Joseph Boyden

Place of Birth: Willowdale, North York, Ontario

Date of Birth: October 31, 1966

Ethnicity: Irish, Scottish, English

Joseph Boyden is a Canadian novelist and short story writer.

He is the son of Blanche (Gossling) and Raymond Wilfrid/Wilfred Boyden. His father, a medical officer, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order during WWII.

Joseph has said that he has M├ętis, Nipmuc, and Ojibway First Nations (Native Canadian) ancestry, with First Nations roots from both parents. He has been cited as a First Nations author.

It is not clear if this First Nations ancestry has been verified/documented.

Throughout 2016 and 2017, there has been significant media coverage of Joseph’s ancestry and claims to First Nations heritage.

Joseph’s paternal grandfather was Grant Ellsworth Boyden (the son of Joseph L. Boyden and Josephine Ludington). Grant was born in Ottawa, Ontario. Joseph’s great-grandfather Joseph was born in Perth, Ontario, the son of Gilmour/Gilmore Boyden, who was from New York, and of Ann/Anne McLean, who was born in Scotland. Josephine was born in New York, U.S, the daughter of Cornelius Slayton Ludington and Elizabeth W. Farnham.

Joseph’s paternal grandmother was Ida Ann Theresa O’Reilly (the daughter of Robert O’Reilly and Mary Jane Devlin). Ida was born in Ottawa, Ontario, of mostly or entirely Irish ancestry. Robert was the son of Michael O’Reilly and Rosa Morrough. Mary Jane was the daughter of James Devlin and Mary Ann Hunter/Newton.

Joseph’s maternal grandfather was Guy Scott McKirdy Gossling (the son of Douglas Granville Gossling and Bertha Parrott). Guy was born in Carickfergus, Antrim, Ireland. Douglas was born in Glasgow, Scotland, the son of Barker Gossling and Rosalie Augusta Wardrop. Bertha was born in Cheshire, England.

Joseph’s maternal grandmother was Helen Elizabeth Drysdale (the daughter of Robert West Drysdale and Blanche Florence McInnes). Helen was born in Simcoe, Ontario, Canada. Robert was the son of James Drysdale and Janet Matilda West. Blanche was born in Meaford, Ontario, the daughter of Hector McInnes, whose parents were Scottish, and of Catherine/Kate Ellis.

Sources: Discussions about whether Joseph has First Nations ancestry – (at

Genealogy of Joseph’s paternal grandfather, Grant Ellsworth Boyden –

Genealogy of Joseph’s paternal great-great-grandfather, Cornelius Slayton Ludington (through Cornelius’ brother, Franklin Gates Ludington) –

Genealogy of Joseph Boyden (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Genealogy of Joseph’s maternal great-great-great-great-grandfather, James Drysdale –

9 Responses

  1. follers says:

    Ethnic, is the Wikipedia picture usable, please?

  2. andrew says:

    Robert West Drysdale was of Scottish descent. These are likely relatives of him:

  3. andrew says:

    Genealogy of Cornelius Ludington (through his brother, Franklin Gates Ludington):

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