Barry, My Liege :
One of my ancestors, Marcus Aurelius, was both a Roman Emperor and a philosopher ; his thoughts on living a happy life are indicated immediatley below.
'...Short then is the time which every man lives, and small the nook of the earth where he lives; and short too the longest posthumous fame, and even this only continued by a succession of poor human beings, who will very soon die, and who know not even themselves, much less him who died long ago.'
MEDITATIONS, Marcus Aurelius, Book 3,# 10
'If thou workest at that which is before thee, following right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly, without allowing anything else to distract thee, but keeping thy divine part pure, as if thou shouldst be bound to give it back immediately, fearing nothing, but satisfied with thy present activity according to nature, and with heroic truth in every word and sound which thou utterest, thou wilt live happy. And there is no man who is able to prevent this.'
MEDITATIONS, Marcus Aurelius, Book 3, # 12
Perhaps, My Liege, these words may offer some comfort.
Some of my ancestors achieved fame and notoriety while most did not. But, following Marcus Aurelius' proscriptions, life is only this moment since the past is infinite and dead and the future is equally infinite and unknowable.
Thus fame is not worthy of pursuit or worthwhle when obtained. For example, my surname of McKeever or MacIvor may possibly be related to a Norse invader of Scotland in the Ninth century named Iver. However, there appears to be no method of determining that with certainty since all records of Norse geneology in England and Scotland were destroyed in the Jocobite Risings of 1688 to 1746.
Here is a listing of some of the more famous of my ancestors for which records are readily available.
1. Marcus Aurelias Maximian De Rome
49th Great Grand Uncle - Marcus Aurelias Maximian De Rome, 121 AD to 180 AD.
2. Philip I of France
28th Great Grandfather - Philip I of France (23 May 1052 – 29 July 1108), called the Amorous.
3. William I The Conquerer
25th Great Grandfater, William I The Conquerer - William I (Old Norman: Williame I; circa 1028 - Frankrike, Jamtland, Sweden – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes as William the Bastard
Husband of 25th Great Grandmother Charlemagne (2 April 742 – 28 January 814), also known as Charles the Great (German: Karl der Große; Latin: Carolus or Karolus Magnus) or Charles I, was the King of the Franks from 768, the King of Italy from 774, the first Holy Roman Emperor, and the first emperor in western Europe since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier.
5. Henry II, King of England
22nd Great Grandfather Henry II, King of England was born 26 February 1133 in Le Mans, France to Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou and Maine (1113-1151) and Matilda of Normandy (1102-1167) and died 29 June 1189 in Chinon, France of unspecified causes.
5. King Edward I Longshanks Plantagenet
19th Great Grandfather Edward I (17 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots (Latin: Malleus Scotorum), was King of England from 1272 to 1307.
7. John Adams
1st Cousin 6x removed John Adams (October 30, 1735 (O.S. October 19, 1735) – July 4, 1826) was the second president of the United States (1797–1801), having earlier served as the first vice president of the United States. An American Founding Father, he was a statesman, diplomat, and a leading advocate of American independence from Great Britain.
Your faithful servant,
By the way, My Liege, one of the reasons I am happy to be an American is that notification of the fact of that ancestry as described above, so long as it is accompanied with two dollars, will obtain a good cup of coffee in many places.