King Arthur's Black Descendants


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).

Although the newest movie about King Arthur is fiction, research and documentation of my family history prove it is based on fact. I now have a personal interest in the Arturian period, and the legends of King Arthur and his Knights. After many years of piecing together my family history, one drop of DNA put it all together. In April of 2003, I received the results of my maternal line DNA test.

The results proved my ancestry from Colonial Virginia, through Wales, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and Morocco. The DNA covers a span of over 45,000 years, and has a trail that spreads all over Europe. This one test traced my main ancestry back 10,000 years, and a subgroup (T2), 45,000 years.

The group my ancestors and I are associated with is T (Tara), and is believed to have entered Europe 10,000 years ago. According to results from this and other DNA tests, the group entered from the Iberian Peninsula. The DNA chart shows the countries my DNA, "cousins" were located in, Wales (Britain), Germany, and Switzerland, the Basque region of Spain, and the Berbers of North Africa.

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 areas of Morocco and Libya. 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.

The Iberian Peninsula consists of modern-day Spain and Portugal. If the pedigree charts are accurate, my male and female lines appear in Wales at different times. According to family pedigree charts, the females are documented 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 Langatock 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 purported 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. The Votadini are linked to the Romans. When the Romans ruled Britain, the Votadini acted as police, protecting their Colony. When the Romans withdrew, the tribe was left unprotected. From the north they were under threat from the Picts, from the west, the Irish, and from the east, the Angles.

According to Lewis family historians, 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 (if he existed) he was part of this tribe. The major tribes that comprised Arthurian England were the Romans, Saxons, Angles, 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 was also in descent from the House of Windsor.

My direct ancestor, Charles Lewis, as his father before him (John Lewis), was a seaman in the Revolutionary War based in Fredericksburg Virginia. He and his brother 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 Washington's sister, Betty, was married to Fielding Lewis. The Lewises of Warner Hall (also related to the current 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, who was married to Elizabeth Warner, both of whom are my direct ancestors. The site was often visited by Queen Elizabeth as an acknowledgement that those buried there are descendants of the Royal Family.

There were two John Lewises 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 am connected to John Lewis, who came to Virginia around 1650 and died 1657. His son, John Lewis, married into the Warner family, and were the forebearers of my female Lewis ancestor (Susannah).

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 you 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 my family's forebears.) The female connections have to do with my ancestor Charles's wife, who was called Hannah (Susannah). According to my DNA test Susannah's DNA makeup was 87 percent European, 8 percent Native, and 5 percent African. She would be considered white by todays standards, but was a mulatto in Colonial Virginia.
Susannah is my direct female line, and her ancestors were of Welsh descent. They are also related to Britain's Royal family from the Tudors to the House of Windsor.

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, but they are now an integral part of my family history. In my case, DNA and genealogy helped prove a line that was broken hundreds of years ago.

For more information about my family history go to: http://www.lulu.com/leboudin, site for Notes And Documents of Free Persons of Color, or email alani2@yahoo.com.

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More Comments:

rod willis - 2/12/2008

Even if you had not mentioned this I just knew it must have been written by an american, I really do not want to offend you but please when you research our history try being objective you seem to be picking out bits of text and historical theories that you want to fit into your (I am going to be a tad brutal here) ridiculous theory. In fact its just plain insulting and exactly what I would expect from an American and for gods sake what the hell has colour got to do with this ?

A few loose facts for you, when Uther was meant to have been there were no Welsh, Scottish or English there were just tribes of Britons and invading Angles and Saxons. There are no Celts from these islands we are and were Britons, there may have been Celtic influence on our art, and language etc but we were NOT CELTS WE ARE AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN BRITONS !!!

