onto another tree, this
begs the question of exactly how one distinguishes between a natural branch
and a grafted one. Does Sancha de Ayala m. Sir Walter Blount qualify as a
gateway ancestor because of her likely Spanish royal ancestry? Or is royal
ancestry even necessary - does a French woman with a ten generation albeit
non-royal ancestry constitute a 'gateway ancestor' to her American or
Australian husband and descendants? There is certainly no mention of royalty
in the term itself - so what does the 'common usage' definition require
beyond two persons of very different backgrounds to marry and have children?
Absent a clear 'common usage' definition - is there one? - its usage would
seem very large.
You might consider using a term like 'gateway immigrant' instead. It does
suggest a special kind of immigrant, which is what I think you intend. It
also does not (at least to my knowledge) have a 'common usage' definition
others might find fault with. Even so, this term would still seem to apply
to anyone with an extended pre-emigration ancestry. If the term is intended
to apply only to persons with royal ancestries, then it would seem best to
describe them as a 'royal gateway immigrant'. This also allows for
identifying other types of gateway immigrants such as by nationality or race
or religion - i.e. Spanish gateway immigrant.
While you may be focusing on immigrants with a royal ancestry that move from
one continent to another (i.e. Europe to the Americas or Australia, Asia to
the Americas, etc), an immigrant by definition only requires moving from one
country to another. In that sense, Sancha de Ayala would still qualify as a
'royal gateway immigrant' - as would William the Conqueror, who emigrated
from France to England and brought with him a Carolingian ancestry. To my
way of thinking, both also are royal gateway immigrants but for a different
reason, since if 'crossing the water' from one continent to another
qualifies, why not 'crossing the water' to an island nation? This again
points to the need for a clear definition of how you want to use the term.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Nathaniel Taylor" <nltaylor@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "Leo" <can2002@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2012 3:32 PM
Subject: Re: Sensational Find (?) - New Royal Gateway Ancestor ?
Leo, we've been around this before. In common usage in US
genealogical journals at least, a 'gateway ancestor' is someone who
transmits a traceable ancestry in any one discrete population to
descendants in another population. In the case of 17th-century
American settlers, the vast majority are of unknown ancestry, and
most of those whose origin is known only contribute a traceable
ancestry of an additional one or two generations; so these are by
convention not called 'gateway ancestors', which in the context of
early settlers is reserved for those whose traceable ancestry
includes several generations, almost inevitably linking to medieval
noble lines somewhere, and through them to the great interwoven
medieval European noble family tree.
I understood a Gateway Ancestor is one who came from one country and
went to another? Whether we know their parents or not. Being a
migrant myself (under very different circumstances) I think they
were exceptional people leaving behind their known world for the
uncertainty in a new world.
Leo, you and I had an identical discussion about this here back in
1995 or so, and you explained your use of the term 'gateway ancestor'
in your own database to signify such immigrants, but this is not the
common usage. Certainly most settlers are (in the main) brave and
resourceful people and worthy of flagging in one's database, etc. But
the term 'gateway ancestor' was coined, years earlier, for a specific
genealogical use, in the narrow context of climbing genealogical
trees: a gateway permits one climbing one sort of tree (colonists) to
graft on another tree (late-medieval gentry). A gateway does not have
to be a geographic migrant, but could be one who 'migrates' from one
population to another, for example a significant inter-racial
marriage bringing traceable ancestry in one population to descendants
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