The World of Grandpa Don

Ancestors of
 Savoy & Belley.

This page looks at our royal ancestors extending from Umberto I  (Humbert)  the first Count of Savoy   to Beatrice of Savoy.

This line of ancestors was confirmed in May of 2011. It consists of ancestors of my 9th Great Grandfather Gen James Cudworth

The relationships of the ancestors and the description of their lives were verified and taken from Wikipedia.

This is their story, as I know it.

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Pedigree Chart for Beatrice of Savoy


Belley & Savoy
The House of Savoy.

Belley is of Roman origin, and in the 5th century became an episcopal see. It was the capital of the province of Bugey, which was a dependency of Savoy till 1601, when it was ceded to France. In 1385 the town was almost entirely destroyed by an act of incendiarism, but was subsequently rebuilt by the dukes of Savoy, who surrounded it with ramparts of which little is left.

Savoy is a region of France. It comprises roughly the territory of the Western Alps situated between Lake Geneva in the north and Dauphiné in the south.

By the 8th century, the territory that would later become known as Savoy was part of the Kingdom of the Franks, and at the division of Francia at the Treaty of Verdun in 843, it became part of the short-lived kingdom of Middle Francia. After only 12 years, at the death of Lothair I in 855, Middle Francia was divided into Lotharingia north of the Alps, Italy south of the Alps, and the parts of Burgundy in the Western Alps, inherited by Charles son of Lothair. This latter territory comprised what would become known as Savoy and Provence.

From the 10th to 14th century, parts of what would ultimately become Savoy remained within the Kingdom of Arles. Beginning in the 11th century, the gradual rise to power of the House of Savoy is reflected in the increasing territory of their County of Savoy between 1003 and 1416.

The County of Savoy was detached de jure from the Kingdom of Arles by Emperor Charles IV in 1361. It acquired the County of Nice in 1388, and in 1401 added the County of Genevois, the area of Geneva except for the city proper, which was ruled by its prince-bishop, nominally under the duke's rule: the bishops of Geneva, by unspoken agreement, came from the House of Savoy; this agreement came to an end in 1533.

The historical land of Savoy emerged as the feudal territory of the House of Savoy during the 11th to 14th centuries. The historical territory is shared between the modern republics of France, Italy, and Switzerland.

Installed by Rudolph III, King of Burgundy, officially in 1003, the House of Savoy became the longest surviving royal house in Europe. It ruled the County of Savoy to 1416 and then the Duchy of Savoy from 1416 to 1714.

The territory of Savoy was annexed to France in 1792 under the French First Republic, before being returned to the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia in 1815. Savoy, along with the county of Nice, was finally annexed to France by a plebiscite, under the Second French Empire in 1860, as part of a political agreement (Treaty of Turin) brokered between the French emperor Napoleon III and King Victor Emmanuel II of the Kingdom of Sardinia that began the process of unification of Italy. Victor Emmanuel's dynasty, the House of Savoy, retained its Italian lands of Piedmont and Liguria and became the ruling dynasty of Italy.

This line of our ancestors were of the House of Savoy. The house descended from Humbert I, Count of Sabaudia (Umberto I "Biancamano"), (1003–1047 or 1048). Humbert's family are thought to have originated from near Magdeburg in Saxony, with the earliest recording of the family being two 10th century brothers, Amadeus and Humbert. Though originally a poor county, later heirs to the throne were diplomatically skilled, and gained control over strategic mountain passes in the Alps. Two of Humbert's sons were bishops at the Abbey of Saint Maurice on the River Rhone east of Lake Geneva, and Saint Maurice is still the patron of the House of Savoy.

Humbert's son, Otto of Savoy ascended the throne in 1051 after the death of his elder brother Amedeo and married the Marchioness Adelaide of Turin, passing the Marquessate of Susa, with the towns of Turin and Pinerolo, into the House of Savoy's possession. This diplomatic skill caused the great powers such as France, England, and Spain to take the counts' opinions into account.

They once had claims on the modern canton of Vaud, where they occupied the Château of Chillon in Switzerland, but their access to it was cut by Geneva during the Protestant Reformation, after which it was conquered by Bern. Piedmont was later joined with Sabaudia, and the name evolved into "Savoy" (Italian "Savoia"). The people of Savoy were descended from the Celts and Romans.

Our Ancestors


Umberto I, Count of Savoy

Umberto I (c. 980 – 1047/1048) (Humbert)  was the first Count of Savoy from 1032, when the County of Vienne, which had been sold to the Archdiocese of Vienne, was divided between the County of Albon and the Maurienne. Humbert came of noble stock, as his father is believed to be Amadeus, Count of Belley . He is also called Umberto the White-Handed  reportedly to signify his generosity. However, this posthumously applied title may derive from a textual mistranslation of an early Latin record which actually refers to the walls of his castle, not his hands, as white.

