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vcczar

Who is the Most Disharmonious President?

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I was considering this question while waiting for a doctor's appointment. Here's a list of the presidents who were so disharmonious that they were often at odds with their own party:

Tier 1: Presidents at odds with their party, and often at war, and attacking their own party. 

  • Andrew Jackson lost the Calhoun wing of the Democratic Party. They were at war. Calhoun resigned as Jackson's VP over their many disagreements. The Nullification Crises saw Calhoun Democrats briefly ally with the Whigs. 
  • John Tyler was a States Rights Whig who had much more in common with Democrats than Whigs. He vetoed the major legislation passed by his own party. In response, Tyler was kicked out of the Whig party, becoming the only president to be partyless by force. The Democrats didn't trust him and wouldn't take him in. He briefly considered running as his own third party in a reelection bid but ultimately supported Democrat James K. Polk. 
  • James Buchanan was in open warfare with Stephen A Douglas's wing of the party. This wasn't even remotely concealed. Buchanan resented that Douglas challenged him in the 1856 election, and he also resented that Douglas was clearly going to be his successor. As such, Buchanan micromanaged any sort of executive issue that might in some way involve Stephen A Douglas, perversely seeking to do as much harm to Douglas as possible. It was a weird obsession considering he seemed so lackadaisical that states were seceding. This feud set the seeds for both Republican Party success and for the 1860 Democratic split between Douglas and Breckinridge Democrats (the latter was Buchanan's VP). Buchanan endorsed Breckinridge. One reason Buchanan is often considered the worst president is that he pretty much was disastrous on every level, including as a party leader.  He was petty. 
  • Andrew Johnson, like Tyler, was a VP on a party ticket that he shouldn't have been on. When he took over the administration, he tried to satisfy Lincoln's memory by operating as if he were a Republican, filling appointments and such under the ticket for which he was elected. However, Radical Republicans and Johnson quickly went to war with one another. Johnson was so defiant that he was impeached and was saved from conviction by a vote. Like with Tyler, Democrats did not want Johnson. He received some votes in the 1868 Democratic Convention, but he was not trusted. 
  • Ulysses S. Grant had a strange relation with his party. Liberal Republicans (anti-corruption Republicans of various ideologies) broke away from Grant to run against him, but Grant didn't openly go to war with them, possibly because he knew his reelection chances weren't in doubt. Grant more often went to war with his own administration. He would fire and shun anyone that he thought might harm his reputation (removed some anti-corruption cabinet members who were trying to uproot corruption and fired and shunned one of his closest friends who criticized him publicly). He also would fire cabinet members and remove a VP that were considering running against him. He's a rare instance in which his disharmony was focused primarily on his inner circle. 
  • Donald Trump, outside rants in respond to the investigations and impeachment attempts, seems to attack his own party just as much as he attacks Democrats. He has made little attempt to conceal anger from the public when a member of the GOP contradicts him. He's gone so far as to go out of his way to slander the war record of McCain, including attack McCain as he was dying and during the mourning period following McCain's death. He's called for Mitt Romney's impeachment. He's publicly insulted Jeff Flake, John Kasich, Bill Weld, and any other inter-party critic. Trump is the first disharmonious president since before Ronald Reagan. He's clearly tier 1. 

Tier 2: Presidents at odds with their party, and often at war, but refrained from attacking their own party. 

