Googling Anne Boleyn – Oh Dear!

Thank you to my husband, Tim, for finding this and making me chuckle.

Just a few minutes ago, Tim interrupted me to ask “How many children did Anne Boleyn have?”. I gave him a rather scathing look, thinking to myself “Where have I gone wrong with this man?”, when he asked me to bear with him. I didn’t think he was ready for me to launch into a long account of Anne’s pregnancies, possible miscarriages etc. so I confirmed that she had one surviving child, Elizabeth I. He then told me to “google” Anne Boleyn and this screenshot is what I found.

Can you spot the mistake? Click on the image to enlarge it.

Yes, according to Google, Anne Boleyn had three children: Elizabeth I, Henry Tudor and Edward Tudor! Hmmm… When I clicked on Henry and Edward, they went to search pages on Henry VII (and VIII) and Edward VI. Oh dear! I’m not sure how exactly Google compiles the information in this box, which was on the right hand side of the search page when I searched for “Anne Boleyn”, but Tim suspects that it brings it in from a number of different sources and obviously one source has got it rather wrong. I clicked on “Feedback/More Info” at the bottom and reported the problem so hopefully it will be corrected at some point.

I wonder how many people it will fool. I can just see bemused history teachers all over the world being confronted with essays about Anne Boleyn and her three children, can’t you? Ah, the Internet is a wondrous thing but this shows the pitfalls of “googling” for information. It makes me want to google other historical characters, who knows what I’ll find!

Thank you, Tim!

P.S. Thank you to everyone who left comments on my Anne Boleyn myths post – you are all stars!

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31 thoughts on “Googling Anne Boleyn – Oh Dear!”
  1. Wow! That’s pretty bad!
    You think they’d have better information on there considering how many people use Google.

    1. I think it must be automatically done using information on the web and some page has inaccurate information. I looked at the entry for Elizabeth I to check that they hadn’t given her any children, but she was ok!

      1. Funny thing is I was using Google last week and this pulled up repeatedly and I never paid attention to the “children” section! WOW…. Hopefully they will correct after reading your correction “Feedback”. Probably came from a bad “wiki pedia” page with misinformation loaded in. But sure would mess up somebody using this info for research papers, etc. Good catch, Tim!

  2. Is there any mention in the record what Anne and Henry might have named the children she miscarried, if these children were named at all? This might be the source of the misinformation, at least, that’s a potential hypothesis.

    Henry seemed fond of his own name, as I believe it was the name of the son he and Katharine of Aragon had in 1511 (??) that survived nearly 2 months, and it was also the name of the son he had with Mistress Bessie Blount, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond.

    I’m still rather sketchy on naming conventions, but might Henry and Anne, dreaming of a future son, have decided, when it was confirmed she was expecting again, named the child prior to birth? After all, had Elizabeth been a boy, what would her name have been?

    I seem to recall a reference to Jane Seymour’s future unborn child, before she was confirmed as pregnant – that Henry patted her belly and was quoted as saying, “Nay, nay, Edward.”

  3. Crikey!! and we thought some fiction writers stretched the truth a bit… 🙂

    Or maybe they slipped up, and meant to put this under the list of ‘Myths’ you are compiling, not where they did!!! lol….

    1. That one used to be on Wikipedia, as well — not sure if it still is; they have a habit of giving extra or unverifiable children to people. As for the Google search, I’m guessing it’s an automated “calculated relationship” thing — search for someone and you’ll see people frequently mentioned in association with them on the sidebar. In this case the computer probably saw that she was married to Henry VIII, and that Henry VIII had a son named Edward and presto — Anne is probably his mother! Except the computer isn’t able to reckon with a marital history quite like Henry’s.

  4. head desk…

    Anne Boleyn had now reached the zenith of her hopes. A weak, giddy woman of no stability of character, her success turned her head and caused her to behave with insolence and impropriety, in strong contrast with Catherine’s quiet dignity under her misfortunes. She, and not the king, probably was the author of the petty persecutions inflicted upon Catherine and upon the princess Mary, and her jealousy of the latter showed itself in spiteful malice. Mary was to be forced into the position of a humble attendant upon Anne’s infant, and her ears were to be boxed if she proved recalcitrant. She urged that both should be brought to trial under the new statute of succession passed in 1534, which declared her own children the lawful heirs to the throne. She was reported as saying that when the king gave opportunity by leaving England, she would put Mary to death even if she were burnt or flayed alive for it. S

    1. another gem….The discovery of Anne’s misdeeds coincided in an extraordinary manner with Henry’s disappointment in not obtaining by her a male heir, while the king’s despotic power and the universal unpopularity of Anne both tended to hinder the administration of pure justice. Nevertheless, though unproved, Anne’s guilt is more than probable. It is almost incredible that two grand juries, a petty jury, and a tribunal consisting of nearly all the lay peers of England, with the evidence before them which we do not now possess, should have all unanimously passed a sentence of guilt contrary to the facts and their convictions, and that such a sentence should have been supported by Anne’s own father and uncle.

  5. Good for you, Claire. It is great to know that such errors are uncovered, and the facts brought clearly to light. Good work, Claire!

  6. Sorry for this one, Claire..but….

    History has always presumed that Anne Boleyn was innocent, that the trial was rigged, and that her husband, King Henry 8th, had her head chopped off just so that he could get another wife.

    However, history often fails to take into consideration one important fact: Henry 8th may have had actual proof that Anne Boleyn was not a proper woman, because she had syphilis and she had given that disease to Henry 8th. In addition, her daughter, who became Queen Elizabeth, is believed to have had congenital syphilis, the type of syphilis which is transmitted only from mother to her child. For this reason, Queen Elizabeth was bald, a sign of congenital syphilis, and she never married, of course because she had syphilis and would have given this disease to her husband.

