Ancestry Back Through William the Conqueror
to Fornjot, King of Finland

John Major Jenkins, April 2004.

Part 1.


From the Sagas of the Orkneyingers (same king list found also in Heimskringla):


THERE was a king named Fornjot1, he ruled over those lands which are called Finland and Kvenland; that is to the east of that bight of the sea which goes northward to meet Gandvik; that we call the Helsingbight. Fornjot had three sons; one was named Hler, whom we call Aegir, the second Logi, the third Kari; he was the father of Frost, the father of Snow the Old, his son’s name was Thorri; he (Thorri) had two sons, one was named Norr and the other Gorr; his daughter’s name was Goi.


Thorri2  was a great sacrificer, he had a sacrifice every year at midwinter; that they called Thorri’s sacrifice; from that the month took its name. One winter there were these tidings at Thorri’s sacrifice, that Goi was lost and gone, and they set out to search for her, but she was not found. And when that month passed away Thorri made them take to sacrifice, and sacrifice for this, that they might know surely where Goi was hidden away. That they called Goi’s sacrifice, but for all that they could hear nothing of her. Four winters after those brothers vowed a vow that they would search for her; and so share the search between them, that Norr should search on land, but Gorr should search the outscars and islands, and he went on board ship. Each of those brothers had many men with him. Gorr held on with his ships out along the sea-bight, and so into Alland’s3 sea; after that he views the Swedish scars far and wide, and all the isles that lie in the East salt sea; after that to the Gothland scars, and thence to Denmark, and views there all the isles; he found there his kinsmen, they who were come from Hler the old out of Hler’s isle4 and he held on then still with his voyage and hears nothing of his sister. But Norr his brother bided till snow lay on the heaths, and it was good going on snow-shoes. After that he fared forth from Kvenland and inside the sea-bight, and they came thither where those men were who are called Lapps, that is at the back of Fin mark. But the Lapps wished to forbid them a passage, and there arose a battle; and that might and magic followed Norr and his men; that their foes became as swine,5 as soon as they heard the war-cry and saw weapons drawn, and the Lapps betook themselves to flight. But Norr fared thence west on the Keel,6 and was long out, so that they knew nothing of men, and shot beasts and birds for meat for themselves; they fared on till they came where the waters turned to the westward from the fells. Then they fared along with the waters, and came to a sea; there before them was a firth as big as it were a sea-bight; there were fickle tilts, and great dales came down to the firth. There was a gathering of folk against them, and they straightway made ready to battle with Norr, and their quarrel fared as was to be looked for. All that folk either fell or fled, but Norr and his men overcame them as weeds over cornfields. Norr fared round all the firth and laid it under him, and made himself king over those districts that lay there inside the firth. Norr tarried there the summer over till it snowed upon the heaths; then he shaped his course up along the dale which goes south from the firth; that firth is now called Trondheim. Some of his men he lets fare the coast way round Maureen; he laid under him all whithersoever he came. And when he comes south over the fell that lay to the south of the dale bight, he went on still south along the dales, until he came to a great water which they called Myosin. Then he turns west again on to the fell, because it had been told him that his men had come off worsted before that king whose name was Skin. Then they came into that district which they called Alders. Thence they fared to the sea, and came into a long firth and a narrow, which is now called Song; there was their meeting with Skin, and they had there a fickle battle, because their witchcraft had no hold on Skin. Norr went hard forward, and he and Skin came to hand-strokes. There fell Skin and many of his folk.


After that Norr fared on into the firth that goes north from Song. There Skin had ruled before in what is now called Skin’s dale. There Norr tarried a long time, and that is now called Nora firth. There came to meet him Gorr his brother, and neither of them had then heard anything of Goi. Gorr too had laid under him all the outer land as he had fared from the south, and then those brothers shared the lands between them. Norr had all the mainland, but Gorr shall have all those isles between which and the mainland he passes in a ship with a fixed rudder. And after that Norr fares to the Uplands, and came to what is now called Headwork;7 there that king ruled whose name was Rolf of the Hill; he was the son of Skadi the giant from north of the Dovrefell. Hrolf had taken away from Kvenland Goi, Thorri’s daughter; he went at once to meet Norr, and offered him single combat; they fought long together and neither was wounded. After that they made their quarrel up, and Norr got Hrolf’s sister, but Hrolf got Goi to wife. Thence Norr turned back to the realm which he had laid under him, that he called Norway; he ruled that realm while he lived, and his sons after him, and they shared the land amongst them, and so the realms began to get smaller and smaller as the kings got more and more numerous, and so they were divided into provinces. 


