Presidents of the U.S., sons of the shamrock

Updated 5 years ago By Chuck Springston
Many American presidents were from families with Irish roots.
Many American presidents were from families with Irish roots.
Image: StudyHall.Rocks.
On St. Patrick’s Day, we’re all Irish, but some of us are Irish every other day of  the year too. That includes more than half of the 44 men who have been president of the United States.

     President Donald Trump is descended from Scottish and German ancestors, according to the website, Ancestry.com. But at least 25 presidents either have proven genealogical roots in Ireland or lay claim to an Irish heritage through family stories about ancestors hailing from the Emerald Isle.
     The origins of some presidents’ forebears are as cloudy as an Irish day. But the better-documented lineages show that most Irish-descended presidents come from the Ulster region, in particular the counties that today are called Northern Ireland -- part of the United Kingdom and heavily Protestant.
     All but one of the presidents whose ancestors arrived from the independent, Catholic-dominated Republic of Ireland have been Protestants as well. The exception, of course, is John F. Kennedy, the only Catholic president.
     Former President Barack Obama has an Irish connection through his great-great grandmother, Mary Ann Kearney, whose family has been traced by recent genealogical research to the village of Monegall in central Ireland. Mary Ann’s grandfather, Joseph Kearney, moved to New York in 1849, followed by his son Fulmoth (sometimes spelled Falmouth) in 1850 and the rest of the family, including Joseph’s wife, Phoebe (or Phebe), in 1851.
     Fulmoth Kearney married Ohioan Charlotte Holloway, and the couple lived for a period in Ross County, Ohio, before moving to Tipton County, Ind.. about 1866. Mary Ann, born in Indiana, was their daughter. She married Jacob William Dunham of Kansas in 1890. Their son Ralph W. Dunham is the father of Stanley Armour Dunham, whose daughter Stanley Ann Dunham became Obama’s mother. She married Barack H. Obama Sr. in 1960 in Hawaii, where the future president was born a year later.
     Here are the presidents of Irish descent, according to lists compiled by various sources. Several presidents appear on some lists, but not others, reflecting the difficulty in tracing the origins of American families back through the centuries of migrations.

1. Andrew Jackson ( 1767-1845), seventh president

2. William Henry Harrison (1773-1841), ninth president

3. James K. Polk (1795-1849), 11th president

4. James Buchanan (1791-1868), 15th president

5. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th president

6. Andrew Johnson (1808-1875), 17th president

7. Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), 18th president

8. Chester A. Arthur (1829-1886), 21st president

9. Grover Cleveland (1837-1908), 22nd and 24th president

10. Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901), 23rd president

11. William McKinley (1843-1901), 25th president

12. Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), 26th president

13. William Howard Taft (1857-1930), 27th president

14. Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), 28th president

15. Warren G. Harding (1865-1923), 29th president

16. Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), 33rd president

17. John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th president

18. Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973), 36th president

19. Richard Nixon (1913-1994), 37th president

20. Jimmy  Carter (b. 1924), 39th president

21. Ronald Reagan (1911-2004), 40th president

22. George H. W. Bush (b. 1924), 41st president

23. Bill Clinton (b. 1946), 42nd president

24. George W. Bush (b. 1946), 43rd president

25. Barack Obama (b. 1961), 44th president

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