  • John Adams, who purged his cabinet of Hamilton's men. Hamilton worked against Adams's reelection bid. Adams didn't publicly attack Hamilton though. 
  • John Quincy Adams is here only because every one was pretty much a Jeffersonian Republican when he was president. The party was completely fragmented. Adams attempted harmony, but it was war before he was sworn in. 
  • William Henry Harrison, who in the brief month of his presidency was in a covert war with Henry Clay. While Clay was crucial in getting Harrison elected, Harrison resented Clay's attempt to carry on as party leader even after Harrison was president. Harrison tried to shun Clay and shifted to using Webster as his main ally in Congress. Clay didn't except this and attempted to exert his influence against Webster and Harrison. While a full-fledged war didn't occur, had Harrison lived, it might have resulted in a John Tyler situation in which Harrison might have been evicted from the party if Henry Clay had his way. 
  • James K Polk didn't really engage in war with his own party, but a segment of Democrats, known as Free Soil Democrats, broke away from the Democrats during Polk's term to form a brief 3rd party. 
  • Zachary Taylor might have been elevated to tier 1 had he lived longer. He planned on vetoing the Compromise of 1850 and to use federal troops to quell any secession attempt following the veto. The States Rights Whigs---many who believed Taylor was one of them--opposed Taylor's threat. 
  • Grover Cleveland's wing (Bourbon or Gold Democrats) and William Jennings Bryan's wings (Populists or Silver Democrats) would be at war with each other for 20 years. Cleveland was respectful as president and operated according to his ideology, mostly ignoring any attempt to escalate the inter-party war. 
  • Theodore Roosevelt and Conservative Republican Speaker Joseph Cannon were consistently at odds. Cannon was a bigger impediment than the Democrats to Roosevelt. 
  • William Howard Taft saw his party split into two, but Taft wasn't one to get into a fist fight. 
  • Harry S Truman saw progressives and traditionalist Democrats break off an form two separate 3rd parties. By most refusing to antagonize them further, he was able to win back most of their support in order to upset Thomas Dewey in 1948. 
  • Jimmy Carter seems like a monk in his post-presidency, but he was a mess as a politician. His own party often voted against him in Congress, causing legislation to fail despite holding a huge majority. He saw a lot of cabinet turnover too. Finally, he was challenged by Ted Kennedy when he ran for reelection. The problem is that Carter ran as a Washington outsider and then aimed to maintain the image while in Washington. This moved Congress against him, and as a former governor, he expected that Congresses job was to do what the president told them. He was wrong. 

Tier 3: Presidents at odds with their own party, but did their best to avoid escalating disagreements. 

  • James Madison, faces strong opposition briefly from Monroe's wing of the party and from Monroe's allies John Randolph's wing of the party. Madison silently isolated Monroe for about a year, forcing Monroe to get along, but Madison also needed the support that Monroe fans would give his administration. 
  • James Monroe's party fractured towards the end of his 2nd term, but he made no effort to engage or lead. Monroe upset the Conservatives by moderating quickly. He upset the Liberals for being indecisive about modernization. Monroe killed the party of Jefferson. 
  • Millard Fillmore was pretty much ignored as a leader of the Whig Party. The liberal, abolitionist wing led by Seward assumed party control. The conservative wing didn't trust Fillmore as he was from New York. The party fragmented soon after Fillmore signed the Compromise of 1850. Fillmore didn't engage in the factional breakup (similar to Monroe).
  • Abraham Lincoln dropped liberal abolitionist Hannibal Hamlin as VP for a pro-Union Democrat in 1864. This, among other attempts to harmonize the country, resulted in a brief attempt by Radical Republicans to run a 3rd party ticket against Lincoln, which might have led to Democrats winning in 1864. Lincoln did not engage in a war with his party, allowing battlefield victories to bring his party back together. 
  • Chester A Arthur was not really disharmonious. He refused to lead and didn't seem to mind that his own party didn't seem to take him seriously as a party leader. Despite an attempt at renomination, he was not renominated. 
  • Calvin Coolidge saw Wisconsin Progressives temporarily break way from his party, but Coolidge kept silent, possibly because they were no threat to his reelection. 
  • FDR was often at odds with Conservative Democrats, both in the North and in the South. However, he was able to mollify them almost at every term, often by compromising on Civil Rights issues or by shifting government funding to more conservative states. 
  • JFK lost many Deep South Democrats, but he avoided going to war with them. 
  • LBJ, similar to JFK, lost support of Deep South Democrats, but he also lost support of Progressive Democrats over the Vietnam War. He faced two major challenged and dropped out of a reelection bid. Nevertheless, LBJ didn't publicly attack his own party. 
  • Richard Nixon didn't go to war with his own party, despite upsetting both liberals and conservatives throughout his first term as president. He was challenged from the left and right during his reelection bid, but perhaps by veering to the center and engaging in a Southern Strategy, he was able to pick up traditionally Democratic votes, which helped him win a landslide. Nixon also did not attack his party once they compelled him to resign. His Saturday Night Massacre had more to do with trying to save his own hide than it had to do with politics. 
  • Ford, like other VPs that finish a term, was not accepted as the party leader. He saw a strong challenge from Ronald Reagan in the primaries. Ford remained respectful despite an inter-party war.  

