Theodora Kalusine Komnena, Queen of Jersualem

Theodora Kalusine Komnena, Queen of Jersualem was born about 1145 to Isaac Komnenas and Eirene Synadene. When she was about twelve she was married off to Baldwin III to strengthen ties to the Byzantine Empire and to help support him against Nur al-Din, the Sultan of Syria. She was presented the city of Acre as a dowery and was to be given to her if Baldwin died without children which is what happened. His death left her a teenage widow, rich and beautiful. Such a situation is ripe for scandal and of course it occurred. Her father’s cousin, Andronikos, Lord of Beirut came to town. He was a married man but that hadn’t stopped him before carrying on an affair with Phillipa (sister to Prince Bohemed II of Antioch and sister in law to Emperor Manuel who himself was a maternal uncle to Theodora). He and Theodora ran off to Damasus under the protection of Nur al-Din. None of her family was happy with the situation, nor were her in-laws. Adultery, incest and elopement by a member of royalty were all crimes and a straight ticket to the lands of excommunication. While she was gone with her elict romance her lands in Acre reverted to her brother in law King Almeric who managed to keep the peace that Theodora’s marriage was to have created by marrying another Byzantine Princess.

Theodora and Andronikos had two children together while on the lam, Alexios and Eirene but she and the children were eventually captured and turned over to Manuel as a way to force Andronikos out of hiding. In 1180 he did and subnitted to Manuel. In 1183 Andronikos overthrew Manuel’s son and became Emperor of Constantiople but there are no records as to whether or not Theodora joined him there. However they were at least still in contact when Eirene was married to one of Manuel’s illegitimate sons and later when Theordora’s nephew Isaac needed ransomed. Unfortunately, he was not greatful and later took control of Cyprus. Andronikos did not have a happy ending, he became paranoid as he aged and the populace turned against him.


George Norton and Mary Machias

Mary Machias Norton Fowler was born between 1613 and 1615 in England. In about 1635 she married George Norton a tavern owner and carpenter with whom she had eleven children, ten of which lived past infancy. She became a member of the Salem Church on September 4, 1637. George died between June and September of 1659. She remarried, this time to Philip Fowler on February 27, 1660. She died November 4, 1694 in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts.
George Norton was born in 1610 in England. He immigrated to Salem arriving in April of 1629 as part of the Higginston Fleet, which was the Mayflower’s 14th trip. He became a member of Salem Church on May 14, 1634 (along with William Hathorne an ancestor of Nathaniel Hawthorne and one of the judges at the Salem Witch Trials.) He held a number of offices such as: “Essex jury, 27 March 1638, 25 June 1639, 30 June 1641. Deputy of the Salem marshal (apparently for Gloucester), 2 November 1642. Essex grand jury (for Salem), 24 November 1657. Essex trial jury, 28 June 1659 (which helps pinpoint his death).Gloucester deputy to General Court, 8 September 1642, 10 May 1643. Gloucester member of committee on bounds between Ipswich and Gloucester, 3 May 1642. Commissioner to end small causes at Gloucester, 10 May 1643. On 29 May 1644 it was “ordered, (at the request of the town of Glocester,) that George Norton (as their eldest sergeant) shall exercise their military company”.” 1 He also left a sizeable estate that Mary was the executrix over.


Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation, Volume 2
William Richard Cutter Edward Henry Clement Samuel Hart Mary Kingsbury Talcott Frederick Bostwick Ezra S. Stearns January 1, 1911
Lewis historical Publishing Company

Adelaide of Maurienne



Adelaide of Maurienne, also known as Adelaide of Savoy was born November 18, 1092 in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, France to Humbert II of Savoy and Gisela of Burgundy. On August 3 1115, she became the second wife of King Louis VI (Louis the Fat) with whom she had eight children. During her time as queen she was extremely politically active, more so than any other medieval French queen. They both signed most of the royal charters from this time. She was also known for providing for the Church and the pair founded Ste Pierre at Montmartre, which is north of Paris. When Louis died in 1137 she did not take herself to the nunnery as was common. Instead, she remarried in 1141. Her second husband was Matthew I of Montmorency who was the widower of Henry I’s daughter Alice Fitzroy. Adelaide and Matthew had one child. She retired to the abbey she and Louis had founded in 1153 and died on November 18. 1154 and is buried there as well.


