Thursday, January 10, 2008

Irish Presidents

If you ask most people which President had Irish ancestry, you get one quick answer - JFK. But according to the Directory of Irish Genealogy, there are 15 others, including our current President:
  • Andrew Jackson
  • James Knox Polk
  • James Buchanan
  • Ulysses S Grant
  • Chester Alan Arthur
  • Grover Cleveland
  • William McKinley
  • Woodrow Wilson
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson
  • Richard Milhous Nixon
  • James Earl Carter
  • Ronald Wilson Reagan
  • George Herbert Walker Bush
  • William Jefferson Clinton
  • George W Bush

This page also gives some background on the genealogical questions surrounding some of the recent president's Irish ancestry.

To go with this, you can read a USA Today article on Bush's Irish link. That article actually only says there are 11 presidents with Irish ancestry, so believe who you choose.

1 comment:

Michael Meckler said...

There has actually been some dispute over the "Irishness" of some of the presidents on your list because their ancestors included Protestants from Britain (mostly Scotland) who settled in Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries. Many Irish Catholics have never accepted the legitimacy of the so-called "Scotch Irish," whose descendants form the majority of the population in today's Northern Ireland. Irish identity is a highly charged concept with political and religious overtones, and this is why Irish fraternal organizations in the United States tend to have very close connections to the Catholic Church and very few Protestant members. So it is not because of oversight that John F. Kennedy is looked to as an Irishman, while Ulysses S. Grant is not.