What's interesting is that Reagan through Obama have been relatively harmonious at the party level, possibly because the 1980 election saw relative ideological consistency within the party as left-leaning Republicans opted for the Democrats and right-leaning Democrats opted for the Republicans over time. 

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1 hour ago, vcczar said:

I was considering this question while waiting for a doctor's appointment. Here's a list of the presidents who were so disharmonious that they were often at odds with their own party:

Tier 1: Presidents at odds with their party, and often at war, and attacking their own party. 

  • Andrew Jackson lost the Calhoun wing of the Democratic Party. They were at war. Calhoun resigned as Jackson's VP over their many disagreements. The Nullification Crises saw Calhoun Democrats briefly ally with the Whigs. 
  • John Tyler was a States Rights Whig who had much more in common with Democrats than Whigs. He vetoed the major legislation passed by his own party. In response, Tyler was kicked out of the Whig party, becoming the only president to be partyless by force. The Democrats didn't trust him and wouldn't take him in. He briefly considered running as his own third party in a reelection bid but ultimately supported Democrat James K. Polk. 
  • James Buchanan was in open warfare with Stephen A Douglas's wing of the party. This wasn't even remotely concealed. Buchanan resented that Douglas challenged him in the 1856 election, and he also resented that Douglas was clearly going to be his successor. As such, Buchanan micromanaged any sort of executive issue that might in some way involve Stephen A Douglas, perversely seeking to do as much harm to Douglas as possible. It was a weird obsession considering he seemed so lackadaisical that states were seceding. This feud set the seeds for both Republican Party success and for the 1860 Democratic split between Douglas and Breckinridge Democrats (the latter was Buchanan's VP). Buchanan endorsed Breckinridge. One reason Buchanan is often considered the worst president is that he pretty much was disastrous on every level, including as a party leader.  He was petty. 
  • Andrew Johnson, like Tyler, was a VP on a party ticket that he shouldn't have been on. When he took over the administration, he tried to satisfy Lincoln's memory by operating as if he were a Republican, filling appointments and such under the ticket for which he was elected. However, Radical Republicans and Johnson quickly went to war with one another. Johnson was so defiant that he was impeached and was saved from conviction by a vote. Like with Tyler, Democrats did not want Johnson. He received some votes in the 1868 Democratic Convention, but he was not trusted. 
  • Ulysses S. Grant had a strange relation with his party. Liberal Republicans (anti-corruption Republicans of various ideologies) broke away from Grant to run against him, but Grant didn't openly go to war with them, possibly because he knew his reelection chances weren't in doubt. Grant more often went to war with his own administration. He would fire and shun anyone that he thought might harm his reputation (removed some anti-corruption cabinet members who were trying to uproot corruption and fired and shunned one of his closest friends who criticized him publicly). He also would fire cabinet members and remove a VP that were considering running against him. He's a rare instance in which his disharmony was focused primarily on his inner circle. 
  • Donald Trump, outside rants in respond to the investigations and impeachment attempts, seems to attack his own party just as much as he attacks Democrats. He has made little attempt to conceal anger from the public when a member of the GOP contradicts him. He's gone so far as to go out of his way to slander the war record of McCain, including attack McCain as he was dying and during the mourning period following McCain's death. He's called for Mitt Romney's impeachment. He's publicly insulted Jeff Flake, John Kasich, Bill Weld, and any other inter-party critic. Trump is the first disharmonious president since before Ronald Reagan. He's clearly tier 1. 

Tier 2: Presidents at odds with their party, and often at war, but refrained from attacking their own party. 