Migration Monday Rachel Jenkins


Rachel Jenkins was born April 21, 1852 (ish some some census records vary) in Ystradgynlais, Breconshire, Wales to Rachel Davies and possibly a David Jenkins. There were multiple Davids and Rachels in the village and it is hard to determine who is who (also, in Unionize by her son Wyndam Mortimer her parents are listed as William and Sarah but that doesn’t match up to some of the legal documents). David is the signature of father on her marriage license and in the baby book for her grandson George Ivor. In about 1857 David died leaving Rachel with three children to raise and a blind mother. The dates may be off because census records indicate a fourth child was born in 1863 but we all know how that works. No matter what happened to David, Rachel Davies Jenkins was in a pinch with more mouths to feed that she could afford through her embroidery. To help solve this problem young Rachel Jenkins was sent off to work at a nearby farm as farm labor. She helped with kitchen work, tending the children and such but she also did some fieldwork. In her early teens her flinging bails of hay caught the eye of a young English man, Thomas George Mortimer, who drove cattle from Wales to the markets in London. He too came from a poor home and had started working at 10 to help support his siblings. He was interested in the young girl but he only spoke English and she only spoke Welsh but apparently they made it work. When arriving home from that particular drive Thomas learned his mother had died and deciding he had no more reason to walk back and forth with cows when he could work in Wales in the mines that’s what he did. He walked back to be near Rachel and worked in the mines. They married on February 9, 1873 in the District of Neath, County of Glamorgan Brecon in Wales. They immigrated to America and came to Pennsylvania on September 19, 1881. Their first three were born in Wales, including their son Benjamin who died at or near birth. The next six were all born in Pennsylvania, including two others who died in infancy Gomer and John. Thomas worked in the mines in Pennsylvania and found them just as difficult as the ones they left in Wales but this time with no supports and they debated on moving home. They stayed though and much of their earlier years is told in Wyndham’s introduction in his book. Including tales of Thomas not allowing his children to tease a black man whom he had invited to dinner. They later moved to Lorain, Ohio where Thomas and his sons worked in the mills which were vastly safer than the mines. Rachel died November 30, 1920 in Lorain, Ohio, never having learned to read or write.


Welsh and US census records

Marriage Licensce of Thomas and Rachel Mortimer

Babybook of George Ivor Mortimer

Unionize by Wyndham Mortimer (Though his book does not always match records)

Family history compiles by their great granddaughter Lila and gifted to me.

Ermentrude of Orléans



Ermentrude of Orléans (also known as Hirmentrude and Irmintrud) was born September 27, 823 in France. She was the daughter of Odo, Count of Orléans and Engeltrude of Fezensac. On December 13, 842 she married Charles the Bald and proceeded to have about 10 kids (some records say only 9). The marriage made her Empress of the Holy Roman Empire and Queen of West Francia (yeah we didn’t leave the Frankish queens completely yet). Other than popping out heirs her hobbies were embroidery, which she was renowned for and abbeys. Charles presented her with the Abbey of Chelles and at least four of her children entered the church though Lothar didn’t remain there. In 866 her brother William was charged with treason and was executed by her husband. She didn’t appreciate that much at left him to join a nunnery. She died October 6, 869 and is buried at Basilique Saint-Denis, Paris, France.


