Evidence from the genealogical study
Professor Kevin Schürer, the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor with special responsibility for Research and Enterprise, led a genealogical study to verify the connection between Canadian-born furniture maker Michael Ibsen and Richard III.
They also aimed to find other descendents of the King by exploring both the male and female lines of descent.
The team included David Annal, previously Principal Family History Specialist at the Family Records Centre, The National Archives, and Dr Morris Bierbrier, a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists, specializing in royal lineage.
The team found:
• Confirmation of the maternal link between Anne of York – Richard III’s sister – and Michael Ibsen’s mother Joy
• Documentary evidence for each ‘link’ of the chain between Anne of York and Joy Ibsen
• A second maternal descendent – who wishes to remain anonymous – whose DNA has been used to verify the link between the skeleton and Michael Ibsen.
Professor Kevin Schürer said:
“We wanted to try and verify the identity of the skeleton against present DNA. We wanted to both look on the male line of direct descent and the female line of direct descent to match both aspects of the DNA.
“What we have done is to look at the line from Anne of York to Michael Ibsen and accurately checked every link of the chain. This was to ensure that we can give documentary evidence that the daughters and the mothers match up all the way to Joy Ibsen and Michael Ibsen.
“We have been successful in proving that link, and I think that’s an important part of the scientific experiment. There is always a risk that you may have a match between ‘A’ and ‘B’ - but without having all the links in the chain, the link may be spurious.
“Right from the start of the project, we did not want to rely entirely on the DNA between Michael and the skeleton. We always wanted - for scientific reasons – to triangulate that wherever possible.
“We set about trying to secure a second maternal line, and after several weeks of research we actually did discover this person. The documentary evidence again is there to support this.”