Some of you know I have been actively searching for information on my husband’s biological father, to no avail. Without a date of birth, the roadblocks have met me as well as friends who have tried to help me, at every turn. We have sent away to have his DNA tested, and are anxiously awaiting the results. In the meantime, I have become a fan of Ancestry.com. What began as a search for one person has turned into a dive head-first into my husbands biological tree, as well as my own. It’s fascinating to discover your history, and surprises seem to find me around every corner.
My husband has felt, for his entire life, that he is primarily Mexican, possibly some Spanish or Indian, and he wasn’t sure about the background of his Caucasian biological mother. One of his siblings recalled a grandparent that spoke Hungarian, but we had no information. Not only have we uncovered that his biological maternal grandmother was a Hungarian Jew that lost most of her family in Auschwitz, but I have been able to trace his biological maternal grandfather’s lineage back to 12th Century England, and I am still going! Rick had no idea he descending from the British, and in going over the well documented history of his family, he came from quite a prominent family.
I want to share one story that I found about Sir Robert Goushill, Lord of Hoveringham, my husbands 18th great grandfather. Bear with me through the facts of the history. You will see where it goes.
Sir Robert Goushill was knighted by King Henry IV at the battle of Shrewsbury on July 21, 1403. At the Battle of Shrewsbury, the loyalist forces of Henry IV were opposed by the rebel army of Henry Percy (Hotspur). The army of King Henry IV won the day with the killing of Hotspur during the conflict. Casualties were high on both sides with estimates of 3000 killed or wounded on both sides.
Sir Robert Goushill was knighted the day of the battle for his gallantry, but he would be badly wounded. Found lying wounded by his servant the evening of the battle, Goushill asked that his armor be removed and a note sent to his wife Elizabeth should he die. The servant stabbed and murdered Sir Robert Goushill and made off with his purse and ring. Another man that was lying wounded nearby recognized the servant, who was later caught and hung for the crime. The arms of Sir Robert Goushill would be placed in the Shrewsbury Battlefield Church by King Henry IV (ouch).
Elizabeth Fitz-Alan, the Duchess of Norfolk, had been a widow when she married Sir Robert Goushill in the latter part of 1400 or early 1401. They married without license, and on August 19, 1401, King Henry IV seized all of the lands that Elizabeth had inherited from her first marriage to the Duke of Norfolk for their trespass for intermarrying without a license. King Henry IV later pardoned Sir Robert and gave them back their land. Their daughter Joan Goushill was born in 1401 and daughter Elizabeth was born in 1402. Many present day descendants of these two daughters trace their ancestry to the Plantagenet Kings of England through Joan Goushill, who married Sir Thomas Stanley, 1st Baron Stanley and through Elizabeth Goushill, who married Sir Robert Wingfield of Letheringham, Suffolk.
Rick’s descent is through the Goushill-Wingfield marriage. Elizabeth Fitz-Alan’s mother was a direct descendant of King Edward I and Eleansor of Castile, and her father was a direct descendant of King Henry III and Eleanor or Provence. Elizabeth Goushill would live until 1425 and it is believed that she was buried in the same tomb with Sir Robert Goshill. Born in the reign of King Edward III, she would live through the reigns of Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, and into the reign of Henry VI. Through blood and marriage, she would be closely touched by nearly all of the events of this period of turbulence, violence and political turmoil in English history.
The 15th century alabaster tomb and effigies of Sir Robert Goushill and his wife, Elizabeth Fitz-Alan, Duchess of Norfolk, are found at the parish church of the village of Hoveringham in Nottinghamshire, England. The tomb is located just to the right as you enter the church. The effigies show effects of earlier vandalism and mutilation that occurred during earlier centuries. The right arms of both effigies were broken off. The couple had originally been holding hands. Sir Robert Goushill is shown wearing a camail and hawberk, and plate armor on his arms and legs. His feet rest upon the figure of a dog, and his collar shows the badge of his Lancastrian loyalty. Elizabeth is shown wearing a peeress gown with a coronet on her head emblematic of her rank as a Duchess. The tomb was created in 1403 after the death of Sir Robert by his widow Elizabeth, and she was laid to rest with him when she died. They had only been married a few short years, but they are together for eternity.
I love this story for so many reasons, the obvious being the love story of Robert and Elizabeth. My husband is part of lives much bigger than he could ever imagine. I think we all are. You are not the sum of your birth certificate or your adoption papers. Everyone descends from a story…..a big beautiful individual story. A series of events may have brought you to this place, but that does not define you, EVER.