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Best of 2012 – The Royal Ancestry of President Abraham Lincoln

Posted By on December 29, 2012

According to Burke’s Presidential Families of the United States, Abraham Lincoln is a direct descendant of King Edward I Plantagenet (1239-1307) of England.  This connection with the royalty of the British Isles gives some descendants of the same king who currently have a connection with the Lykens Valley area, a distant cousin relationship with our martyred sixteenth president who led the nation during the Civil War.

The genealogical chart shown below traces Lincoln’s line from Edward I (top left) down through Lincoln’s mother, Nancy [Hanks] Lincoln (1784-1818), a family that had its American beginnings in the Philadelphia area but later migrated to Virginia and Kentucky.  It is reproduced below from the appendix of the aforementioned book, which describes other interesting royal connections to American presidents – namely, George Washington as descended from King Henry III (1207-1272); George Washington from King Edward I (1239-1307); Thomas Jefferson from David I, King of Scott (1080-1153); James Monroe from Edward III (1312-1377); John Quincy Adams from Edward I (1239-1307); Ulysses Grant from David I, King of Scots (1080-1153); and, although he was not a president, the genealogical connection of Robert E. Lee to Queen Elizabeth II.  There is also a connection with a more recent president, Richard M. Nixon, and King Edward III, although in that case, the claim goes through an “illegitimate” (but “biological”) offspring, Eleanor Holland, who was born around 1405.

Unfortunately, there is very little documentation in the table itself, but all the documentation (dates, marriages, names of other offspring, etc.) can be easily located in a good genealogical library or on line.  Occasionally, the spellings of names vary and in the period before surnames came into common usage, there can be confusion.  Burke’s, which publishes genealogical references, is located in England and published Burke’s Presidential Families of the United States of America in first edition in 1975.  It stands behind all of its genealogical references and the materials are often quoted when applying for admission to patriotic societies such as the Daughters of the American Revolution or the Sons of Union Veterans.  A copy is available on the open shelves in the main building of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Once an American line is connected with a royal line, the “cousin” connections become easy to determine.  It’s hard to believe, and he may not have had any inkling of it, but Abraham Lincoln can not only be connected as a cousin to the aforementioned presidents and Robert E. Lee, but also to Queen Victoria.  Thus, the very country that the Confederacy was courting and sought recognition from, was ruled by a monarch who was a distant cousin of the president of the United States!  Even if they didn’t know it then, it makes for an interesting story now.

Abraham Lincoln and Mary [Todd] Lincoln had four sons, only one of whom, Robert Todd Lincoln,survived into adulthood.   He married Mary Harlan and together they had three children but each of those lines ends.  Today, there are no living descendants of Abraham Lincoln.

Pictured below is Queen Victoria.  Her “American Cousin”, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated in April 1865, ironically, while watching a play of the same name.

Photos of Lincoln and Victoria are from Wikipedia.  The genealogical chart showing the descendants of Abraham Lincoln is linked from the Arlington National Cemetery website of M.R. Patterson.


2 Responses to “Best of 2012 – The Royal Ancestry of President Abraham Lincoln”

  1. JOYCE MALLORY says:

    I am a Genealogist for a few years, but am a direct relative to both Abraham Lincoln and Queen Victoria.
    Thanks for the input of many people bringing to this point.
    Sincere Joyce Mallory

    • james patten says:

      Hello joyce mallory i see you state here that you are a relative of abe lincoln.

      We are in the final stages of verifying are relation to abe lincolns mother nancy hanks

      My great great grandmother is nancy hanks lay. What is your relation to abe lincoln.

      We could be related to if you dont mind please reply to determine if we are couisins.

      James Patten

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