Researching for Pre-1500 Ancestors In Ancestral File

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Because the pre-1500 time period is one of extremely high duplication, we suggest that you use your limited time and valuable resources in the more recent areas of your pedigree. If you still feel strongly that you need to pursue this early time period, start first by looking for your ancestors in the Ancestral File. Many of the pedigrees that were compiled by the Medieval Unit of the Family History Library are in this file.

Finding a particular noble person in the Ancestral File can be a challenge. A nobleman might hold various titles and designations throughout his/her life. They generally had one or more given names with various additional titles or nicknames.  As the same person could be listed under a number of titles or designations, it was the policy when dealing with nobility in the Ancestral File to use the territory they ruled over, or were associated with, as a surname.

For example Ludwig V, was called "the Faithful" and was the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt. To find this person in the Ancestral File, one could search for him under the surname of either HESSE or DARMSTADT. His wife Magdalene, Margravine of Brandenburg, could be found by searching for BRANDENBURG as a surname. This was also true for kings. For example, Henry II, called "Plantagenet", King of England, also called Fitzempress, would be listed in the Ancestral File under the surname ENGLAND.