  • John Adams, who purged his cabinet of Hamilton's men. Hamilton worked against Adams's reelection bid. Adams didn't publicly attack Hamilton though. 
  • John Quincy Adams is here only because every one was pretty much a Jeffersonian Republican when he was president. The party was completely fragmented. Adams attempted harmony, but it was war before he was sworn in. 
  • William Henry Harrison, who in the brief month of his presidency was in a covert war with Henry Clay. While Clay was crucial in getting Harrison elected, Harrison resented Clay's attempt to carry on as party leader even after Harrison was president. Harrison tried to shun Clay and shifted to using Webster as his main ally in Congress. Clay didn't except this and attempted to exert his influence against Webster and Harrison. While a full-fledged war didn't occur, had Harrison lived, it might have resulted in a John Tyler situation in which Harrison might have been evicted from the party if Henry Clay had his way. 
  • James K Polk didn't really engage in war with his own party, but a segment of Democrats, known as Free Soil Democrats, broke away from the Democrats during Polk's term to form a brief 3rd party. 
  • Zachary Taylor might have been elevated to tier 1 had he lived longer. He planned on vetoing the Compromise of 1850 and to use federal troops to quell any secession attempt following the veto. The States Rights Whigs---many who believed Taylor was one of them--opposed Taylor's threat. 
  • Grover Cleveland's wing (Bourbon or Gold Democrats) and William Jennings Bryan's wings (Populists or Silver Democrats) would be at war with each other for 20 years. Cleveland was respectful as president and operated according to his ideology, mostly ignoring any attempt to escalate the inter-party war. 
  • Theodore Roosevelt and Conservative Republican Speaker Joseph Cannon were consistently at odds. Cannon was a bigger impediment than the Democrats to Roosevelt. 
  • William Howard Taft saw his party split into two, but Taft wasn't one to get into a fist fight. 
  • Harry S Truman saw progressives and traditionalist Democrats break off an form two separate 3rd parties. By most refusing to antagonize them further, he was able to win back most of their support in order to upset Thomas Dewey in 1948. 
  • Jimmy Carter seems like a monk in his post-presidency, but he was a mess as a politician. His own party often voted against him in Congress, causing legislation to fail despite holding a huge majority. He saw a lot of cabinet turnover too. Finally, he was challenged by Ted Kennedy when he ran for reelection. The problem is that Carter ran as a Washington outsider and then aimed to maintain the image while in Washington. This moved Congress against him, and as a former governor, he expected that Congresses job was to do what the president told them. He was wrong. 

Tier 3: Presidents at odds with their own party, but did their best to avoid escalating disagreements. 

  • James Madison, faces strong opposition briefly from Monroe's wing of the party and from Monroe's allies John Randolph's wing of the party. Madison silently isolated Monroe for about a year, forcing Monroe to get along, but Madison also needed the support that Monroe fans would give his administration. 
  • James Monroe's party fractured towards the end of his 2nd term, but he made no effort to engage or lead. Monroe upset the Conservatives by moderating quickly. He upset the Liberals for being indecisive about modernization. Monroe killed the party of Jefferson. 
  • Millard Fillmore was pretty much ignored as a leader of the Whig Party. The liberal, abolitionist wing led by Seward assumed party control. The conservative wing didn't trust Fillmore as he was from New York. The party fragmented soon after Fillmore signed the Compromise of 1850. Fillmore didn't engage in the factional breakup (similar to Monroe).
  • Abraham Lincoln dropped liberal abolitionist Hannibal Hamlin as VP for a pro-Union Democrat in 1864. This, among other attempts to harmonize the country, resulted in a brief attempt by Radical Republicans to run a 3rd party ticket against Lincoln, which might have led to Democrats winning in 1864. Lincoln did not engage in a war with his party, allowing battlefield victories to bring his party back together. 
  • Chester A Arthur was not really disharmonious. He refused to lead and didn't seem to mind that his own party didn't seem to take him seriously as a party leader. Despite an attempt at renomination, he was not renominated. 
  • Calvin Coolidge saw Wisconsin Progressives temporarily break way from his party, but Coolidge kept silent, possibly because they were no threat to his reelection. 
  • FDR was often at odds with Conservative Democrats, both in the North and in the South. However, he was able to mollify them almost at every term, often by compromising on Civil Rights issues or by shifting government funding to more conservative states. 
  • JFK lost many Deep South Democrats, but he avoided going to war with them. 
  • LBJ, similar to JFK, lost support of Deep South Democrats, but he also lost support of Progressive Democrats over the Vietnam War. He faced two major challenged and dropped out of a reelection bid. Nevertheless, LBJ didn't publicly attack his own party. 
  • Richard Nixon didn't go to war with his own party, despite upsetting both liberals and conservatives throughout his first term as president. He was challenged from the left and right during his reelection bid, but perhaps by veering to the center and engaging in a Southern Strategy, he was able to pick up traditionally Democratic votes, which helped him win a landslide. Nixon also did not attack his party once they compelled him to resign. His Saturday Night Massacre had more to do with trying to save his own hide than it had to do with politics. 
  • Ford, like other VPs that finish a term, was not accepted as the party leader. He saw a strong challenge from Ronald Reagan in the primaries. Ford remained respectful despite an inter-party war.  

