about us join update mailing list tips for using this site privacy statement contact us


Sign Up for Annual Subscription


PoliticalFamilyTree.com -- About the Genealogies

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.

Basic Structure:
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.

Cross References:
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.


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 customerservice@politicalfamilytree.com. 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.