Update for Ancestors of American Presidents

Editor’s Note: NEHGS Senior Research Scholar Emeritus Gary Boyd Roberts makes his Vita Brevis début with a series of articles updating entries to his Ancestors of American Presidents, 2009 Edition, and its 2012 reprint.

Ancestors of Am Pres-14829The subject matter of Ancestors of American Presidents (first published in 1989) is intrinsically interesting, of course, but I have also found it to be a useful delineator of major patterns in American genealogical evolution. As I noted in the introduction to the 2009 edition of this book, within it “lie not only clues perhaps to new lines in your own ancestry, but also … various, and collectively millions, of kinships to presidents. Discovering and enjoying these kinships…, you will, I hope, have further thoughts about your own genealogical connection, or ‘fit,’ into the country at large.”

The following entries show recent published research on the ancestors of American presidents and their spouses:

  1. Dorothy ____, wife of John Plumb of Wethersfield and Branford, Conn., and ancestor of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (p. 550), was Dorothy Chaplin, sister of Mrs. Martha Chaplin Parke (p. 636), first wife (and first cousin) of Robert Parke of New London and Stonington, Conn., an ancestor of President Harding; First Ladies Ellen Wilson and Bess Truman (pp. 642–43); and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, her sons, and her grandchildren. Dorothy and Martha were daughters of William Chaplin (and Agnes Holborough), son by an unknown wife of William Chaplin, d. 1575–77/78, of Long Melford, Suffolk, these last parents also of Alice Chaplin, wife of an elder Robert Parke and mother of the above New London immigrant. See The American Genealogist 82 [2007]: 250–61. The Chaplin-derived kinship between Harding and FDR is the first between these two presidents, so FDR now has 19 presidential kinsmen, one more than G.H.W. and G.W. Bush, and Harding has ten (pp. 591–93).
  1. Ulysses S. Grant and F.D. Roosevelt ancestor John Scudder (pp. 56 [#142], 455) was a son of Henry Scudder, d. 1594–95, of Horton Kirby, Kent, and Elizabeth ____. An almost certain granddaughter of this couple was the immigrant Bridget ____ of Salem, Mass., wife of Thomas Verry and Edward Giles, and mother of Eleazer Giles (p. 95), Taft ancestor #228. The resulting kinship between Grant and Taft would also be their first. Taft would then have 17 presidential kinsmen, and Grant eight. See TAG 72 [1997]: 285–300.
  1. Grant and F.D. Roosevelt ancestor Elizabeth (Stoughton) Scudder (pp. 56 [#143], 455) was a daughter of Rev. Thomas Stoughton, b. ca. 1555, vicar of Naughton, Suffolk, and Coggeshall, Essex, and his first wife, Katherine ____. Elizabeth’s brother was Israel Stoughton (1602/3–1644), militia officer and founder of Dorchester, Mass., who married Elizabeth Knight, maternal aunt of Yale College benefactor Elihu Yale, and left (in addition to William Stoughton, chief justice of Mass. during the Salem witchcraft trials) a daughter, Rebecca Stoughton, who married William Tailer. Elizabeth (Tailer) Nelson, daughter of these last, was FDR ancestor #175, p. 124. See TAG 72 [1997]: 295–97, 29 [1953]: 193–204, 33 [1957]: 105–12, and the Nelson work by Temple Prime cited on p. 263. And for Exhurst, Roberts, likely Colepepper and Roper, and possible Lewknor and RD [royal descent] ancestry of the Stoughtons, see The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 165 [2011]: 245–60, 166 [2012]: 46–70.

To be continued.

About Gary Boyd Roberts

Gary Boyd Roberts is the Senior Research Scholar Emeritus of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. A native of Houston, he is a graduate of Yale and the University of Chicago; he also studied at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests include immigrant origins and royal descents; royal and noble genealogy; the ancestry of notable figures, especially American presidents; and colonial New England, the mid-Atlantic states, and the South. He is the author, co-author, or editor of numerous works, including Ancestors of American Presidents (1989, 1995, and 2009), and The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States (2004); his life’s work is “The Mowbray Connection: An Analysis of the Genealogical Evolution of British, American and Continental Nobilities, Gentries, and Upper Classes Since the End of the Middle Ages” in 23 vols.

12 thoughts on “Update for Ancestors of American Presidents

  1. What fun. Rev. Thomas and wife Katherine Stoughton were my 10 great grandparents. Had no idea there was any connection to Grant and Roosevelt (although it is a mighty distant connection)

  2. It is such a pleasure to see the eminent Gary Boyd Roberts join the Vita Brevis group of contributors. I am looking forward to more!

    Thanks to GBR, I learned that I am a Parke – Chaplin descendant and distant cousin of so many notable individuals.

  3. Presidential kinships are inherently interesting. So far I haven’t found any connections, though I do have early New England and New Netherland ancestors–and some Scots-Irish who were here well before 1800. When I first tried to Google my grandfather, Norwegian immigrant Henry Olaf Harrison, the results got clogged with Pres. William Henry Harrison. That led to learning “advanced” search to subtract out the president. Very few hits now come up for my grandfather, but at least they’re helpful to me! Maybe one of these days I will find a real presidential connection. But it won’t come from the Norwegian half of my ancestry, as important as that is to me.

  4. I wish to say thank you Gary and all our friends who give us such great info. I am from New Brunswick. Canada but have many links to Ancestry from the Eastern Coast of United States and elsewhere in the present United States. I wish each and everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Sincere Best Wishes, Paul Morris Hilton

  5. Thanks Gary. For once you did not add new generations to my line but I’m still catching up from my NEHGS visit in Oct. I’m sorting out the Pierce connection at the moment. Linda Wensrich.

  6. Thank you for the update. What would be the correct way to cite information found on this page, as a source used for genealogy?

  7. I just want to reiterate what’s been the prevailing comment here: it’s always absolutely fantastic to hear from Gary Boyd Roberts!

  8. I have additional genealogical information to add to Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants for pages 173, 271, 414 and 448. Who can I forward this information to? Thank you. Patricia Wright

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