Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 is President’s Day, the national celebration of both President Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays that also honors all U.S. presidents. This national day of patriotism gives us an opportunity to celebrate our country’s rich heritage and history – for GSMD members, these celebrations are especially poignant, with the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing at Plymouth Rock on the near horizon.
But would it surprise you to learn that neither Lincoln nor Washington descended from Mayflower passengers? As you’re celebrating and commemorating our nation’s leaders today, let’s take a look at which U.S. presidents are Mayflower cousins!
The U.S. presidents that can trace their roots to passengers on the Mayflower’s historic voyage are:
- President John Adams (1735-1826), 2nd President of the United States, descendant of John and Priscilla (Mullins) Alden, and William Mullins;
- President John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), 6th President, descendant of John and Priscilla (Mullins) Alden, and William Mullins;
- President George H. W. Bush (1924-2018), 41st President, descendant of John and Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland, Francis Cooke, and John and Joan (Hurst) Tilley;
- President George W. Bush (1946- ), 43rd President, descendant of John and Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland, Francis Cooke, John and Joan (Hurst) Tilley, and Henry Samson;
- Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933), 30th President, descendant of Edward Doty;
- President James A. Garfield (1831-1881), 20th President, descendant of John and Elinor Billington, and Francis Billington;
- President Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), 18th President, descendant of Richard and Elizabeth (Walker) Warren;
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd President, descendant of Issac Allerton, Francis Cooke, John and Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland, Degory Priest, John and Joan (Hurst) Tilley, and Richard and Elizabeth (Walker) Warren.
- President Zachary Taylor (1784-1850), 12th President, descendant of Isaac Allerton, and William and Mary Brewster.
What about our most recent presidents?
Barack Obama, 44th President, deserves an honorable mention for having Pilgrim roots; however, he is not a direct descendant of a Mayflower passenger. His ancestor, Thomas Blossom, had his sights set on the New World and boarded the Speedwell, sister ship of the Mayflower; however, a leak forced the ship to turn around. Blossom and his wife left Leiden for Plymouth nine years after the initial settlement arrived, on a ship also called the Mayflower.
President Donald Trump traces his ancestry to Germany and Scotland, and is not known to have descended from any Mayflower passengers.
However, a number of vice presidents, statesmen and women, and celebrities are known Mayflower descendants. Check out our list of notable descendants and see who’s on your family tree!