Six Degrees of Historical Separation

HOUSE OF SHADOWS smallNicola here. I'm on a writing retreat in Wales at the moment so today, just for a bit of fun, I'm posting up a quiz. There’s a game that has been around for a few years that I absolutely love. It’s based on the idea of six degrees of separation; the theory that everyone in the world is a maximum of six steps away from each other so that a chain can be established to connect any two people. A while ago the BBC History magazine introduced a game called six degrees of historical separation – a challenge to see how broad a spectrum of historical characters you could connect in six steps. The connections between them can be anything – names, dates, places, whatever you like.  I’ve been playing it ever since and I challenge you to do the same!

Here’s one of my favourites:

1.William First Earl of Craven 1608 – 1697. Soldier, cavalier, secret second husband of Elizabeth of Bohemia and the hero of my timeslip book House of Shadows.

2.Elizabeth of Bohemia, 1596 – 1662, daughter of King James I, married Frederick the Elector Palatine, who Elizabeth of Bohemia by Nicholas Hilliard was offered the throne of Bohemia in 1619.

3. Bedrich Smetana 1824 – 1884 A Czech composer whose music was inspired by Bohemian history and legends. His orchestral music includes the symphonic poem Richard III.

4. Richard III, King of England from 1483 – 1485, re-interred in Leicester Cathedral in 2015.

5. Thomas Cook 1808 – 1892, born in Melbourne Derbyshire, was also buried in Leicester. He founded the world’s first travel agency Thomas Cook and Sons in 1872 and offered “Grand Circular Tours of Europe” and trips to Egypt and the United States.

Dame Nellie6. Dame Nellie Melba, 1861 – 1931 was an operatic soprano and one of the most famous singers of the Victorian era. She trained in Melbourne and took the pseudonym “Melba” from there.

Okay, so maybe I have too much time on my hands! But if you like historical research and obscure facts, have a go at creating your own six degrees of historical (or Regency!) separation with either real people or characters from books, and share them here! Alternatively, do you have your own six degrees of separation story, connecting you to unexpected people?

45 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Historical Separation”

  1. You’re going to love this, Nicola: There’s an Apple app called WikiLinks (don’t know if it’s Android-friendly, too) that makes just these kinds of connections. Each “hit” brings six or more Wikipedia links, leading to another set, ad infinitum. Links can be people, places, concepts–any link on a Wikipedia page. Try it, it’s really fun, not to mention stimulating to an author’s imagination.

    Reply
  2. You’re going to love this, Nicola: There’s an Apple app called WikiLinks (don’t know if it’s Android-friendly, too) that makes just these kinds of connections. Each “hit” brings six or more Wikipedia links, leading to another set, ad infinitum. Links can be people, places, concepts–any link on a Wikipedia page. Try it, it’s really fun, not to mention stimulating to an author’s imagination.

    Reply
  3. You’re going to love this, Nicola: There’s an Apple app called WikiLinks (don’t know if it’s Android-friendly, too) that makes just these kinds of connections. Each “hit” brings six or more Wikipedia links, leading to another set, ad infinitum. Links can be people, places, concepts–any link on a Wikipedia page. Try it, it’s really fun, not to mention stimulating to an author’s imagination.

    Reply
  4. You’re going to love this, Nicola: There’s an Apple app called WikiLinks (don’t know if it’s Android-friendly, too) that makes just these kinds of connections. Each “hit” brings six or more Wikipedia links, leading to another set, ad infinitum. Links can be people, places, concepts–any link on a Wikipedia page. Try it, it’s really fun, not to mention stimulating to an author’s imagination.

    Reply
  5. You’re going to love this, Nicola: There’s an Apple app called WikiLinks (don’t know if it’s Android-friendly, too) that makes just these kinds of connections. Each “hit” brings six or more Wikipedia links, leading to another set, ad infinitum. Links can be people, places, concepts–any link on a Wikipedia page. Try it, it’s really fun, not to mention stimulating to an author’s imagination.

    Reply
  6. I’ll find something to link Dame Nellie Melba to me. :p
    Dame Alice Ellen Terry – 1847-1928 – famous British actress who held a series of conferences on the female characters in Shakespeare’s plays – a source of inspiration for me; called Nellie by some close friends
    Christina Dodd – ? :p – famous American romance novelist, author of The Greatest Lover In All England, which is about a girl acting on stage in Shakespeare’s time – published in 1994
    Lorena Bobbitt – b. 1970 in Ecuador – was found not guilty by reason of insanity on charges of mutilating her husband John (in January 1994)
    Dolores Veintimilla – 1829-1857 – Ecuadorian poet(ess) – had a son named Santiago
    Saint James – died 44 AD – one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and traditionally considered the first apostle to be martyred; also called James the Greater or James the Great to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus and James the brother of Jesus (James the Just); he is the patron saint of Spaniards, and as such is often identified as Santiago
    Stephen the Great of Moldavia (House of Musat) – 1457-1504 – a defender of the Christian faith, famous for his battles against the Turks, one of which took place close to the town where I live 😉
    Have I played the game correctly, Nicola?