The Scottish came from a region of whats now known as Northern Ireland and pushed the original Pictish tribes into the Northern region of whats now known as Scotland. The Pict's were Britons that refused to accept Roman rule and came from original northern tribes and exiles from what is now known as England who wished to continue resistance against the invasion (off the top of my head I cant remember the exact word but Pict's meant the painted people)

Welsh is derived from a Saxon word meaning foreigner or slave, it was applied to all Briton's that existed outside their territories, this would now be the Cornish and Welsh

The English and England never existed until Alfred the great raised the concept of uniting all the Anglo Saxon kingdoms after the invasion of Danes and other Norsemen

I laugh at the countries that try to claim Uther as their own, he is most likely to have been from southern England down to the border with Cornwall (or Kernow as it is still known to the people of that country including me) he was never a king just a warlord that led a successful campaign against the invading Saxons and Angles

As someone commented on earlier we are all related to a certain extent, in fact there is a fair chance we all came from Africa in the beginning, but for you to claim a descendancy from someone who nobody knows anything about is ridiculous in the extreme and shame on you

Arch Yeomans - 12/27/2006

Well, if you get King Arthur, I'll claim a lineage to Mil Espaine of Irish mythology. Since my DNA is proven to be R1b1c6, I'm thinking that I'm also from Atlantis. LOL!!

amanda louise cowe - 12/1/2006

My apologies, in part at least. It seems the Votadini did, some considerable time later, move to Wales (or some of them did) and there are some manuscripts associated with the later Welsh Votadini making mention Of Arthur in a way that sounded as though he was a hero to them.
Still don't get how you can claim lineage to him though unless you have some of his DNA to match yours. Are you saying you have lineage to the Votadini and suspect you may be related to Arthur? Does that mean they have DNA of the Votadini somewhere? If so then so must i be related to him and half the world probably. Incidentally, where I come from (and where the Votadini were first known to settle in what is now Britain) there is Merlin's grave (reportedly) Arthur is supposed to be trapped in the Eildon Hills and his kingdom is argued to be the Scottish Borders.It seems everywhere has a claim to him doesn't it?
all the best

amanda louise cowe - 12/1/2006

EH? Sorry, just read this when searching for info about the Votadini who resided in the area which is now the Scottish Borders (in fact they occupated the area from the Lothians down to north east England). I am writing a book on the Votadini in the time period of the Roman invasion of this area in 79AD. Yes, the Votadini spoke Old Welsh ( as did most Celt tribes if not most of native Britain)in fact it is possibly the earliest known language on record in Britain, but were they actually in Wales? Maybe, I haven't researched anywhere else but Scotland, but put it this way, if no-one even knows who Arthur truly was (with various countries claiming he 'belonged' to them - not least, Scotland, France and England as well as Wales) how can you prove lineage to him or claim he was Votadini. That suggests his ancestors were from the Scottish Borders then!
I think you've got me confused and you seem a tad confused yourself.
No disrespect,

james william shaw - 8/8/2005

This article is one of the biggest load of poppycock I have ever read. What has the author(no pun intended) been smoking? How can you be related to a probably fictional celtic "king" that was invented in France during the middle ages? It's particularly instresting that you know the "exact percentages of the geographic distribution of a long dead ancestor's genes. How did you divine that? This fairy tale shows almost as much imagination as Alex Hailey's "Roots" which was borrowed from fiction writers by his graduate students!

james william shaw - 8/8/2005

This article is one of the biggest load of poppycock I have ever read. What has the author(no pun intended) been smoking? How can you be related to a probably fictional celtic "king" that was invented in France during the middle ages? It's particularly instresting that you know the "exact percentages of the geographic distribution of a long dead ancestor's genes. How did you divine that? This fairy tale shows almost as much imagination as Alex Hailey's "Roots" which was borrowed from fiction writers by his graduate students!

Anita L Wills - 7/21/2004

The article is actually about using DNA & Genealogy, to trace your ancestors. Family Tree DNA has conducted thousands of these test, and linked folks all over the world.

The title that I gave the article was, History, DNA & Genealogy Prove Connections to Arthurian England. The title was changed by the Editor of this site. I did not put King Arthur in my title because I know that Historians are debating his existance.

At least you don't mince words (smile).

Michael Meo - 7/21/2004

everybody is related to everybody else.

Nichts neues.

Anita L Wills - 7/19/2004

The original title to this article was, Genealogy And DNA Link American Author to Arthurian Era. The articles focus is on using Genealogy & DNA to trace your ancestry. I am a Genealogical Researcher and Instructor in Northern California.