Special Report

A Quick Family History of Every US President

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

George Washington
> Heritage: English
> Birthplace Westmoreland County, Virginia
> Time in office: 1789-1797

Many of the first president’s ancestors are from England. George Washington’s great-grandfather, John Washington, who was born in England, relocated to the Colony of Virginia in 1656 or 1657 after the death of his father.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

John Adams
> Heritage: English
> Birthplace Quincy, Massachusetts
> Time in office: 1797-1801

John Adams’ roots can also be traced back to England. His great-great-grandfather, Henry Adams, emigrated from England and settled in Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1636.

Source: National Archives / Getty Images

Thomas Jefferson
> Heritage: English and possibly Welsh
> Birthplace Shadwell, Virginia
> Time in office: 1801-1809

Thomas Jefferson’s Welsh connection has yet to be proved. However, in his 70s, Jefferson wrote: “The tradition in my father’s family is that their ancestors came to this country from Wales, from the region of Snowden, highest mountain in Great Britain.” Jefferson’s mother’s family had roots in England and Scotland.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

James Madison
> Heritage: English
> Birthplace Port Conway, Virginia
> Time in office: 1809-1817

James Madison’s great-great-grandfather, Captain Isaac Madison, was born in London. He moved to Virginia where he bought some land and started a plantation. He was the first of several Madison family generations of powerful landowners.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

James Monroe
> Heritage: Scottish and English
> Birthplace Monroe Hall, Virginia
> Time in office: 1817-1825

James Monroe was the first American president with definite family roots tracing back to Scotland. There is a direct link between Monroe and 16th century Scottish clan chief, Robert Munro of Foulis, according to a DNA research project. His great-great-grandfather, Andrew Monroe, left Scotland and moved to Virginia in 1650.