On April 30, 1789, George Washington was inaugurated as first President of
the United States, and the institution of the American presidency began. To
commemorate the presidency’s 200th anniversary, Carl Boyer 3rd of Santa Clarita,
California, will publish in 1989 a preliminary version of Ancestors of American
Presidents, my compilation of presidential ancestor tables (for seven, eight, or
nine generations, depending on century of birth), plus charts showing kinships
between presidents and outlines of royal descents, an introduction, and a fairly
As a preview of this work, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the
American presidency in the NEXUS, and because of the breadth of both
presidential kinships to Americans generally and popular interest in
presidential genealogy, I present in this article a survey of presidential royal
descents derived through colonial immigrants to New England. In the next
“Notable Kin” column we shall consider the ancestry of the 41st president, to be
inaugurated January 20, 1989.
As with the 30 “tycoon” families whose New England-derived royal descents we
considered last year (NEXUS 4:69-73, 159-62, 192-95), much American social
history is reflected in the presidential ancestry treated below. Twenty of the
39 individual presidents to date have had New England forebears, although
Taylor’s only such were the Allerton and Brewster Mayflower families, Carter’s
the Almy and Cornell families of Rhode Island, and even Lincoln’s only the
Samuel Lincoln (a Gilman and Jacob kinsman), Lyford, Jones, and Whitman families
of Hingham, Weymouth, or Hull, plus the Holmeses of Newport. Of the 17
presidents with more extensive New England ancestry, 10 have at least one Great
Migration forebear of proved or (for Bemijamin Harrison via Anthony Collamore)
highly probable royal descent. The first two of these 10 - J. Q. Adams and
Franklin Pierce, natives of Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts, and
Hillsborough, New Hampshire--can be said to represent, as regards social
standing, immediate ancestral background, and regional affiliation, if not party
or ideology, the New England Federalist mercantile elite and its intellectual
offspring, responsible for Unitarianism, the “flowering of New England,” and
much early feminism and other reform. Hayes, Coolidge, Hoover, and Ford,
natives of Delaware, Ohio; Plymouth, Vermont; West Branch, Iowa; and Omaha,
Nebraska, respectively, may be considered “pioneer” or pioneer-derived
presidents associated with rural, small-town, or small-city conservative values,
although Hayes lived in Cincinnati as well as Fremont, Ohio, and Hoover’s
professionial career was international (Coolidge and Ford, we might note, moved
to Northampton, Massachusetts, and Grand Rapids, Michigan).
Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and Taft, from Buffalo, Indianapolis, and
Cincinnati, represented post-Civil War upstate New York or midwestern urban
patriciates, often associated with big business, newer industrial cities or
“good government” reform. F. D. Roosevelt represented genealogically the
eastern intercity Social Register “establishment,” a second-generation evolution
of the industrial tycoons; a Roosevelt half-brother and a Delano great-uncle
married Astors, and various relatives were among the “400.”
Of these 10 presidents, J.Q. Adams, Pierce, Hayes, Taft, and Coolidge were of
entirely New England American ancestry, as were three of F. D. Roosevelt’s
grandparents. With between 20 and 200 Great Migration or earlier Plymouth
Colomiy immigrant forebears, these presidents are distantly related, probably,
to a very large percentage of the entire “New England family” of perhaps 100
million living Americans, including many NEXUS readers. So too may be
Cleveland, of three-eighths, and Ford, of one-fourth New England ancestry. Even
Benjamin Harrison, of one-fourth combined New England and Long Island ancestry,
and Hoover, of three-thirty-seconds New England ancestry, undoubtably have
millions of American cousins through Yankee forebears. As with tycoon families
also, royal descent for these 10 presidents should not surprise us. One hundred
fifteen or so colonial immigrants to New England -- a list I published in The
Connecticut Nutmegger (henceforth TCN) 10(1977-78):187-98, 400, and updated in
the Register 141 (1987):92-109, both with annotations -- have widely accepted
royal descents, and by the mid- -19th century many, even perhaps most, New
England derived Americans could count at least one of the 115 as forebears.