    Reply
  7. I’ll find something to link Dame Nellie Melba to me. :p
    Dame Alice Ellen Terry – 1847-1928 – famous British actress who held a series of conferences on the female characters in Shakespeare’s plays – a source of inspiration for me; called Nellie by some close friends
    Christina Dodd – ? :p – famous American romance novelist, author of The Greatest Lover In All England, which is about a girl acting on stage in Shakespeare’s time – published in 1994
    Lorena Bobbitt – b. 1970 in Ecuador – was found not guilty by reason of insanity on charges of mutilating her husband John (in January 1994)
    Dolores Veintimilla – 1829-1857 – Ecuadorian poet(ess) – had a son named Santiago
    Saint James – died 44 AD – one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and traditionally considered the first apostle to be martyred; also called James the Greater or James the Great to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus and James the brother of Jesus (James the Just); he is the patron saint of Spaniards, and as such is often identified as Santiago
    Stephen the Great of Moldavia (House of Musat) – 1457-1504 – a defender of the Christian faith, famous for his battles against the Turks, one of which took place close to the town where I live 😉
    Have I played the game correctly, Nicola?

    Reply
  8. I’ll find something to link Dame Nellie Melba to me. :p
    Dame Alice Ellen Terry – 1847-1928 – famous British actress who held a series of conferences on the female characters in Shakespeare’s plays – a source of inspiration for me; called Nellie by some close friends
    Christina Dodd – ? :p – famous American romance novelist, author of The Greatest Lover In All England, which is about a girl acting on stage in Shakespeare’s time – published in 1994
    Lorena Bobbitt – b. 1970 in Ecuador – was found not guilty by reason of insanity on charges of mutilating her husband John (in January 1994)
    Dolores Veintimilla – 1829-1857 – Ecuadorian poet(ess) – had a son named Santiago
    Saint James – died 44 AD – one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and traditionally considered the first apostle to be martyred; also called James the Greater or James the Great to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus and James the brother of Jesus (James the Just); he is the patron saint of Spaniards, and as such is often identified as Santiago
    Stephen the Great of Moldavia (House of Musat) – 1457-1504 – a defender of the Christian faith, famous for his battles against the Turks, one of which took place close to the town where I live 😉
    Have I played the game correctly, Nicola?

    Reply
  9. I’ll find something to link Dame Nellie Melba to me. :p
    Dame Alice Ellen Terry – 1847-1928 – famous British actress who held a series of conferences on the female characters in Shakespeare’s plays – a source of inspiration for me; called Nellie by some close friends
    Christina Dodd – ? :p – famous American romance novelist, author of The Greatest Lover In All England, which is about a girl acting on stage in Shakespeare’s time – published in 1994
    Lorena Bobbitt – b. 1970 in Ecuador – was found not guilty by reason of insanity on charges of mutilating her husband John (in January 1994)
    Dolores Veintimilla – 1829-1857 – Ecuadorian poet(ess) – had a son named Santiago
    Saint James – died 44 AD – one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and traditionally considered the first apostle to be martyred; also called James the Greater or James the Great to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus and James the brother of Jesus (James the Just); he is the patron saint of Spaniards, and as such is often identified as Santiago
    Stephen the Great of Moldavia (House of Musat) – 1457-1504 – a defender of the Christian faith, famous for his battles against the Turks, one of which took place close to the town where I live 😉
    Have I played the game correctly, Nicola?

    Reply
  10. I’ll find something to link Dame Nellie Melba to me. :p
    Dame Alice Ellen Terry – 1847-1928 – famous British actress who held a series of conferences on the female characters in Shakespeare’s plays – a source of inspiration for me; called Nellie by some close friends
    Christina Dodd – ? :p – famous American romance novelist, author of The Greatest Lover In All England, which is about a girl acting on stage in Shakespeare’s time – published in 1994
    Lorena Bobbitt – b. 1970 in Ecuador – was found not guilty by reason of insanity on charges of mutilating her husband John (in January 1994)
    Dolores Veintimilla – 1829-1857 – Ecuadorian poet(ess) – had a son named Santiago
    Saint James – died 44 AD – one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and traditionally considered the first apostle to be martyred; also called James the Greater or James the Great to distinguish him from James, son of Alphaeus and James the brother of Jesus (James the Just); he is the patron saint of Spaniards, and as such is often identified as Santiago
    Stephen the Great of Moldavia (House of Musat) – 1457-1504 – a defender of the Christian faith, famous for his battles against the Turks, one of which took place close to the town where I live 😉
    Have I played the game correctly, Nicola?

    Reply

Leave a Comment