During the wars between Rudolph III of Burgundy and the Emperor Henry II, Umberto supported the latter with provisions and soldiers because he was related to the imperial family by marriage. Thus, in 1003, the emperor installed him as the Count of Aosta, a mountainous region then a part of Burgundy but today within Italy, and granted him the northern Viennois as a reward. Umberto in turn protected the right flank of Henry's army during his subsequent invasion of Italy in 1004.

Umberto's lands were essentially autonomous after the death of Henry. Their mountainous inaccessibility and their minor importance lent them to being overlooked and ignored in the power struggles which inevitably followed the death of the emperor. In 1032, Umberto received the Maurienne, his native country, from the Emperor Conrad II, whom he had helped in his Italian campaigns against Aribert, Archbishop of Milan.

He died at Hermillon, a town in the Maurienne region of present day Savoie, France.

Umberto married Ancilla (Auxilia or Ancilia) of Lenzburg, the daughter of the master of ceremonies of Burgundy, and had at least four sons:

  1. Amadeus I (died 1056), Count of Savoy, his successor

  2. Aymon (died 1054 or 1055), Bishop of Sion

  3. Burchard (died 1068 or 1069), Archbishop of Lyon

  4. Otto (died ca. 1057), Count of Savoy, successor of his brother

Some authors believe that he had additional sons.

Umberto and Ancilla were my 30th great grandparents.


Otto I, Count of Savoy 

Otto (1010/1020 – c. 1057) was a Count of Savoy from 1051 (or 1056) until his death. He substantially enlarged his lands through his marriage. After this acquisition the House of Savoy concentrated their expansion efforts towards Italy instead of outside the Alps as they had done before. Savoy's lands occupied much of modern Savoy and Piedmont, although several other small states could be found between them.

He was son of Humbert, the first Count of Savoy, and his wife Ancilla of Lenzburg, and ascended the throne after the death of his elder brother, Amadeus I of Savoy.

In 1046 he married Adelaide, heiress of Turin and Susa. They had five children:

  • Peter

  • Amadeus

  • Otto

  • Bertha, Countess of Moriana (died 1087)

  • Adelaide (died 1080), married Rudolf of Swabia

Otto and Adelaid were my 29th great grandparents.


Amadeus II, Count of Savoy

Amadeus II (c. 1050 – 26 January 1080) was the Count of Savoy from 1078 to 1080. His life is obscure and few documents mention him. During his reign he was overshadowed by his mother, but he had good relations with the Papacy and, for a time, the Holy Roman Emperor.

The second son of Otto, Count of Savoy, and Adelaide, Margravine of Turin, Amadeus II was probably born around 1050, because he, alongside other noblemen of the Kingdom of Burgundy, swore an oath on the tomb of Saint Peter in Rome to defend the Church around 1070–73. In 1074 Pope Gregory VII was trying to persuade William I, Count of Burgundy, to remember this vow and, with Amadeus and others, go to the defence of the Roman Empire in the East against the Seljuk Turks. As his mother is known to have had good relations with the Papacy in these years, this record seems to indicate that Amadeus was following his mother's policies at this early stage in his career.

Early in 1077 Amadeus, with his mother and brother Peter, then Count of Savoy, hosted his sister Bertha, and his brother-in-law, Bertha's husband, the Emperor Henry IV. Amadeus and Adelaide then escorted the imperial couple to Canossa so the excommunicated emperor could reconcile with the pope. There they both took part in the negotiations and stood as pledges for the emperor's good faith.

On 16 July 1078 Amadeus and Peter witnessed a donation of their mother's to the Abbey of Novalesa. It was the last act of Amadeus and Peter together.

On 9 August 1078 Peter died and Amadeus succeeded him as Count of Savoy, but in the March of Turin, where Peter had co-ruled with their mother, Amadeus was never margrave, although the reason for this is unclear. One document, issued by his widowed daughter Adelaide in 1090, refers to him as "count and margrave", but it is probably anachronistic. There is only one document from his reign, in the cartulary of Saint-André-le-Bas in Vienne, which is dated when "Count Amadeus [was] reigning." This shows, by the absence of the regnal year of the emperor, that despite his involvement in the reconciliation at Canossa, Amadeus II was neutral in the wider Investiture Controversy and the wars against Henry IV that it caused in Germany.