What's interesting is that Reagan through Obama have been relatively harmonious at the party level, possibly because the 1980 election saw relative ideological consistency within the party as left-leaning Republicans opted for the Democrats and right-leaning Democrats opted for the Republicans over time. 

To respond to my own question. I would give this as the top 5 list for most disharmonious president:

1. Andrew Johnson

2. John Tyler

3. James Buchanan

4. Donald Trump

5. Andrew Jackson

 

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32 minutes ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

IIRC Franklin Pierce alienated both abolitionists and slave-owners as a Democrat.

 

33 minutes ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

I'm not as much a history buff but wasn't Franklin Pierce kind of a dick too?

He might belong on this list too, but he was relatively harmonious compared to the other. This list is mostly about interparty disharmony. He certainly upset Republicans and the dying Whig party, but there wasn't the inter-party strife that Buchanan or Polk had. For the most part, abolitionists within the party had left the party. He's also the only president to serve a full term without any turnover in his cabinet. While a Northerner, he filled his cabinet with Southerners. He appeased the NY faction too. For his part, he didn't reserve his public attacks on fellow party members either. 

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20 minutes ago, vcczar said:

He's also the only president to serve a full term without any turnover in his cabinet.

Wow that's actually crazy. Didn't know that. Interesting.

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1 hour ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

Wow that's actually crazy. Didn't know that. Interesting.

Another fact is that Pierce is the president I’m most related to. I’m directly related to his great-grandfather which makes me 2nd cousin many generations removed. It’s a shame he’s one of my least favorite presidents. 

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2 minutes ago, vcczar said:

Another fact is that Pierce is the president I’m most related to. I’m directly related to his great-grandfather which makes me 2nd cousin many generations removed. It’s a shame he’s one of my least favorite presidents. 

No freakin way so am I. We're cousins then. (my most famous direct relation to any famous American is to Pocahontas, my 13th great grandmother)

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2 minutes ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

No freakin way so am I. We're cousins then. (my most famous direct relation to any famous American is to Pocahontas, my 13th great grandmother)

Do you have any New England ancestors. Most of my American colonial ancestors are in Massachusetts. All my Southern ancestors (dad’s side) are Germans and Slavic Germans that came over in the 2nd half of the 1800s to Texas. I also have Czechs on my mom’s side and German’s too. My longest lines are English on my mom’s side. You must have Virginians to have Pocahontas. 

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Just now, vcczar said:

Do you have any New England ancestors. Most of my American colonial ancestors are in Massachusetts. All my Southern ancestors (dad’s side) are Germans and Slavic Germans that came over in the 2nd half of the 1800s to Texas. I also have Czechs on my mom’s side and German’s too. My longest lines are English on my mom’s side. You must have Virginians to have Pocahontas. 

My dad's side comes from the South (coal miners and moonshiners up al the way until my grandfather, though he did it in his youth) and Germany (directly related to Nazis - giving @Patine free ammo here). My mom's side is English royalty (mostly Dukes of no-name places) and also Southerners (my great grandfather's name was "Stonewall") so I guess we have pretty much the same ethnicity lmao.

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9 minutes ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

No freakin way so am I. We're cousins then. (my most famous direct relation to any famous American is to Pocahontas, my 13th great grandmother)

Do you call Warren your fake grandma then?  😂 

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Just now, ThePotatoWalrus said:

My dad's side comes from the South (coal miners and moonshiners up al the way until my grandfather, though he did it in his youth) and Germany (directly related to Nazis - giving @Patine free ammo here). My mom's side is English royalty (mostly Dukes of no-name places) and also Southerners (my great grandfather's name was "Stonewall") so I guess we have pretty much the same ethnicity lmao.