Gorr had the isles, and for that he was called a sea-king; his sons were Heiti and Beiti, they were sea-kings and mighty overbearing men. They made many inroads on the realm of Norr’s sons, and they had many battles, and now one, now the other won the day. Beiti ran into Drontheim and warred there; he lay where it is now called Beitsea and Beitstede; thence he made them drag his ship from the innermost bight of Beitstede, and so north over Elduneck, that is where the Naumdales come down from the north. He sat himself on the poop and held the tiller in his hand, and claimed for his own all that land that then lay on the larboard, and that is many tilths and much land. Heiti, Gorr’s son, was father of Sveidi the sea-king, the father of Halfdan the Old, the father of Ivar the Uplanders’ Earl, the father of Eystein the Noisy, the father of Earl (of More) Rognvald the mighty and the wise in council.8


Earl Rognvald joined Harold fair-hair9 when he seized the land, but he (Harold) gave him lordship over both the Maeren and Romsdale;10 he had to wife Ragnhilda the daughter of Hrolf nosy; their son was Hrolf (Rollo) who won Normandy, he was so tall that horses could not carry him; for that he was called Ganging-Hrolf; from him are come the Rouen Jarls and the English Kings...



1. Mythical: Fornjot, king of Finland [probably born ca. 550 AD]

2. Mythical: Thorri, king of Finland

3. The sea in which are the Alan Isles in the Gulf of Bosnia

4. Now Lasso in the Gateau

5. That is, where panic-stricken and rushed wildly about

6. Keel: The ridge of mountains, which forms the watershed, back- bone, or keel, between Sweden and Norway

7. Now Hedemark

8. “He was called Rognvald the mighty and wise in council, and men say both were true names.”

9. Harold, fair-hair king of Norway, A.D. 868-931

10. “Both the Maeren” are North and South Maeren, which are divided the one from the other by the Romsdale firth. They stretch north-eastward along the coast from Stadt to Naumdale.


Sources: Icelandic Sagas, and other historical documents relating to the settlements and descents of the Northmen in The British Isles, Vol. III: The Orkneyingers’ Saga, with appendices; translated by Sir G. W. Dasent, printed for Her Majesty’s stationery office, London, 1894.


Part 2.


Beginning with Rögnvald the Viking, Earl of Möre in the latter part of the Ninth Century.


His son, Rolf (Rollo), was the leader of a band of Viking raiders who, for many years, pillaged Scotland, Ireland, and Gaul. In 911, Rolf was defeated in battle at Chartres. Nevertheless, Emperor Charles III (the Simple) recognized him as a legitimate ruler and granted him and his Scandinavian followers lands in the valley of the lower Seine. Rolf was then baptized by the Archbishop of Rouen. Between 911 and 924, the boundaries of his holdings were substantially expanded to include most of the region that came to be called Normandy—because it was held by the Norsemen. He died before 933.


Rollo married "Poppa" of Bayeaux and together they had a son, William, nicknamed “Longsword”, who expanded the royal territory but was murdered in 942. The line going back from Poppa is interesting as her great-great-grandfater was St William of Gellone, the subject of many medieval chansons de geste and Wolfram von Eschenbach's tales of the "Grail Family", including Parzifal, Titurel, and Willehalm (written circa 1210).


His son, Duke Richard I, fought a long and bloody war with rival Viking bands to retain his inheritance. Richard I died 996.


His son, Duke Richard II, married Judith of Brittany, sister to Geoffrey of Rennes, who was subsequently Count of Brittany. Geoffrey married Richard’s sister, Hawisa. Richard’s sister, Emma, was the second wife of King Aethelred II of England, nicknamed “The Unready.” After Aethelred died in 1016, he was succeeded by King Cnut, and Emma became Cnut’s second wife. Emma was the mother of two English kings: Harthacnut, son of Cnut, who ruled from 1040–1042 and Edward the Confessor, son of Aethelred, who ruled 1042–1066. Richard died on 23 August 1026, after a reign of nearly 20 years, leaving six legitimate children, three sons and three daughters. The sons were named Richard, Robert, and William, and the daughters were Adeliza, Eleanor, and an unknown daughter who died young. He also had several illegitimate children.


Their son, Robert (Count of the Hiemois) established himself at Falaise in 1026. He met Herleve, a young girl of the town and brought her to his castle and slept with her. Her father’s name was probably “Fulbert”, a tanner. Robert became Duke of Normandy after the sudden and suspicious death of his older brother Richard in early August 1027.


His illegitimate son, William (the Conqueror), by Herleve of Falais, was probably born in the autumn of 1028. At the age of seven, William succeeded his father as Duke William II of Normandy, when Robert died in early July 1035 at Bythinian Nicaea in Asia Minor while returning from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Thirty years later, when Edward the Confessor died, William claimed that Edward had promised him the succession to the throne of England. When his claim was rejected, he obtained papal approval for an invasion of England and defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings on Saturday 14 October 1066. William the Conqueror was crowned King William I of England at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. In 1053, William married his cousin, Matilda, daughter of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders. Their children were Robert “Curthose,” William “Rufus”, who became King William II (1087-1100), Henry “Beauclerc”, who became King Henry I (1100-1135), and Adela.


