According to an Los Angeles Times article (registration maybe required), a retired grocery store work in Yuba City, California, could eventually become the 12th Earl of Essex.
He could be addressed one day as “My Lord.” But retired grocery store worker William Jennings Capell would prefer to be known as just plain Bill.
A lifelong resident of this farming town 45 miles north of Sacramento, Capell always knew he had noble blood. What he didn’t know was that he might one day assume the title of England’s Earl of Essex.
Then last month a British newspaper reporter called to inform Capell that the 10th Earl of Essex had died and the 11th had inherited the title. As the new earl’s fourth cousin once removed, Capell was next in line as the 12th Earl of Essex.
“I was still half asleep,” recalled Capell, 52, an affable, heavyset man, as he lounged in an armchair at his home. “I acknowledged it. But that was all. It wasn’t until later that I got to thinking about it, that ‘Wow, I’m next in line.’ It started to sink in a little.”
An earl is a member of the British peerage â€” a nobleman of high rank. According to Burke’s Peerage & Gentry, whose books have recorded the genealogy of titled and landed families in the United Kingdom and Ireland for some 175 years, the title can be inherited or bestowed upon an individual by the state.
….It’s unclear whether Capell would be entitled to sit in the House of Lords, now with 731 members, but he said he would seriously consider moving to England to fulfill his role of representing the County of Essex….
The rest of the two-page article is at the link above. We should all be so lucky to have somebody else tracing our genealogy and to get a call from a reporter, asking how we feel about becoming a member of the peerage.