Amadeus died in Turin on 26 January 1080, according to the necrology of the church of Saint Andrew there. This date must be at least approximately correct, since Adelaide made a monastic donation for the benefit of the souls of her sons Margrave Peter and Count Amadeus on 8 March.

According to the much later Chronicles of Savoy, Amadeus married Joan, daughter of "Girard, Count of Burgundy", who scholars have surmised to have been Count Gerold II of Geneva. The Chronicon Altacumbae says only that "the wife of Amadeus [was] from Burgundy", which might refer to Amadeus I. If his wife were Genevan, it would explain how the house of Savoy came to possess so early a large portion of the Genevois. His wife, whatever her name and origins, bore Amadeus II several children, although there is some uncertainty about how many. His confirmed children were:

  • William IV, Margrave of Montferrat, who married Otta d'Agile and had descendants

  • Adelaide, wife of Manasses, sire de Coligny

  • Ausilia (also Auxilia or Usilia), second wife of Humbert II de Beaujeu, whom she bore four sons by the last decade of the eleventh century: Guichard, Humbert, Guigues, and Hugh

Not included in this list is Umberto who  succeeded Amadeus and who is identified as being the son of Amadeus and Joan.

Amadeus III of Savoy and his wife Joan were my 28th great grandparents.


Umberto II, Count of Savoy

Umberto II, nicknamed the Fat (1065, Carignano, Piedmont – 14 October 1103), was Count of Savoy from 1080 until his death in 1103. He was the son of Amadeus II of Savoy.

He was married to Gisela of Burgundy, daughter of William I, Count of Burgundy, and had 7 children:

  • Amadeus III of Savoy

  • William, Bishop of Liège

  • Adelaide, (d. 1154), married to Louis VI of France

  • Agnes, (d. 1127), married to Archimbald VI, lord of Bourbon

  • Umberto

  • Reginald

  • Guy, abbey of Namur

Umberto II and Gisela were my 27th great grandparents. 



Amadeus III, Count of Savoy

Amadeus III of Savoy (1095 – April 1148) was Count of Savoy and Maurienne from 1103 until his death. He was also known as the Crusader.

He was born in Carignano, Piedmont, the son of Humbert (Umbert) II of Savoy and Gisela of Burgundy, the daughter of William I of Burgundy. He succeeded as count of Savoy upon the death of his father. Amadeus had a tendency to exaggerate his titles, and also claimed to be Duke of Lombardy, Duke of Burgundy, Duke of Chablais, and vicar of the Holy Roman Empire, the latter of which had been given to his father by Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor.

He helped restore the Abbey of St. Maurice of Agaune, in which the former kings of Burgundy had been crowned, and of which he himself was abbot until 1147. He also founded the Abbey of St. Sulpicius in Bugey, Tamié Abbey in the Bauges, and Hautecombe Abbey on the Lac du Bourget.

In 1128, Amadeus extended his realm, known as the "Old Chablais", by adding to it the region extending from the Arve to the Dranse d'Abondance, which came to be called the "New Chablais" with its capital at Saint-Maurice. Despite his marriage to Mahaut, he still fought against his brother-in-law Guy, who was killed at the Battle of Montmeillan. Following this, King Louis VI of France, married to Amadeus' sister Adélaide de Maurienne, attempted to confiscate Savoy. Amadeus was saved by the intercession of Peter the Hermit, and by his promise to participate in Louis' planned crusade.

In 1147, he accompanied his nephew Louis VII of France and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine on the Second Crusade. He financed his expedition with help from a loan from the Abbey of St. Maurice. In his retinue were many barons from Savoy, including the lords of Faucigny, Seyssel, La Chambre, Miolans, Montbel, Thoire, Montmayeur, Vienne, Viry, La Palude, Blonay, Chevron-Villette, Chignin, and Châtillon. Amadeus travelled south through Italy to Brindisi, where he crossed over to Durazzo, and marched east along the Via Egnatia to meet Louis at Constantinople in late 1147. After crossing into Anatolia, Amadeus, who was leading the vanguard, became separated from Louis near Laodicea, and Louis' forces were almost entirely destroyed.

Marching on to Adalia, Louis, Amadeus, and other barons decided to continue to Antioch by ship. On the journey, Amadeus fell ill on Cyprus, and died at Nicosia in April 1148. He was buried in the Church of St. Croix in Nicosia. In Savoy, his son Humbert III succeeded him, under the regency of bishop Amadeus of Lausanne.

