Gretchen Whitmer

Birth Name: Gretchen Esther Whitmer

Place of Birth: Lansing, Michigan, U.S.

Date of Birth: August 23, 1971

Ethnicity: German, Swiss-German, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, along with Scottish, English, distant Dutch

Gretchen Whitmer is an American politician and attorney. A member of the Democratic Party, she has been Governor of Michigan, since January 1, 2019. She was previously Minority Leader of the Michigan Senate, from January 12, 2011 to January 1, 2015, and Prosecutor of Ingham County, from July 2, 2016 to December 31, 2016.

Gretchen is the daughter of lawyers Sherry and Richard Whitmer. Her father was head of Michigan’s Department of Commerce, and was also president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, between 1988 and 2006. Her mother was assistant attorney general. She spent her teen years in Grand Rapids.

Gretchen is married to Marc Mallory. She has two children with her former husband Gary Shrewsbury.

Gretchen’s patrilineal line can be traced to Christopher Wittmer, who was born, c. 1636, in Liestal, Basel-Landschaft, Switzerland, the son of Michael Wittmer and Margaret Wolff.

Gretchen’s paternal grandfather was Dana Philip/Yoder Whitmer (the son of Paul Emmons Whitmer and Veronica/Fannie Hartzler/Hertzler Yoder). Dana was born in Indiana, and was of mostly Swiss-German and German descent, including some roots in Alsace-Lorraine. Paul was the son of David Lehman Witmer/Whitmer and Anna Nancy Ziegler Otto. Fannie was the daughter of Daniel Christian/Clifford Yoder and Nancy C./Z. “Anna” Hartzler/Hertzler.

Gretchen’s paternal grandmother was Margaret Esther Elliott (the daughter of Lorin/Lonie Stanton Elliott and Zella Pearl/Pearle Brown). Margaret was born in Ohio. Lorin was the son of John Martyn Elliott and Margaret Agnes Davis. Zella was the daughter of John M. Brown and Sarah Jane/Jenny German.

Gretchen’s maternal grandfather was William Andrew Hanna (the son of Robert John Hanna and Sarah/Sadie Reid Kirk). William was born in Michigan. Robert was the son of William Alexander Hanna, who was born in Rathfriland, County Down, Ireland, and of Mary Arthur Ankeny. Sarah was the daughter of Andrew D. Kirk and Margaret Ellison, who were Scots-Irish emigrants. Margaret was from Londonderry.

Gretchen’s maternal grandmother is Gretchen Elizabeth Hoerner (the daughter of Karl/Carl Frederick Hoerner and Elizabeth/Elise/Elesa/Betty Helen Waldeck/Walldisk). Gretchen’s grandmother Gretchen was born in Michigan, to ethnic German parents. Karl was born in Germersheim, Rheinland-Pfalz/Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, the son of Johann Adam Hoerner and Elizabeth Lepres. Gretchen’s great-grandmother Elizabeth was born in Romania, the daughter of John Waldek and Elizabeth Stitzel.

Sources: Genealogy of Gretchen Whitmer –

Gretchen’s maternal grandmother, Gretchen Elizabeth Hoerner, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

9 Responses

  1. Oaken05 says:

    Follers, now that she’s governor, there must be some free-use image out there for her, right? BTW, what’s the apparently breakdown by parent of these three ethnicities? I think the Whitmer name is very typically English, but how much of the German is on her mother’s side? Hanna sounds like it could be German, but I don’t know what Ankeny sounds like.

    • follers says:

      There are German and English Whitmers. Most Ankeny families seem to be German.

      • Oaken05 says:

        Thanks for following up on this one. So it appears her Whitmer line is very, very German. Perhaps we can split this up into (father) and (mother) like on the other ones?

        BTW, is it her paternal grandmother you’re getting the English from (Elliott)? Looks like her lines could also include some German, and “Brown” is such a generic surname it could be anywhere in the British Isles (or even Germany if its translation from Braun).

    • andrew says:

      @ Oaken

      Whitmer is not a “tipically” English surname by any means, it’s German (or Swiss-German as “Witmer”)

      her maternal grandfather’s background I think it’s fully Scots-Irish (Northern Irish) rather than Scottish, except the “Ankeny” line. Andrew D. Kirk and Margaret”Maggie” Ellison were born in Ireland. Thus her known genealogy so far is German and Scots-Irish.

    • Oaken05 says:

      So we know we have 50% German & Swiss German between her paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother. Can anyone figure out the percentages, then, for her paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather?

      It seems the paternal grandmother has Scottish (Elliott) and maybe some English (Brown), Welsh (Davis) and German (German) ancestry? Though ‘Brown’ could also be English or even German if its anglcized.

      The maternal grandfather seems pretty equally all over the place. As we’ve discussed there is Scots-Irish through the Kirk line. Hanna, apparently, can be either Irish or Scottish. And Ankeny is apparently an old Anglo-Saxon name first found in Somerset, so English?

      Follers, given how complicated this is, do you think you could break it down “mother” and “father” or maybe even be grandparents?

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