Primary sources:


1. William the Conqueror by D.C. Douglas


2. Icelandic Sagas, and other historical documents relating to the settlements and descents of the Northmen in The British Isles, Vol. III: The Orkneyingers’ Saga, with appendices; translated by Sir G. W. Dasent, printed for Her Majesty’s stationery office, London, 1894.


Culled from:




Part 3.


Here is the line of descent summarized (generation level numbered on left):


1. Fornjot (ruler of Finland and Kvenland). Born ca. 550 AD.

2. Third son of Fornjot was Kari, whose son was:

3. Frost, who was the father of

4. Snow the Old, whose son was:

5. Thorri, King of Finland

6. Thorri’s two sons were Norr and Gorr

7. Gorr’s sons were Heiti and Beiti

8. Heiti was father of Sveidi the Sea-King, whose son was

9. Halfdan the Old, whose son was

10. Ivar the Uplanders’ Earl, whose son was

11. Eystein the Noisy, whose son was

12. Rognvald, Earl of More, Mighty and Wise in Council. (Ninth Century A.D.)

13. Rognvald’s son was Hrolf (Rollo), King of Normandy (died ca. 933 AD). Picture (of statue in Fargo, ND):



       Rollo King of Normandy [See note on Rollo at end of this page]


14. Rollo’s son was William Longsword (murdered 942) - mother was Poppa; from her, four generations back to Guillaume of Gellone.

15. His son was Duke Richard I (died 996)

16. His son was Duke Richard II (died 1026); married Judith of Brittany

17. Their son was Robert, Count of Heimois and Duke of Normandy

18. His son was William, Conqueror of England in Battle of Hastings, 1066 AD. Picture:





19. / 20. His son was Henry I, whose son married Eleanor of Aquitaine and Became Henry II, King of England. From there the line picks up with the Plantagenets, and runs:


20. King Henry II

21. King John Lackland
22. King Henry III
23. King Edward I
24. King Edward II
25. King Edward Plantagenet III
26. Thomas Plantagenet (Prince)
27. Anne Plantagenet (Duchess)
28. John Bourchier (Duke)
29. Humphrey Bourchier (Sir)
30. Anna Bourchier (Lady)
31. Thomas Fiennes (Sir Knight)
32. Thomas Fiennes (Baron Dacre)
33. Margaret Fiennes (Baroness Dacre)
34. Elizabeth Lennard
35. Thomas Barnham
36. Richard Barnum
37. Bethuel Barnum
38. Israel Barnum
39. Caleb Barnum
40. Joseph Corey Barnum
41. Lucy Permelia Barnum
42. Anna May Moreland
43. Beatrice Moreland Riffle
44. William Barnum Jenkins
45. Cynthia Ann Jenkins (Davidson) / William Barnum Jenkins, Jr. / John Major Jenkins / Donald Walter Jenkins

Note on Rollo. According to the research of Canadian author David Livingstone:

"The Sinclairs were descendants of Guillaume de Gellone, through his great-great-granddaughter, Poppa of Bavaria, who married the Viking leader, Rollo Ragnvaldsson. Among Rollo's descendants was William the Conqueror of Normandy. The Sinclairs, or St. Clair, were given various other castles around France. However, they all went to England with the Conqueror. One Sinclair, though, named William, did not like the Conqueror, so with some other discontented barons, he went to Scotland and placed himself in the service of King Malcolm III of Scotland."

This means that Guillaume de Gellone (William of Orange, King of Septimania and the subject of several important medieval chansons de geste as well as Wolfram von Eschenbach's Wilhelm) is a direct ancestor. Livingstone can probably be trusted on his genealogy, although the specific source for the lineage is not stated. The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail cite a French study as one example of how well established the descent lines of this William of Orange are. They also state that William of Orange is "part of" the blood line that established the duchy of Aquitaine, but it seems unclear as to whether he was a direct ancestor, or a brother of the source of that line. At any rate, the line from the Jenkins commoners of today through William the Conqueror, Rolla & Poppa, and four generations further back brings us directly to Guillaume de Gellone. Livingstone supports the theory that Guillaume's father (Theoderic or Thierry; Aymeric in the chansons) was Rabbi Makhir, an Exilarch from the middle east who ruled the Jews in Baghdad. He married Alda, the aunt of Charlemagne, and was appointed “King of the Jews” in the Languedoc, with his capital the city of Narbonne. As mentioned, Guillaume (their son), was established as King of Septimania. (See Livingstone's book The Dying God: The Hidden History of Western Civilization). Some sources examining Jewish documents trace the family line of this Rabbi Makhir back to King David, the biblical progenitor of the House of David to which Jesus belonged.