The Byzantium Connection . . . . .
Jim's Byzantine Descent Chart
First, A word about the charts.
To read the charts which are included with each Family section,
start at the left hand side.  This is the most recent time period.  As
you go towards the right on the chart you are going back in time.  
Each marriage is grouped in a "c" shaped bracket and any children
from this marriage (or partnership) will be a line extending out
from the left hand side.  As a convention, I put the male on top and
female below in the marriage bracket.  Children's lines extend out
to the left with the oldest child on top and then descending in order
of birth.  Some charts will have a married couple who are the focus
of the chart.  You will then see multiple children and grandchildren
to the left of the chart.  Otherwise the charts show a couple and the
child from which the immediate family is descended to the left.  
Other children of the couple will be ignored in this case.  The
charts in general are following the path of the DNA as it spirals
into the future generation after generation.

The following chart illustrates this.  All of my charts will follow
this general organization.
As many of you know I was the Project Architect on a large project in
Istanbul, Turkey for many years.  The competition for that project
occured in 1991 and as a part of the preparations for that I was sent to
gather cultural information.  From the moment I landed in Istanbul in
1991 I felt totally at home.  It was a bit strange.  Then I visited the
Hagia Sophia Church one afternoon and got blown away.  I walked into
the Narthex of the ancient building and for just a moment I was standing
in a crowd of people dressed in medieval garb.  A booming chorus of
deep male voices echoed through the massive door in front of me and I
caught a glimpse of the vast central hall beyond.  It was blazing with
gold tiles that were reflecting a soft candle light coming from banks of
lit taper candles.  Smoke filled the air.  I distinctly heard the scuffling
of countless sandals on polished stone floors and the rumble of crowds
talking loudly in a confined space.  I shook my head and it was gone.  I
was standing alone in front of the central door into the main space.  

What was that?  I don't know.  I have never dwelt on it too much.  That
brief moment has stuck with me through my years in Istanbul, however.  
My favorite building in the whole world is the Hagia Sophia.  It
became my muse through the years I lived in Istanbul.  When things got
a bit tense I would slip away and visit the old building.  I had a spot on
the Gallery level that I would always end up sitting at, sometimes for
quite long periods.  I did a lot of good thinking there.  I never had
another experience like that first time.
It is now 18 years after that first visit to Hagia Sophia.  I ended up
living in Istanbul for nine years total, not including numerous trips there
in the early and mid 1990's.  I returned to the United States in 2006 and
among the things I have turned my attention to has been doing the
genealogical research of which this website is the result.  While I was
researching my maternal ancestral line I made a very startling
discovery (at least for me).  Buried back in the family line of descent is
a connection to the Byzantine Empire.  To be exact, back to the
Komnenos Dynasty.  According to the research I have done I am a
direct desdendent of Komenos Family and two Byzantine Emperors in
particular:  Alexios I and Isaacios II.
Then it hit me.  The Emperor of Byzantium, sitting at Constantinople
would have been crowned at the Hagia Sophia.  He also would have
presided, along with the Patriarch of Constantinople, at frequent
religious ceremonies at the Hagia Sophia.   
My Muse in Constantinople
Imperial Door
"My Spot" on the upper Gallery at Hagia Sophia.
Actually, this photo is taken where I would sit, looking out
at the view I had when musing about my troubles.  The
outside wall of the building would be against my back in
this view.