The importance of the genealogies is two-fold. Not
only are the individual genealogies partial representations
of the family trees of prominent American political
dynasties, ranging from exalted origin to common background,
but in aggregate they reveal the web of relationships
between the families that controlled, and to some
extent still control, the political, social, economic,
military, and imperial direction of colonial America
and then the United States of America. All interesting
and valuable information about all prominent persons
cannot, of course, be included on this site. However,
by presenting the genealogies in family tree format,
additional branches can be appended to include persons
of interest when discovered.
As the Sample Genealogy demonstrates, the basic family
tree format flows downward and to the right over time.
A timeline is included along the left hand side of
the page. In a box in the upper left hand corner is
the Family surname with an indication in which colonies/states
family members held political office. Although a family
may have emigrated first to, say Massachusetts or
Virginia, or even have achieved initial political
office in another colony/state, the primary colony/state
of political success will be associated with the name.
For example, the great grandfather of John Dickinson
(1732-1808), a signer of the U.S. Constitution from
Pennsylvania, emigrated from England to Maryland,
but the family achieved most of its political success
in Delaware. Therefore, “Dickinson of DE Genealogy”
refers to this particular political family tree.
By necessity to save space on pages,
abbreviations are used. A List of Abbreviations is
provided for subscribers.
In a box in the upper right hand
corner of each genealogy is the Family's political
affiliation over time, if known. A U.S. Political
Party Timeline provides approximate duration of major
and minor U.S. political parties for subscribers.
Each genealogy includes the names,
dates of birth and death, political offices held with
dates, and other important accomplishments of prominent
American politicians and in some cases businessmen,
military figures, and other notable historic figures.
Sometimes too, occupations and political affiliations
are individually noted. The names of spouses with
dates of birth and death are given when known. Although
we have endeavored to be as accurate as possible about
numbers of un-named children, inclusion when known
of those who died young may cause variations from
other sources. A List of Abbreviations clarifies notations
that have been abbreviated for space considerations.
As you can see from the Samples, cross references
by marriage to other genealogies are featured in bold,
italicized text. For example, See Warner of VA Genealogy
refers to the Warners of Virginia. In addition, cross
references in all capital letters indicate multiple
pages. For example, SEE WASHINGTON OF VA GENEALOGY
PART II refers to the file PDF-Washington-VA-2, in
other words part 2 of the political family tree of
the Washingtons of Virginia in PDF format, which includes
George Washington (1732-99).
Cross-references in dark
red indicate an active link to another genealogy
on the site. Click on the red text to go to that page.
Individuals in dark blue
indicate an active link to a chronological biography.
Click on the blue text to go to that page.
IF A CROSS REFERENCE IS NOTED ON
A PAGE IN GREEN TEXT, THE CROSS-REFERENCED GENEALOGY
DOES EXIST IN OUR ARCHIVE, ALTHOUGH NOT NECESSARILY
ON THE SITE. All genealogies will eventually be available,
either on the site or by download.
Gaps, Errors, and Updates:
Gaps in knowledge about dates as well as first and
last names are indicated by question marks. In some
cases, a notation such as “at least 1755”
indicates that a person lived until that time and
perhaps longer. Without doubt, errors do exist in
the genealogies, but these are accidental and inadvertent.
If you can fill in a gap or correct an error, kindly
send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please indicate your level of certainty about the
information you are providing and the source if pertinent.
We will evaluate all suggestions and make corrections
in our regular updates, which will occur approximately
every three months.
Please note that genealogies already
on our site may be expanded by discovery of more political
office-holders or prominent persons missed the first
time around as well as marriage connections to other
political families. We will endeavor to inform subscribers
whether updates include corrections and/or expansions.
Methodology & Sources:
The basic method used to produce the genealogies found
on PoliticalFamilyTree.com is a three step process.
The first and simplest task is to identify which individuals
held which offices when. The U.S. Congress has a web
site providing information about all past and present
members. Lists of colonial and state governors can
be gleaned from official government web sites while
unofficial sites provide listings of colonial and
state legislative officials. For more obscure members
of political dynasties and local officials, the search
becomes more complicated. Nevertheless, the problem
is more solvable every day.
Second, a researcher must uncover
facts about births, deaths, and spouses. Often the
same source listing office-holders provides part of
this data. Primary sources to fill in the blanks include
but are not limited to census records, deeds and wills,
marriage licenses, oral histories, tax records, diary
accounts, cemetery listings, and even tombstone inscriptions.
States are making an effort to centralize city and
county documents in Vital Records collections. Other
sources of value are old newspaper articles and obituaries,
encyclopedias, family histories compiled by persons
of varying skill, special genealogical studies, and
genealogical web sites. The latter often contain verbatim
accounts of primary and secondary sources.
The third step is to connect persons
with same (or similar) last names, including spouses,
in a genealogical tree with inclusion not only of
offices held and dates but other interesting information.
Because of name and date confusion and other impediments
to good order and correctness, composing an accurate
tree can be quite a challenge. Some gaps in names,
dates, and connections may remain. Because of space
limitations, many local office holders may be left
out. Some colonial and state legislative office holders
of lesser importance will also be inadvertently excluded.
Over time as more evidence is uncovered, many of these
deficiencies will be corrected.
Overall, the major difficulty in completing these
genealogies is not in the finding of information but
in the processing of so large a volume of data. While
the ancestry of many key figures expounded upon in
chronological biographies is fairly well known, deciding
what is fact and what fiction for the second, third,
and lower tiers of American politics is quite a chore.
The jigsaw puzzle nature of interlocking genealogical
trees helps reduce mistakes and eliminate uncertainties.
All sources used in their production are publicly
available in one form or another for those who wish
to conduct their own research of the genealogical
record of American politicians.
All genealogies currently on the PoliticalFamilyTree.com
site, all those that will appear, and those that will
be made available for download are copyright protected
by CLP Research. All rights are reserved. No portion
of these materials may be reproduced, by any process
or technique, for other than individual use without
the express written consent of CLP Research.