He had no children with his first wife Adelaide, Countess consort of Savoy. In 1123 he married Mahaut (or Mafalda, or Matilda) of Albon, the sister of Guy IV of Dauphinois, with whom he had ten children:

  1. Elisa of Savoy (1120-?) married Humberto of Beaujeu

  2. Mafalda (Mahaut), (1125-1158), married Afonso I of Portugal

  3. Agnes of Savoy (1125-1172), married William I, Count of Geneva

  4. Humbert III (1136-1188)

  5. John of Savoy

  6. Peter of Savoy

  7. William of Savoy

  8. Margaret of Savoy (died 1157)

  9. Isabella of Savoy

  10. Juliana of Savoy (died 1194), abbess of St. André-le-Haut

Amadeus III and Matilda were my 26th great grandparents.



Umberto III, Count of Savoy

Umberto III (1135, Avigliana, Piedmont – 1189), surnamed the Blessed, was Count of Savoy from 1148 to 1189. His parents were Amadeus III of Savoy and Mahaut (or Mafalda, or Matilda) of Albon, the sister of Guy IV of Dauphinois. His memorial day is March 4.

Christopher Cope in his "The Lost Kingdom of Burgundy":

Umberto III, who reigned from 1149 to 1189...was a man of irresolute spirit who was disconsolate at being born a prince and preferred the seclusion of a monastery. He only renounced his chosen state of celibacy so as to give his land an heir.

His first wife died young; his second marriage ended in divorce. Umberto gave up and became a Carthusian monk. However, the nobles and common people of Savoy begged him to marry yet again, which he reluctantly did. This third wife gave him two more daughters, and Umberto attempted to return to the monastic life yet again. Finally he was prevailed upon to marry for a fourth time, and this wife, Beatrice, produced the son who would ultimately succeed him.

In 1188 he founded the Monastery of Sant'Antonio di Ranverso.

Umberto married four times:

  • Faidiva of Toulouse (Italian) (d. abt 1154) daughter of Alphonse I of Toulouse

  • Gertrude of Flanders (m. abt 1155), whom he divorced and confined. She was freed thanks to Robert, bishop of Cambrai and returned to the court of her brother, Philip of Flanders.

  • Clementia of Zähringen (married 1164), daughter of Conrad I of Zähringen. They had 2 daughters:

    • Sofia, (1165–1202), married Azzo VI of Este

    • Alicia, (1166–1178), betrothed to John of England

  • Beatrice of Viennois and had 1 son:

    • Tommaso (born 1178)

 Umberto and Beatrice were my 25th great grandparents. 



Thomas I, Count of Savoy

Thomas I or Tommaso I (1178, Aiguebelle, Savoy – 1 March 1233, Moncalieri, Savoy) was Count of Savoy from 1189-1233. He was the son of Humbert (Umbert) III of Savoy and Beatrice of Viennois. His birth was seen as miraculous; his monkish father had despaired of having a male heir after three wives. Count Humbert sought counsel from St. Anthelm, who blessed Humbert three times, and it was seen as a prophecy come true when Thomas was born shortly before Anthelm himself died on 26 June 1178. He was named in honour of Saint Thomas Becket.

Thomas was still a minor when his father died on 4 March 1189, and a council of regency was established, composed of his mother Beatrice, his father's cousin Boniface I of Montferrat, and the Bishop of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. He had reached his majority by August 1191. Thomas possessed the martial abilities, energy, and brilliance that his father lacked, and Savoy enjoyed a golden age under his leadership. Despite his youth he began the push northwest into new territories. In the same year he granted Aosta Valley the "Carta delle Franchigie", recognising the right to administrative and political autonomy. This right was maintained up until the eve of the French Revolution. Later he conquered Vaud, Bugey, and Carignano. He supported the Hohenstaufens, and was known as "Thomas the Ghibelline" because of his career as Imperial Vicar of Lombardy.

In 1195 he ambushed the party of Count William I of Geneva, which was escorting the count's daughter, Margaret of Geneva, to France for her intended wedding to King Philip II of France. Thomas carried off Marguerite and married her himself, producing some eight sons and six daughters.

  1. Amedeo, his immediate successor

  2. Umberto, d. between March and November 1223

  3. Tommaso, lord and then count in Piedmont and founder of a line that became the Savoy-Achaea

  4. Aimone, d. 30 August 1237, Lord of Chablais

  5. Guglielmo (William of Savoy), Bishop of Valence and Dean of Vienne

  6. Amadeo of Savoy, Bishop of Maurienne

  7. Pietro, who resided much in England, became Earl of Richmond, and ultimately in 1263 became the disputed count of Savoy

  8. Filippo, archbishop of Lyon, who resigned, through marriage became Count Palatine of Burgundy and ultimately in 1268 became the disputed count of Savoy

