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  • Notes on the Ancestry of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

    Gary Boyd Roberts

    Senator Clinton’s paternal grandparents, Hugh Rodham and Hannah Jones, were respectively a native of Kyo, co. Durham, England (in the North), and the daughter of John and Mary Jones, Welsh immigrant to Scranton, Pa. Hugh was the son of Jonathan Rodham and Isabella Simpson Bell, who immigrated from Durham to Scranton about 1881/82. Jonathan was the son of coal miner Joseph Rodham (1817-1874) of Tanfield, Holmside, and Lanchester, co. Durham, and Elizabeth Scurfield. Isabella Simpson Bell was the daughter of coal miner Thomas Bell (born about 1801) and Elizabeth Dawson (born about 1819), natives of Walls End, co. Northumberland (also in northern England). The parents of Joseph and Elizabeth were Jonathan Rodham, Anne Parkinson, Thomas Scurfield, and Margaret Charlton; Bells and Dawsons have not been further traced. The Rodhams are known for one more generation; Jonathan was the son of Joseph Rodham (died about 1742) of Chester-le-Street and Tanfield, co. Durham and Dorothy Bell (born at Chester-le-Street 26 August 1750). Dorothy Bell, Scurfields, and Charltons may be traced for a few more generations; surnames introduced in these earlier generations include Graham (likely Scottish), Stodart, Whittigar, and Coldcole.

    Senator Clinton’s mother, Chicago native Dorothy Emma Howell, still living, is the daughter of Edwin John Howell, Jr., and Delia Murray, children themselves of Edwin John Howell (1867-1941) and Emma Josephine Monk (1874-1940), both of whom died in Los Angeles; and Daniel Murray (born 1859) and Delia Martin (born about 1861), natives of Ontario, Canada and Michigan, respectively. English Howells and Monks may also be traced for a few more generations; new Welsh or English surnames through these lines include Babb, Abbs, Williams, Hinton, Cotterell, Hodiernne, Floyd, Essex, Lashford, Bradley, and Blakeway.

    The parents of Daniel Murray are unknown; Illinois and Michigan censuses indicate that they were Scots. Murray’s wife, Delia Martin was the daughter of an Antoine Martin (son of French natives Nicholas-Antoine Martine and Odile Richard), and Mary Ann Frances McDougall (1823-1898), born in Windsor, Ontario, who died in Detroit. Mary Ann Frances was a daughter of James McDougall and Catherine Godet dite Marentette, granddaughter of John Robert McDougall and Archange Campeau, and great- granddaughter of George McDougall and Marie-Françoise Navarre. George McDougall was Scots, but Catherine, Archange, and Marie-Françoise were fully French-Canadian. Their ancestry, and the full French-Canadian ancestry of Hillary Rodham Clinton, is traced in “Hillary Rodham Clinton’s French-Canadian Ancestry: Detroit and Michigan Connection,” by Gail Moreau-DesHarnais and Diane Wolford Sheppard, published in Michigan’s Habitant Heritage: Journal of the French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan, vol. 28 #4 (Oct. 2007), pp. 197-202.

    Several French-Canadian scholars have traced a variety of notable distant cousins of the Senator, all themselves of French-Canadian heritage. Most French-Canadians or descendants of French-Canadians may indeed be related to most other French Canadians to the extent of ninth to twelfth cousins – all descend from a small population of seventeenth-century French immigrants to what is now the province of Québec (a similar range of kinship connects most U.S. residents with New England ancestry). Some of these distant cousins include Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, writer Jack Kerouac, singers Madonna (through her mother) and Céline Dion, actress Angelina Jolie, recent Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and, quite surprisingly, Camilla Shand Parker Bowles, now H.R.H. The Duchess of Cornwall. The Duchess has French-Canadian ancestry through Marie-Charlotte Coursol, wife of New England-to-Canada immigrant Ephraim Jones, a great-uncle of Henry David Thoreau (via Jones, Stuart, MacNab, Keppel, Cubitt, and Shand).

    The Senator’s only forebears who lived in the American colonies (pre-1776) were (with his parents) Hillebrand Lootman of New Amsterdam, who in the Dutch Reformed Church in Albany, New York, on 20 December 1689 married the French Marie-Anne Leber (see The American Genealogist 66 [1991]: 1-9, 90-92, 169-75). Through Hillebrand Lootman the Senator is 1/1024th (about one tenth of one percent) New York Dutch. Further research by English, Welsh, Scottish, French, and French Canadian genealogists is eagerly awaited.

    Gary Boyd Roberts

    Notable Kin:
    Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau
    Jack Kerouac
    Madonna
    Céline Dion
    Angelina Jolie
    Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
    Camilla Shand Parker-Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall

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