Since such lines link American chief executives to English and European kings,
presidential royal descents are of keen historical and popular interest, and
both presidential ancestry and these particular royal descemits have enjoyed
much recent attention by major genealogical scholars.
Ancestor lists of J.Q. Adams and Taft, compiled by Clarence Almon Torrey,
were published in The American Genealogist (henceforth TAG) in 1945 and 1946.
Adams’ royal descent, from Edward III. King of England, died 1377, via Mrs.
Elizabeth Coytmore Tyng, was developed by John Insley Coddington. Taft’s, from
Carolingian or Capetian French kings via the Lawrences of St. Albans,
Hertfordshire, has been developed by David L. Greene. Full ancestor tables for
Pierce, Hayes, and Coolidge, compiled by Edward F. Holden, George Englert
McCracken, and Robert Charles Anderson, respectively, were published in TAG in
1979, 1980, and 1977. The Welsh ancestry of Pierce forebears Griffith Bowen and
his wife, both  descendants of Henry I, King of England, died 1135, is the
special interest of Lt. General Herman Nickerson, Jr., aided by Welsh scholars
Peter C. Bartrum and William C. Rogers, and Hayes’ Capetian descent via Thomas
Trowbridge was developed by Charles Fitch Northen. Books published in 1892,
1893, and 1933 remain the major single monographs for Cleveland, Benjamin
Harrison, and F. D. Roosevelt, but royal lines for Cleveland ancestor Robert
Abell, a descendant of Edward I, King of England, died 1307, and Harrison
ancestor Anthony Collamore of Scituate, a Capetian descendant and cousin of Mrs.
Agnes Harris Spencer Edwards of Hartford, have been developed by Neil D.
Thompson and Douglas Richardson respectively. Abell’s line was published in
1984 in The Genealogist (New York), henceforth TG, and abstracted in F. L. Weis
and W. L. Sheppard, Jr., Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New
England Between 1623 and 1650, 6th ed. (henceforth AR6), 1988. The Capetian
line of the Collamores of Braunton, Devon, was also abstraded in AR6, but
Anthony Collamore’s almost certain immediate ancestry awaits a full monograpb.
Of Coolidge’s forebears the Bulkeley ancestry of Mrs. Elizabeth St. John Whiting
was the subject of a 1933 genealogy by Donald Lines Jacobus, later TAG articles
by John C. Hunt (which developed a descent from King Edward I and Piers de
Gaveston), and an extensive ancestor table compiled by Henry James Young, and
Samuel Appleton was an abiding interest of the late Walter Goodwin Davis, whose
Ancestry of Mary Isaac (1955) develops the royal descent of Appleton’s
F. D. Roosevelt shared the Coytmore and Lawrence lines discussed above.
Among his other immigrant ancestors, John Nelson, a descendant of King Edward
III, was treated by Henry B. Hoff in TG in 1981; Mrs. Catherine Hamby
Hutchinson, a descendant of King Henry I, is the subject of ongoing research by
Wayne H. M. Wilcox; Dr. Richard Palgrave and the famed Mrs. Anne Marbury
Hutchinson, both descendants of King Edward I, were major interests of the late
George Andrews Moriarty and Meredith B. Colket, Jr., respectively; and Thomas
Southworth, whose royal descent (also from Edward I) is possible, perhaps
probable, but unproved, belonged to a family much studied by the late Frederick
Lewis Weis. An initial Ford article, outlining his matrilineal descent and
compiled by R. C. Anderson, William Addams Reifwiesner, and myself, appeared in
TAG in 1977, and I noted Ford’s descent from Thomas and Elizabeth (Marshall)
Lewis in that journal in 1986. Thomas Lewis, of ancient (eventually “royal”)
Welsh descent according to the 1623 visitation of Shropshire, and Elizabeth
Marshall, a descendant of King Edward I, were also long-time interests of the
above-mentioned Walter Goodwin Davis. I might also note that the only non-New
England derived royal descent of any of these 10 presidents, that of Benjamin
Harrison via Mrs. Sarah Ludlow Carter of Virginia, is best treated in Herbert
Furman Seversmith, The Ancestry of Roger Ludlow (1964), the uncompleted study of
the medieval forebears of Sarah’s uncle, deputy-governor of both Massachusetts
and Conmiecticut, and likely drafter of the “Fundamental Orders” of
The format of the following outlined descents is similar to that of earlier
colunms: the president’s name, birth and death years, parents, a set of
grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., backwards to one or more italicized
immigrants of royal descent (to Massachusetts unless otherwise stated), with
semicolons separating generations and commas separating couples in the same
generation from the President.
1. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, 1767-1848; John Adams, Jr., 1735-1826, 2nd U.S.
president, & Abigail Smith; William Smith & Elizabeth Quincy; John
Quincy & Elizabeth Norton; Daniel Quincy & Anmia Shepard; Thomas
Shepard, Jr., & Anna Tyng; William Tyng & Elizabeth Coytmore.
2. FRANKLIN PIERCE, 1804-1869; Benjamin Pierce, Jr., & Anna Kendrick;
Benjamin Kendrick & Sarah Harris; Caleb Kendrick & Abigail Bowen; John
Bowen & Hannah Brewer; Henry Bowen & Elizabeth Johnson; Griffith Bowen
& Margaret Fleming.
3. RUTHERFORD BIRCHARD HAYES, 1822-1893; Rutherford Hayes, Jr., &
Sophia Birchard; Rutherford Hayes & Chloe Smith; Ezekiel Hayes & Rebecca
Russell; John Russell & Sarah Trowbridge; Thomas Trowbridge (III) & Mary
Winston; Thomas Trowbridge, Jr., & Sarah Rutherford; Thomas Trowbridge of
Connecticut & Elizabeth Marshall.
4. (STEPHEN) GROVER CLEVELAND, 1837-1908; Richard Falley Cleveland &
Anne Neal; William Cleveland & Margaret Valley; Aaron Cleveland (IV) &
Abiah Hyde; James H yde & Sarah Marshall; John Hyde & Experience Abell;
Caleb Abell& Margaret Post; Robert Abell & Joanna ____
5. BENJAMIN HARRISON, 1833-1901; John Scott Harrison & Elizabeth
Ramsey Irwin; William Henry Harrison, 1773-1841, 9th U.S. president, & Anna
Tuthill Symmes; John Cleves Symmes & Anna Tuthill; Timothy Symmes, Jr.,
& Mary Cleves; Timothy Symmes & Elizabeth Collamore; Anthony Collamore
& Sarah Chittenden.
6. WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT, 1857-1930; Alphonso Taft & Louisa Maria
Torrey; Samuel Davenport Torrey & Susan Holman Waters; William Torrey &
Anna Davenport; Joseph Torrey & Deborah Holbrook; William Torrey &
Susanna Giddings; Joseph Giddings, Jr., & Grace Wardwell; Joseph Giddings
& Susanna Rindge; George Giddings & Jane Lawrence.
7. (JOHN) CALVIN COOLIDGE, (JR.), 1872-1933; John Calvin Coolidge &
Victoria Josephine Moor; Calvin Galusha Coolidge & Sarah Almeda Brewer,
Hiram Dunlop Moor & Abigail Franklin; Calvin Coolidge & Sarah Thompson,
Israel C. Brewer & Sarah Brown, John Dunlop Moor & Mary Davis; John
Coolidge & Hannah Priest, Israel Putnam Brown & Sally Briggs, Nathaniel
Davis, Jr., & Lydia Harwood; Josiah Coolidge & Mary Jones, Adam Brown,
Jr., & Priscilla Putnam, Nathaniel Davis & Susanna Lane; Obadiah
Coolidge, Jr., & Rachel Goddard, Tarrant Putnam, Jr., & Priscilla Baker,
John Lane & Katherine Whiting; Josiah Goddard & Rachel Davis, Thomas
Baker, Jr., &  Mary Capen, Samuel Whiting (III) & Elizabeth Read;
William Goddard & Elizabeth Miles, Joseph Capen & Priscilla Appleton,
Samuel Whiting, Jr., & Dorcas Chester; John Appleton & Priscilla Glover,
Samuel Whiting & Elizabeth St. John; Samuel Appleton & Judith
8. HERBERT CLARK HOOVER, 1874-1964; Jesse Clark Hoover & Hulda Randall
Minthorn; Theodore Minthorn & Mary Wasley; John Minthorn & Lucinda