Yeah I have 11 difference English immigrant ancestors with royal descent so we’re probably related. Edward I is my most recent proven royal ancestor. I might have more recent but I can’t prove the line. I don’t have any non-German Southerners. I’m guessing you don’t have any New England in you? How about PA or NJ? I have some of those. 

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1 minute ago, Dr. Insano said:

Do you call Warren your fake grandma then?  😂 

Lmao she wishes she had my genes. My other great grandmother was pure Cherokee and couldn't speak English. Wish I could renounce all Native blood in me though so I can grow better facial hair.

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Just now, vcczar said:

Yeah I have 11 difference English immigrant ancestors with royal descent so we’re probably related. Edward I is my most recent proven royal ancestor. I might have more recent but I can’t prove the line. I don’t have any non-German Southerners. I’m guessing you don’t have any New England in you? How about PA or NJ? I have some of those. 

I forget, never looked too closely except for famous people. I do know I'm related to a King Henry. I took a 23andme DNA thing that gave me statistics about myself based on my demographic. Not sure if I still have the login but congratulations! We're more likely to die of cancer than average.

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5 minutes ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

I forget, never looked too closely except for famous people. I do know I'm related to a King Henry. I took a 23andme DNA thing that gave me statistics about myself based on my demographic. Not sure if I still have the login but congratulations! We're more likely to die of cancer than average.

Fingers crossed on cancer. Just kidding. Yeah so we’re at least related then. If you find out if you have MA, CT, NJ, or PA ancestors, then PM me the surnames and I’ll instantly know if we’re related sooner. My last New England ancestor was my great grandmother, daughter of a famous naturalist Charles Johnson Maynard (who is on Wikipedia). She moved to Ohio and married the secretary of the Ohio progressive Republicans. He was also a failed US Rep candidate in 1912 (my great grandfather) and then the chief legal advisor to Woodrow Wilson’s sec of War during WW1. His son, my grandfather, is also the grandfather of Robby Mook, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager. I’ve never met him. 

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8 minutes ago, vcczar said:

If you find out if you have MA, CT, NJ, or PA ancestors, then PM me the surnames and I’ll instantly know if we’re related sooner.

About what timeframe?

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26 minutes ago, ThePotatoWalrus said:

About what timeframe?

1620s to 1920s for me. But the big New England migration period is 1620-1640. 

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15 minutes ago, vcczar said:

1620s to 1920s for me. But the big New England migration period is 1620-1640. 

I've got heaps of colonial Virginia ancestors.

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4 minutes ago, Reagan04 said:

I've got heaps of colonial Virginia ancestors.

Any outside of VA? If you give me a list of surnames of Colonial VA I can tell you which have proven royal descent. I have a book with that information that was updated by the lead genealogist on the subject last year. 

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1 minute ago, vcczar said:

Any outside of VA? If you give me a list of surnames of Colonial VA I can tell you which have proven royal descent. I have a book with that information that was updated by the lead genealogist on the subject last year. 

Also me, most of mine are Virginian.

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Just now, ThePotatoWalrus said:

Also me, most of mine are Virginian.

Yeah if both you and @Reagan04 give me a list of surnames of colonial ancestors born before 1700, then I can go through the book and see if they match up. 

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1 hour ago, vcczar said:

Yeah if both you and @Reagan04 give me a list of surnames of colonial ancestors born before 1700, then I can go through the book and see if they match up. 

All of my known and traced pre-late 19th Century ancestors are from Scotland, England, or the Isle of Man.

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15 hours ago, Patine said:

All of my known and traced pre-late 19th Century ancestors are from Scotland, England, or the Isle of Man.

Any cool ancestors?

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15 hours ago, Patine said:

All of my known and traced pre-late 19th Century ancestors are from Scotland, England, or the Isle of Man.

I'm not as knowledgeable about genealogy research once it gets to ancestry outside of America. I know the basics. For instance, English ancestry can often be traced by to about 1550, because churches were required to record baptismal, marriage, and burial records at that time. Immigration records from England to the New World (whether Canada or US) are often missing, which makes establishing links to the home country really difficult. I have this issue with my Canadian ancestors. 

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