  9. Bonifacio who became archbishop of Canterbury

  10. Beatrice of Savoy, d. 1265 or 1266, married in December 1219 to Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence (1209-1245) and was mother of four Queens-consort

  11. Alasia of Savoy, abbess of the monastery of St Pierre in Lyon (d.1250)

  12. Ágatha of Savoy, abbess of the monastery of St Pierre in Lyon (d.1245)

  13. Margherita of Savoy, d. 1273, married in 1218 to Hartmann I of Kyburg

  14. Avita of Savoy (1215-92) who married Baldwin de Redvers, 7th Earl of Devon and Robert Aguillon (d.1286).

He had illegitimate children too:

  1. Aymon (+ 1243), who was Count of Larches, with Beatrice of Grisel married

  2. Thomas "the big", who was count of Lioches

  3. Guilio

Thomas and Margaret were my 24th great grandperents. 



Beatrice of Savoy

Beatrice of Savoy (1205 – 4 January 1267) was the daughter of Thomas I of Savoy and Margaret of Geneva. She was Countess consort of Provence by her marriage to Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence.

Her paternal grandparents were Humbert III, Count of Savoy, and Beatrice of Viennois. Her maternal grandparents were William I, Count of Geneva and Beatrice de Faucigny. Beatrice of Savoy's mother, Margaret was betrothed to Philip II of France. While Margaret was travelling to France for her wedding, she was captured by Beatrice's father, Thomas. He took her back to Savoy and married her himself. Thomas' excuse was that Philip II was already married, which was true.

Beatrice was the tenth of fourteen children born to her parents. Her siblings included: Amadeus IV, Count of Savoy, Thomas II of Piedmont, Peter II, Count of Savoy, Philip I, Count of Savoy, Boniface of Savoy, Archbishop of Canterbury, Avita the Countess of Devon and Margherita of Savoy wife of Hartmann I of Kyburg.

Beatrice betrothed on 5 June 1219 to Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence; they married in December 1220. She was a shrewd and politically astute woman, whose beauty was likened to that of a second Niobe by Matthew Paris. Ramon and Beatrice of Savoy had four daughters, who all lived to adulthood, and married kings. Their only son, Raymond died in early infancy.

  1. Margaret, Queen of France (1221–1295), wife of Louis IX of France

  2. Eleanor, Queen of England (1223–1291), wife of Henry III of England

  3. Sanchia, Queen of Germany (1228–1261), wife of Richard, Earl of Cornwall

  4. Beatrice, Queen of Sicily (1231–1267), wife of Charles I of Sicily

  5. Raymond of Provence, died young

Beatrice came to England to see her third daughter Sanchia wedded to Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, brother-in-law of Eleanor and did much to strengthen the bond between Richard and Henry III. She further strengthened the unity of the English royal family by convincing Henry III to help pay the debts of his sister Eleanor and her husband Simon de Montfort, who had previously often be at odds with Henry. Beatrice's husband Ramon Berenguer IV was detained by state difficulties which his wife solved by getting a loan from her son-in-law Henry III of four thousand marks.

When Ramon Berenguer had died on 19 August 1245, he left Provence to his youngest daughter. Beatrice's daughter and namesake then became one of the most attractive heiresses in medieval Europe. Various suitors had tried to seize her, so Beatrice of Savoy placed the younger Beatrice in a safe fortress, secured the trust of its people then went to the Pope for his protection. In Cluny during December 1245, a secret discussion, between Pope Innocent IV, Louis IX of France, his mother Blanche of Castile and his brother Charles of Anjou, took place. It was decided that in return for Louis IX supporting the Pope militarily, the Pope would allow Charles of Anjou, youngest brother to the French King, to marry Beatrice of Provence. But Provence was to never go to France outright through Charles. It was agreed that if Charles and Beatrice had children, the county would go to them; if there was no issue, then the county would go to Sanchia of Provence. If Sanchia died without an heir, Provence would go to the King of Aragon.

The generally good relationship between the four sisters also did much to improve the relationship of the French and English kings. It brought about the Treaty of Paris, where differences were resolved. Beatrice and all her four daughters participated in the talks.

Beatrice of Savoy was granted the usufruct of the county of Provence for her lifetime, according to her husband's will. Beatrice outlived her third daughter Sanchia and came close to outliving her youngest daughter Beatrice, who died months after her mother (Beatrice the elder died in January, Beatrice the younger died in September). Beatrice of Savoy died on 4 January 1267.

Beatrice and Ramon Berenguer were my 23 great grandparents.

To follow this line of ancestors see Provence, Aragon, & Barcelona


© Grandpa Don Plefka
aka Harry Ronald Cecora
 Dec 08 2013


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