Sherwood; Thomas Sherwood & Endymia Winn; Jacob Winn (III?) & Phebe
Grout; John Grout, Jr., & Phebe Spofford; John Spofford (IV) & Hannah
Tyler; Job Tyler & Margaret Bradstreet; Dudley Bradstreet & Anne Wood;
Simon Bradstreet, Governor of Massachusetts, & Anne Dudley, known as Anne
Bradstreet, poetess; Governor Thomas Dudley of Massachusetts & Dorothy
9. FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, 1882-1945; James Roosevelt & Sara
Delano; Isaac Roosevelt & Mary Rebecca Aspinwall, Warren Delano, Jr., &
Catherine Robbins Lyman; James Roosevelt & Maria Eliza Walton, John
Aspinwall, Jr., & Susan Howland, Warren Delano & Deborah Church, Joseph
Lyman (III) & Anne Jean Robbins; Abraham Walton & Grace Williams, John
Aspinwall & Rebecca Smith, Joseph Howland & Elizabeth Bill, Joseph
Church & Deborah Perry, Edward Hutchinson Robbins & Elizabeth Murray;
Jacob Walton & Maria Beekman, William Henry Smith & Margaret Lloyd,
Nathaniel Howland, Jr., & Abigail Burt, Caleb Church & Mercy Pope,
Nathaniel Robins & Elizabeth Hutchinson, James Murray of N.C. & Mass.
& Barbara Bennet of N.C.; William Walton & Mary Santvoort, Henry Smith
& Anna Shepard, Henry Lloyd & Rebecca Nelson, Nathaniel How and &
Martha Cole, Lemuel Pope & Elizabeth Hunt, Edward Hutchinson & Lydia
Foster; Thomas Walton & Mary (very probably) Lawrence, Thomas Shepard (III)
& Mary Anderson, John Nelson & Elizabeth Tailer, Joseph Howland &
Elizabeth Southworth, Ephraim Hunt, Jr., & Joanna Alcock, Elisha Hutchinson
& Elizabeth Clarke; Thomas Lawrence of Newtown, L.I., & Mary Thomas
Shepard, Jr., & Anna Tyng, Thomas Southworth & Elizabeth Reynor, John
Alcock & Sarah Palgrave, Edward Hutchinson & Catherine Hamby; William
Tyng & Elizabeth Coytmore, Dr. Richard Palgrave & Anna _____, William
Hutchinson & Anne Marbury of Rhode Island.
10. GERALD RUDOLPH FORD,JR., born Leslie Lynch King, Jr., 1913; Leslie Lynch
King & Dorothy Ayer Gardner; Levi Addison Gardner & Adele Augusta Ayer;
George Manney Ayer & Amy Gridley Butler; George Alden Butler & Elizabeth
Ely Gridley; Daniel Butler & Betsey Comstock; Anselm Comstock &
Elizabeth Jewett; David Jewett & Sarah Selden; Nathan Jewett & Deborah
Lord; Joseph Jewett & Mary Hibbert; ____ Hibbert & Hannah Gibbins; James
Gibbins & Judith Lewis; Thomas Lewis & Elizabeth Marshall, both of
Sources (for both the American lines and royal descents):
1. J. Q. Adams: TAG 21(1944-45):167-69, 32(1956):9-18, the latter
reprinted in N.D. Thompson & R.C. Anderson, eds., A Tribute to John Insley
Coddington on the Occasion of the Fortieth Anniversary of The American Society
of Genealogists (1980), pp. 136-43, 146-48.
2. Pierce: TAG 55(1979):142-45, AR6, line 179, National Genealogical
Society Quarterly 67(1979):163-66, TCN 19(1986-87):335-41, 588-96, and the
Register 141(1987):102-103, plus sources cited in this article.