    At the time of these events, a great epidemic of syphilis was sweeping Europe. In general syphilis can only be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Columbus had discovered America in 1492. It was believed that the men of Columbus had had sexual intercourse with the American Indians and had brought the disease back to Europe. By 1533 when Queen Elizabeth was born, millions of people in Europe were infected with and eventually died of syphilis.

    If Anne Boleyn was guilty of adultery, she could have contracted syphilis from one of her many lovers. If she then gave this disease to King Henry 8th, he would have known almost for sure that she had slept with other men and had brought this disease to him and to his subsequent children.

    Because of this, his line of the royal family was wiped out. After the death of Queen Elizabeth, no descendant of King Henry 8th ever ruled England. The next king was James, who came to be regarded as one of the worst kings that England ever had. During the reign of James and his son, Charles, England became engulfed in religious wars between the Catholics and the Protestants until the Protestants finally prevailed.

    It seems likely that Anne Boleyn really was guilty of adultery and that her beheading and execution were justified.

    King Henry the 8th did the right thing by having his wife’s head chopped off.

    1. response to some-one querying

      You obviously know much more about this subject than I do, but here are a few points.

      I have been reading about this subject since I was a kid, but I rely on my memory and cannot always cite my sources.

      It has often been said that Henry the 8th had Syphilis. Perhaps recognized history books don’t say it, but I am sure it is widely believed that this was the case.

      This is obviously a hot topic with religious implications, which explains why this subject would be avoided.

      I remember reading in a high school history class that it was believed that Queen Elizabeth had congenital syphilis, which is why she remained a virgin.

      Again, I was reading about this around 39 years ago and cannot recall where.

      One source I do recall is a book entitled “The Trial of Anne Boleyn”. I believe that is the same as “The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn” which I cite on my page. This is my source for my statement that “Three different men testified at the trial that they had had sexual intercourse with Anne Boleyn, while she was the wife of King Henry 8th. However, all three men had been tortured into confessing this. Nevertheless, they repeated their testimony that they had had sexual relations with Anne Boleyn even when they were not being tortured.”

      That quote comes from the aforementioned book.

    2. I’m sorry but every time I see someone saying stuff like this “It seems likely that Anne Boleyn really was guilty of adultery and that her beheading and execution were justified.” I see red. No matter if she did or did not commit adultery (I strongly believe she didn’t) execution is never justified as punishment for such an offense and people that think so should seriously seek professional help. That’s the end of my rant.

      1. Hi Elin,
        Just to be clear, Anyanka isn’t saying all of that, she’s quoting from one of the online articles she found. But, yes, I know exactly why you’re ranting, I regularly get emails asking me why I run a site about a woman who deserved all she got!

      2. Elin,I have to so agree with you and Claire, Queen Anne didnot have syphilis nor did Queen Elizabeth 1.When Elizabeth was young she had Scarlet Fever and that were the lose of hair began,she also had mesals when she on the throne.The state feared that it may kill her ,as adult onset mesals are deadly.Where is this she had syphilis coming from ??? there ya go Claire we can add that to the list of what else Anne did ,number 18 and counting. Regards Baroness x

    3. I must say I have never come across this case scenario before …Claire says that this is something that you found on line, Anyanka, wow!

      If they are going down this road it seems they have missed off that Anne could have been born with congenital syphilis, why not? if we are getting this silly…so WHO was infected, Mummy or Daddy, Granny or Granddad?? etc, etc, it’s obvious when these ‘theories’ are invented, reseach/truth are not important or deemed necessary.

      I just hope that very few, if any take this seriously. Personally I find this kind of thing amusing, (maybe I shouldn’t), because it is so off the wall. But I can understand how frustrating and upsetting it must be for people like Claire who work so hard to try and get rid of such rubbish spouted about Anne. I don’t think there is another Queen of England who has had so many rediculous stories made up about her, its amazing.

      Anyway, I didn’t think adultery was punishable by death then, even if you were cheating on a King!?

      Like you Anyanka, I have been reading about it from being a kid, for about the same length of time too, taught the same things about Elizabeth, Henry etc.

      I don’t study it indepthly like Claire, I don’t have that discipline required to do this, (lazy 🙂 ) and nor can I remember all of the books which I have read to back up what I might say either. I tend to come to my own conclusions anyway, just as an opinion. But I love Tudor history, and love learning from people like Claire, and all the other knowledgable folk on this site, it is one of my most favourite hobbies.
      I hope you haven’t been given too hard a time quoting your ‘online find’. Things can be quickly taken out of context at times.

  7. There is nothing that I see that proves that Anne gave sphyillis to Henry8. It could hav just been the other way.

    1. Pam, your so right,and to sphyillis atacks the spine and then the brain, so both King and any one they had sex with would have died,if something did not get them first.Just more tish tosh!GOOGLE ANNE LOVE TO !!!!!! Baroness x

  8. Interesting look into how Google operates! It will help if everyone clicks on the Feedback/More Info link on the right half of the screen below the table where this info is located. It then allows you to click on the section that you see as “Wrong”.

  9. It seems Anne has posthumously birthed Henry, Duke of Cornwall as well now 🙂

    I reported the mistake too.

  10. Just found this gem three years too late. I never use Google as they sell your data all over the place, but as a search engine it seems they need to sort their own out. Yes, very bad. However, a pity Anne didn’t go on to have a couple of sons. Sigh.

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