Madeline Constance BROWNE - a pretty name. She was my great grandmother on...
MY ROYAL CONNECTIONS - Madeline Constance BROWNE………a pretty name. She was my great grandmother on my paternal
side. I have a vague memory of her,
sitting in her armchair, her black attire complimenting her silver hair. I was four years old when she died.
My grandfather, James FINLAY,(Madeline’s son), knew a little bit about
her. His accounts of Madeline’s life were often ignored by the family,
especially when he insisted that Madeline came from an aristocratic family, but, according to my grandfather, was deemed by her family, at that time, to have “married beneath her
station”. I remember hanging on his every word, conjuring up mental images of
Madeline, as he spoke of her journeys to and from school in a pony and trap.
Madeline married a working class man, and lived in a very
humble abode – a little terrace house in a *Belfast street.
When I became a teenager, during the seventies, my dad,James FINLAY, who
is a Blacksmith by trade, decided it was time he researched his family tree, to
find out once and for all if there were any truths in my grandfather’s stories
In those days, computers were not common place, and all the
research my dad embarked upon was not an easy task. It involved many train journeys to the Dublin
Records Office, where he sat pouring over volumes of records for hours on end,
recording his findings in an old jotter.
I remember my dad
returning from one of his day trips to the Dublin Records Office, with an
intriguing new name to add to our family tree. The name was Sarsfield Vesey
BROWNE, Clerk of Four Courts, Dublin, and he was my Great, Great, Great Grandfather, (Madeline’s
grandfather). His parent's names were Nicholas John Clinton BROWNE and Anne COLCLOUGH, but here, the trail seemed to end. It was a very grand sounding
name, but where did he go? What was his wife’s name? How many children did he have? So many
Sarsfield Vesey BROWNE remained a mystery until the
beginning of the year 2010…..Over thirty years have passed since my dad
discovered this family member. We had no leads.
Although originally, we found
Sarsfield in the Dublin Records, eventually, my search
expanded, focusing on the Isle of Man.
Sarsfield married Harriet FLINT in the Isle of Man, (daughter of
Captain FLINT), and, I have been able to trace the FLINT
family and their ancestors. Harriet had seven sisters, and as I researched each
one of them, I discovered that one of her sisters
followed an interesting line which led to the Rt. Hon Mr. Tony BLAIR the former,
PM. It was quite a surprise to discover that the Rt. Hon. Tony BLAIR is my 4th
cousin once removed. However, this was only the tip of the iceberg.............
I have discovered that Sarsfield
Vesey BROWNE’s family line is steeped in history which is well documented in
numerous volumes in many prestigious libraries. He bears the name of some of
his ancestors on both his paternal and maternal lines. Through this research
I have uncovered lots of
astounding information, and my family and I are totally blown away by what we are discovering.
Sarsfield is an ancient family name dating back to the 12th
The VESEY name is an ancient name (DE VESCI) of French Norman
Sarsfield’s line led me to a William SARSFIELD who married a
“Mary STUART”……..On first discovering this, I smiled to myself and thought,
“What a coincidence…….”Mary Stuart”……….. Imagine if this
were a royal connection!”
To my amazement, it was!
William SARSFIELD was my Great x7 Grandfather and Mary
STUART was my Great x7 Grandmother. I
have since followed this line right through Charles II, Charles I, James I,
Henry STUART…….……all of them my grandfathers!
King James I married Anne OLDENBURG, (my grandmother x12)
and this discovery led me to a Danish line of Royals, again, my grandparents. Frederick II OLDENBURG and Sophie Von MECKLENBURG GUSTRO are my Gt.X13 Grandparents and this find led me to another amazing discovery – Anastasiya ROMANOV and her siblings Aleksi, Olga and Mariya are my 10th cousins four times removed. As I followed this line further, I discovered Queen Victoria was my 7th Cousin 6 times removed, Edward VII, my 8th Cousin 5 times removed, George V my 9th cousin 4 times removed, George VI my 10th cousin 3 times removed, and Queen Elizabeth 11 my 11th cousin twice removed.
I have also discovered that I share Great x10 grandparents
with Lady Diana SPENCER, who later became Diana, Princess of Wales. She is my 7th cousin twice
removed, and her sons Princes William and Harry are my eighth cousins once
As well as having the leader of the 17th century
Irish Rebellion as a grandfather, (Rory O’ MORE) I also have Prince William of Orange, as my
first cousin 11 times removed. Major General Patrick SARSFIELD was my GtX10 Grand uncle,and his brother William SARSFIELD was my GTX10 Grandfather.
Robert the BRUCE was also my grandfather. I also have grandfathers who were crusaders.
I have discovered how one of my ancestors, John COLCLOUGH, a
master potter, gave his pottery wheel to Gilbert WEDGEWOOD, which resulted in
the beginning of the famous WEDGEWOOD Factory, through Josiah WEDGEWOOD,I have many Gt+ Grandfathers in the COLCLOUGH Family.
I have discovered a large number
of close Royal connections, not only in Denmark, but also in Russia, Norway, France, England,
Scotland and Ireland.
The STEWART Kings, my grandfathers! I have visited Edinburgh Castle, Stirling
Castle, Scone Palace and Glamis Castle in the past, and, until recently, I was
totally unaware of my connection with all of this as I soaked in their grandeur
and beauty, although from afar. It now fills me with awe to know that these places
were the homes of my ancestors…….
have discovered that my past is profound, and I often wonder if, Madeline
Constance BROWNE, and my grandfather, were fully aware of the extent of their heritage.
My latest research has taken me back to the Capetian Dynasty and yet another grandfather, Henri ROI de France and yet another, Hugh DE CREPI, Count of Vermandois.
Recently, October 2011 - I discovered that the Duke of Wellington was my 7th cousin, six times removed, and I also had a first cousin four times removed who was the Head Master of Wesley College, Melbourne, Australia. His name was Lawrence Adamson,(1860)- husband of Anne Flint.
I have a lot to thank Madeline for, after all, had she not married a man whom
her family at that time, deemed “beneath her station”, I would not be here to tell this amazing story. I wonder if there is a fascinating love story wrapped up in all of this.......a very wealthy aristocratic young women, did she give it all up for the love of a man...........? Perhaps I will uncover this part of her story one day.
There is much more, all of it incredible and exciting, and I
am still only scratching the surface! Presently, I am researching to see if my BROWNE ancestors have any connection with the MARQUIS of Sligo. The fact that Patrick SARSFIELD and Anne O'MORE were my grandparents, makes it very possible. I need to discover who my GtX4 grandfather, Nicholas John Clinton BROWNE's parents were, and it is proving very difficult.
My story has inspired some of my friends and family and they too are embarking upon their own exciting voyage of