Birth Name: John Forbes Kerry
Place of Birth: Aurora, Colorado, U.S.
Date of Birth: December 11, 1943
*Ashkenazi Jewish (father; who was raised Catholic)
*English, Scottish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Dutch, Welsh, distant French (mother)
John Kerry is an American diplomat and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he has served as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, from March 6, 1983 to January 2, 1985, a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, from January 2, 1985 to February 1, 2013, and the United States Secretary of State, from February 1, 2013 to January 20, 2017.
He was the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States in 2004.
John is the son of Rosemary Isabel (Forbes) and Richard John Kerry, a diplomat, lawyer, and writer. John is married to Teresa Heinz Kerry.
John’s paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Central Europe (Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary). They converted to Catholicism, and John’s father was raised Catholic (as was John). John was initially unaware of his Jewish heritage; he was thought by the public to have been of Irish ancestry, because of the surname “Kerry”, which his grandfather was said to have picked from a map.
John’s mother, who was Protestant, was born in Paris, France, to American parents. Most of her American-born antecedents were born in New England. Her ancestry was largely English, and also included Scottish, Scots-Irish (Northern Irish), Dutch, Welsh, and distant French. One of John’s maternal great-great-grandfathers was Robert Charles Winthrop, Speaker of the House of Representatives, a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, and a Senator from Massachusetts. John’s maternal ancestors also include several Governors of Massachusetts.
John’s paternal grandfather was Frederick A. Kerry (born Fritz Kohn, the son of Benedikt Kohn and Mathilde Fränkel). Frederick was born in Bennisch, Austria (then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire), to a father from Austria and a mother from Oberglogau, Prussia. Mathilde was the daughter of Jacob Fränkel and Johanna Fischer.
John’s paternal grandmother was Ida Löwe (the daughter of Siegfried/Szigfrid Löwy/Löwe and Josefa/Jozefina Löw). Ida was born in Zoltán utca 2, Lipótváros district, Budapest, Hungary (also then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire), to a father from Aussee in Moravia and a mother from Boskowitz, Moravia. Siegfried was the son of Leopold Löwy/Löwe and Katharina Stern. Josefa was the daughter of Benjamin Löw and Betty Spitzer.
John’s maternal grandfather was James Grant Forbes (the son of Francis Blackwell Forbes and Isabel Clark/Clarke). James was born in Shanghai, China, to parents from New York. Francis was the son of The Rev. John Murray Forbes and Anne Howell. Isabel was the daughter of William Mather Clark and Isabella Staples.
John’s maternal grandmother was Margaret Tyndal Winthrop (the daughter of Robert Charles Winthrop, Jr. and Elizabeth Mason). Margaret was born in Massachusetts, to a father from Boston, Massachusetts, and a mother who was also from Massachusetts. Robert was the son of Robert Charles Winthrop and Elizabeth Cabot Blanchard. John’s great-grandmother Elizabeth Mason was the daughter of Robert Means Mason and Sarah Ellen Francis.
John Kerry is one of two people of Jewish heritage to be nominated for President of the United States by a major American political party. Barry Goldwater, nominated by the Republican Party in 1964, was the other (Goldwater was born to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, and was raised an Episcopalian).
Joe Lieberman, who is Jewish, was nominated for Vice President of the United States by the Democratic Party in 2000.
John is one of four people of Jewish heritage to have won a major party’s Presidential caucus and/or primary. He won 51 contests in 2004, the year he was nominated. The other three people are:
*Barry Goldwater (1964, the year he was nominated; Republican; won 7 states; Goldwater also sought the 1960 Republican nomination)
*Wesley Clark (who sought the 2004 Democratic nomination; won 1 state, Oklahoma; Clark was born to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, and is a practicing Catholic)
*Bernie Sanders (who sought the 2016 Democratic nomination; won 23 contests)
Of the four, only Bernie Sanders is Jewish by religion, and he is the first person of Jewish religion to win a caucus and/or primary for a major American political party’s Presidential nomination (the 2016 New Hampshire primary).
Other people of significant Jewish heritage who have mounted plausible or semi-plausible campaigns for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States are:
*Milton Shapp (who sought the 1976 Democratic nomination)
*Larry Agran (who sought the 1992 Democratic nomination)
*Arlen Specter (who sought the 1996 Republican nomination)
*Joe Lieberman (who sought the 2004 Democratic nomination)
*Fred Karger (who sought the 2012 Republican nomination)
Shapp, Agran, Specter, Lieberman, and Karger were/are all Jewish by religion. Shapp was the first person of Jewish religion to mount a prominent campaign for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States.
John is a fifth cousin, once removed, of writer and filmmaker Maya Forbes and musician China Forbes, who are sisters. John’s maternal four times great-grandparents, The Rev. John Forbes and Dorothy Murray, were also Maya and China’s paternal five times great-grandparents.