Although the newest Movie on King Arthur is fiction, research and documentation of my family history, prove it is based on fact. I now have a personal in the existence of King Arthur and his Knights. Not only do my family lines connect with the tribe Arthur would have come from, but to the current Royal Family (Guess Whose Coming to Dinner?). After many years of piecing together my family history, one drop of DNA put it all together.
The results of my 2003 DNA test, proved my ancestry from Colonial Virginia, through Wales, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and the Berbers of Morocco. Although the tribe of King Arthur is of Roman Origin, the entering tribes were welcomed. The Lewis family history states that our ancestors, were Policemen for the Romans. When the Romans were defeated, the tribe agreed to fight the Irish, for England, and for their efforts were granted Northeast Wales.
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 Morocco. 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. It is my strong belief that they were Moors, as their is a mention of a Mor, on the Lewis family chart. The Moors brought their influence and culture to Europe through Spain and Portugal.
The Iberian Peninsula is located at the Southern end of Spain and Portugal, and at the northern tip of Morocco. If the Pedigree charts are accurate, my male and female lines appear in Wales at different times. The females are 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 pro ported 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. Wales sits between Britain, Scotland, and Ireland. The only protection the British had against invaders from Ireland, were the Welsh. The tribe also needed protection as they were in danger of attacks. Lewis family historians state that King Arthur awarded a Kingdom to the Lewis Clan, for their faithful service.
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 he was part of this tribe. The Major Tribes that comprised Arthurian England were the Romans, Saxons, Anglos, 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 also in descent from the House of Windsor.
My direct ancestor, Charles Lewis, was a free black, and, as his father before him, (John Lewis), a Seaman. When the Revolutionary War began, he and his brother Ambrose joined. They were little more than teenagers during this time. Charles and 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 Washingtons sister, Betty, was married to Fielding Lewis. The Lewis of Warner Hall (also related to the now 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, one of my ancestors. The site was often visited by Queen Elizabeth as an acknowledgement that those buried there are descendants of the Royal Family.
The Warner and Lewis Gravesites contain the names of:
1 Elizabeth Warner Lewis (d/o Augustine Warner II w/o Col John Lewis), 1672 – 1719 2 Col John Lewis (s/o John & Isabella Lewis h/o Elizabeth Warner), 1669 – 1725 3 Mary Chiswell Lewis (d/o John & Elizabeth Randolph Chiswell w/o Warner Lewis II, 1748 – 1776 4 Warner Lewis II (s/o Warner Lewis I & Eleanor Bowles Gooch Lewis & grandson of Col John Lewis & Elizabeth Warner Lewis), 1747 – 1791
There were two John Lewis 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 connected to John Lewis, who came to Virginia around 1650 and died 1657.
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 we 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 it). The female connections has to do with my ancestor Charles wife, who was named Hannah. I have yet to find her last name, but she is my direct female line that leads to Wales.
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, or myths, but they are now an integral part of my family history.
The information in this article just crystalized for me, within the last month. I stared at the documents for hours wondering why, my DNA, “Cousin”, sent me a family Coat-of-Arms from the Warner Lewis family. The Lewis I spent hours on, was John Lewis, the father of Zachary Lewis of Spotsylvania County. My ancestor, Charles Lewis, married a cousin, who was also a Lewis. His daughter, Nancy, my direct ancestor, appears to have married her cousin as well. Now it is all clear as mud (Hello).
I will be instructing a Genealogy Class at Chabot College, in Hayward California. For registration information contact Susan May at 510-723-6665
Although I sent this article to major newspapers, you will probably not see it anywhere but here. The information in this article has been checked and double checked. I have citations, and a DNA test to back up my assertions. I did not expect to follow this line to North Africa, nor to the Berbers (who were the Moors). This has been a very educational and spiritual experience, and every minute was worth it.
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).