Mecklenburg-Strelitz, G), Kroll (Silesia, P), but this is the surname of adoptive parents. The paternal surname was Hohenzollern, the Royal House of Prussia, now called von Preussen. Catt (Sussex, E), Read
(Gloucestershire, E), Lodder (Dorset, E), Artus (Gloucestershire, E), Harding
(Durham, E), Farmer (Northamptonshire, E).
Details of my family tree can be seen at my WorldConnect site here.
My Stewart ancestry has been extensively researched in collaboration with members of the Stewarts of Balquhidder Research Group and there is a great deal of information at their sites, maintained by Chuck Speed, here , and by Ryk Brown, here .
The story of how I traced the parentage of my great great grandmother Agnes Kroll was told in a community post at 23andMe, but as that site is password-protected I will repeat it here.
“Princess Elisa Radziwill of Poland was K1a4a”
By DNAGenie, Oct 18, 2011, 23andMe
Some of my sharers know that I've been trying to verify an old family story: that my great great grandmother Agnes Kroll (1824-1904) was the illegitimate daughter of Prince Wilhelm of Prussia (1797-1888), later Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany. There is a good deal of circumstantial evidence that points in that direction, but we had not been able to prove it, or to identify Agnes’s mother.
The story was investigated in 2008 in an Australian episode of the TV program "Who Do You Think You Are?" featuring Australian-born international civil-rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, QC, who is Agnes's great great grandson, and my third cousin. The results were suggestive, but not conclusive, as there were indications of a royal coverup.
Our latest research indicates that the woman in question was Princess Elisa Radziwill of Poland (1803-1834). This came as a complete surprise to me, as, although I knew about the ill-fated romance of Prince Wilhelm and Princess Elisa, I have never seen a suggestion that Wilhelm and Elisa might have had a child.
The relationship was not found through a DNA match, but by good old-fashioned slog through archives and letters, but we do know that the mtDNA haplogroup in question, which was passed down from Elisa to her daughter Agnes, and on down her female line to Geoffrey, is K1a4a.
Elisa died in 1834 without further issue so she could not pass on her DNA to other children, but the mtDNA from the line of her mother, Princess Louise of Prussia (1770-1836) or earlier female ancestors could still exist in other present day descendants.
Princess Louise was the great granddaughter (in female line) of Princess Sophia Dorothea of Hanover (1687-1757), daughter of King George I of Great Britain, so she comes from an ancient and distinguished line of Anglo-German nobility whose maternal haplogroup is now known to be K1a4a.
By DNAGenie, May 9, 2015, 23andMe
Five members of our family have now tested at 23andMe in our efforts to confirm this relationship: my sister, myself, Geoffrey Robertson (our third cousin), Geoff’s mother, and his niece.
The first hint that we might be able to prove it came from the results of DNA tests of the skeletons of Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra of Russia in 2009.
Those results were of interest because Prince Wilhelm of Prussia was closely related to both the Tsar and the Tsarina. His DNA could be expected to have some resemblance to theirs, and so, presumably, could that of any of his descendants, like us. And we do! My sister and I have had the standard CODIS DNA tests done, and we match Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra quite closely - close enough to suggest a family relationship, as Tsar Nicholas is our third cousin twice removed, and Tsarina Alexandra is our third cousin 3 times removed.
In June 2013 we got another indication when a woman with Radziwill connections turned up on the DNA Relatives list of Geoff’s mother. She did not know exactly how far back the Radziwills came in her family tree, the relationship was just above the minimum level for matches, and she didn’t match the rest of us, but it gave us hope.
Then in December 2013 my sister and I were both notified of a DNA Relatives match with another woman who is a descendant of Prince Wilhelm of Prussia. The new tester was more interested in her health results than her ancestry, however when we compared lineages she recognized the Hohenzollern name immediately and we could work out exactly where the family link must be. It came from another illegitimate birth in Kaiser Wilhelm’s line.
Kaiser Wilhelm II’s son Crown Prince Wilhelm (1882-1951) was her grandfather’s father. Her family had documentation that showed that the Crown Prince had taken the infant to a couple who managed land for him in Germany, and they became the child’s foster parents. However the prince kept an eye on his son, and the young man was spoiled quite a bit, with “horses, toys, a penchant for going to the racetrack, etc.” This woman lives in the United States, and she is our 4th cousin once removed.
Shortly after that result arrived, a lady in South Africa sent an email to Geoffrey Robertson’s office in London with an astonishing story. Her family had evidence that her great grandfather, born in Germany in October 1829, was the son of Prince Wilhelm of Prussia and Princess Elisa Radziwill. If that was the case, our gg grandmother Agnes had a full brother who had been conceived in early 1829, only months before Prince Wilhelm’s marriage to Princess Augusta of Saxe-Weimar.
I then arranged for autosomal DNA tests to be done for the lady and her sister. As they both lived in South Africa this turned out to be quite a task, as 23andMe does not send kits to South Africa. The company normally sends kits overseas via courier service but courier rates to South Africa are astronomical, so that country is not on their list. However FTDNA sends kits to South Africa by mail (which is a lot cheaper than a courier but not terribly reliable) so I ordered two Family Finder tests from FTDNA on their behalf and hoped for the best. It took just over a month for the test kits to arrive in South Africa and be returned to the FTDNA lab in Houston, Texas, but they arrived eventually and the testing could begin.
I chose FTDNA because I had already done a Family Finder there myself, so the two new tests could immediately be compared with my results. However as we were looking for third or fourth cousin matches there was a distinct possibility that we could miss out, even if the relationship was true, so we needed a backup plan. This was provided for, as I had previously arranged for other members of my family to have Y-DNA or mtDNA tests done at FTDNA, so those DNA samples were already available there for further testing, if required, that is, if my DNA comparison with the South African sisters did not match theirs. And of course that is exactly what happened.
As I didn’t match either of them, I arranged, more or less as a last resort, to get a Family Finder test at FTDNA for my brother, who had already done a Y-DNA test with the company. After another agonizing wait we got his results back, and we had SUCCESS AT LAST. He matched both the sisters! They are our third cousins once removed and we all descend from Wilhelm and Elisa.
At that point I wanted to find out why so many of the comparisons did not come up significant at the standard one-to-one level of 7cM. However when I compared all the results via GEDMatch and dropped the level to 5cM the truth became apparent. At that level, almost all the individual comparisons were significant. So, because our relationships were right on the limit of detection for the conventional one-to-one test, the one-to-one cutoff point was less appropriate than the slightly less stringent family level of 5cM.
The only tester who didn't match everyone at 5cM was Geoffrey, who had inherited fewer of the specific family segments from his mother, purely by chance. I was already aware of this possibility, because Geoffrey does not match me at any level! He matches my sister and I match his mother and his niece so there is no doubt about our relationship, but he and I do not have any long segments in common.
10 Feb 2016
Just updating the family matches to Hohenzollern and Radziwill descendants, we now have 23andMe and/or Family Finder autosomal DNA results from 10 different members of my known extended family, and these have been compared with similar DNA results from 9 different testers in four different families (now living in South Africa, New Zealand, Germany and the USA) who descend from Wilhelm I and/or Elisa Radziwill.
Comparing members of our known family with each of the other testers, we now have 8 matching results at the minimum 7cM level, and 14 more at the 5cM level, with proof that all four families are related to us through those lines of descent.