3. Hayes: TAG 56(1980):160-69, 230-36, 18(1941-42): 129-37, 57(1981):31-33
and a forthcoming article by Charles Fitch-Northen to appear in volume 9 of
4. Cleveland: Eben Putnam, New England Ancestry of Grover Cleveland
(1892), first published in Putnam’s Monthly Historical Magazine
1(1892-93):153-65; H.A. & L. P. Abell, The Abell Family in America (1940),
pp. 39-46, 49-52, 58, AR6. line 56A, TG 5(1984):131-39, 150-51,
154-56, 158-71, the Register 141(1987):101-102
5. B. Harrison: C.P. Keith, The Ancestry of Benjamin Harrison (1893), J.A.
Vinton, The Symmes Memorial (1873) pp. 33-34, 44-45, 61-64, 89-92, 119-20,
Charles Hatch, Genealogy of the Descendants of Anthony Collamer of Scituate,
Massachusetts (1915), pp. 9, 21, plus unpublished research of Douglas Richardson
of Bethany, Oklahoma, reported in the Register 141(1987):96, based in part on
the Northam, Devon, parish register, J. L. Vivian, The Visitations of the County
of Devon (1895), pp. 216-17, and AR6, line 246E.
6. Taft: TAG 22(1945-46):205-10, the complete Taft ancestor table in C. A.
Torrey’s MSS. collection at the Society, and unpublished, copyrighted research
by David L. Greene, reported in the Register 141(1987):97, to appear in a future
issue of TG, that develops a royal descent for the children of Thomas Lawrence
of St. Albans, Hertfordshire.
7. Coolidge: TAG 53(1977):65-74, 160-67, 54(1978):141, plus AR6, lines 249
(S. Appleton), 85 (and the Register 141:100, for Whiting), TCN 10(1977-78):188
(Mrs. Judith Everard Appleton), 400 (Goddard), and sources cited therein. For
Goddard see also Visitation of England and Wales, Notes, Vol. 6(1906), pp.
109-16 (Goddard), W.H. Rylands, ed., Pedigrees from the Visitation of Hampshire
(Harliean Society Publications - - Visitations Series, vol. 64) (1913), p. 16
(Gifford), and Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica, 5th ser., 9(1935-
37):88-90, 14246,44-48, 162-68 (Paulet, etc.)
8. Hoover: H. H. McLean, Genealogy of the Herbert Hoover Family (1967),
Errata & Addenda (1976), TAG 55 (1979):48-49 (caveats for other lines), AR6,
line 50, the Register 141(1987)101, and sources cited therein.
9. F. D. Roosevelt: A.P. Johnson, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Colonial
Ancestors (1933), TAG 17(194041 ):74-78 (Lawrence), plus, for outlines or
bibliographical notes on the royal descents of his immigrant ancestors, AR6,
lines 9 (Southworth, unproved). 14 (Mrs. Anne Marbury Hutchinson), 15
(Palgrave), and 199 (Tyng), the Register 141(1987):96-97, 102 (Mrs. Catherine
Hamby Hutchinson, Lawrence, and Nelson), TCN 10(1977-78):194-95 (James Murray
& Barbara Bennet, both descendants of James II, King of Scotland, died 1460,
#s 1 & 6 above (for further sources for Mrs. Elizabeth Coytmore Tyng and
Thomas Lawrence of Newtown, L.I., brother of Mrs. Jane Lawrence Giddings), TG
2(1981 ):123-28 (Nelson), and a forthcoming Hamby article by Wayne Wilcox.
10. Ford: TAG 53(1977):56-57, 61(1985-6):173-74, F.C. Jewett, History and
Genealogy of the Jewetts of America (1908), pp. 55, 104-105, 195, 331-32, W.G.
Davis, The Ancestry of Charity Haley (1916), pp. 51-59, 62-63, and The Ancestry
of Nicholas Davis (1956), pp. 105-25, 137- 88, AR6, line 17, and the Register
141(1987):101 (Thomas Lewis).
11. Presidential ancestry generally: Burke’s Presidential Famlies of the
United States of America, 2nd ed. (1981), Appendix C, “Ancestral Tables of the
Presidents,” and “American Presidential Ancestry: A Bibliography” in TAG
54(1978):21 1-20, 55:46-52, and addenda in 56:28-30. 57:87-89. 59:2-5.