Ermesinde of Carcassonne



Ermesinde of Carcassonne was born about 972 in France, she was the daughter Roger I of Carcassonne. In 993 she married Ramon Borell with whom she had three children, Borrell Ramon (who died as a child), Berenguer Ramon and Estefania, also known as Adelaide. She was politically active through her husband’s life, where she presided over tribunals and assemblies and dealt with finances and when he died in 1018 she became regent for their son. Berenguer Ramon I died a in 1035 and she became regent again for her grandson. During her lifetime they were often at war with the Muslims in Iberia, her son wasn’t big on warring but mom sure was since their presence and her son’s attempts at peace irritated the nobles. She was also the driving force behind Pope Victor II excommunicating grandson Ramon Berenguer I and Almodis de la Marche (yeah remember them). She continued as regent until 1044 when she was declared too old. She died March 1, 1058 in Cataluna, Spain and is buried at Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona


Migration Monday Anna Brecht Frey

For today’s inaugural Migrant Monday post I will be introducing Anna Marie Brecht Frey. She was born August 15, 1856 in Rinboussia, Germany. She immigrated to the United States with her parents, Mathias and Barbara Halt Brecht (though prior spellings had it as Briet and a few other variants) in May of 1872 and settled in Pittsburgh where she married John Jacob Frey who had come here at the same time. Anna had America, she spent her life longing to return to her home. The couple had nine children. She died in her son, Nicholas Jame’s in law’s home in South Heights, Pennsylvania on May 29, 1926 having outlived John by about a decade.

Luitgarde of Vermandois

Luitgarde of Vermandois was born about 914 to Herbert II of Vermandois and Adele, daughter of Robert I of France. She was countess of Vermandois and later became duchess consort of Normandy. Her first husband, William I of Normandy (William Longsword) died without them having any children, it was a short-lived event lasting only from 940 to 942. She later married Theobald I of Blois in 943 and had four children with him, Theobald, Hugh, Odo and Emma. She died February 9, 978.




Bertrade de Montfort , Queen Consort of the Franks


Bertrade de Montfort , Queen Consort of the Franks was born around 1070 to Simon I de Montfort and Agnes, Countess of Evreux. Her parents died while she was a teen and she was left to the guardianship of her older brother, Amaury. She was married to Fulk IV, Count of Anjou also known as Fulk le Réchin, about 1089 (she was his fifth known wife, he like to repudiate his wives) and they had a son together, Fulk, Count of Anjou and King of Jerusalem. With Fulk having a nickname that seems to indicate he was a bit of a jerk and with contemporary chronicler, John of Marmoutier claimed, “The lecherous Fulk then fell passionately in love with the sister of Amaury de Montfort, whom no good man ever praised save for her beauty.”1 This sounds like a “bad boy” fell in love with a “bad girl” which is probably right since in 1092 she ran off or was “kidnapped” by King Philip I of France. The pair married on May 15, 1092 much to the chagrin of their spouses. Bertrade didn’t see it as a big deal and expected Philip and Fulk to be friends. Philip repudiated Bertha claiming that she got too fat and locked her up in the fortress of Montreuil sur Mer. Neither Hugh of Die nor Pope Urban II agreed and the pair was excommunicated. In 1095 and poor Philip wasn’t allowed to run off and join the First Crusade. Philip and Betrade had three children, Philip, Fleury and Cecile.

Bertrade made the annals of another chronicler, this time, Orderic Vitalis, who claimed that she was so concerned with making sure one of her sons succeeded Philip that she wrote to Henry I of England to have Philip’s oldest son, Louis, arrested. (Some claimed she was behind the death of his son Geoffroy on May 19, 1106 from a ‘friendly fire’ arrow.) He also claimed she used witchcraft and poison against her stepson but to no avail, he succeeded his father in 1108. Betrade lived on and according to William of Malmesbury, a 12th Century historian and monk “Bertrade, still young and beautiful, took the veil at Fontevraud Abbey, always charming to men, pleasing to God, and like an angel.”, 1 Not sure about witchcraft and joining a convent a few years later but stranger things have happened. She died February 14, 1117.

Sources 1,_Count_of_Anjou