John F. Kennedy

official photo of John F. Kennedy in 1961, White House Press Office (WHPO)

Birth Name: John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Date of Birth: May 29, 1917

Place of Birth: Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S.

Date of Death: November 22, 1963

Place of Death: Dallas, Texas, U.S.

Ethnicity: Irish, as well as remote Scottish

John F. Kennedy, also known as JFK, was an American politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as President of the United States, from January 20, 1961 to November 22, 1963; his assassination. He was elected to the position in 1960. He was the first Catholic president, and the first U.S. President born in the 20th century. He was previously a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts, from January 3, 1947 to January 3, 1953, and a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, from January 3, 1953 to December 22, 1960. He was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 1961.

President Kennedy was the son of Rose Elizabeth (Fitzgerald), a philanthropist and socialite, and Joseph Patrick Kennedy, a businessperson, investor, and politician. President Kennedy was married to Jackie Kennedy (born Jacqueline Lee Bouvier), until his death. The couple had four children, two of whom survived to adulthood, author, attorney, and diplomat Caroline Kennedy and journalist John F. Kennedy, Jr. Caroline has been U.S. Ambassador to Japan, from November 19, 2013 to January 18, 2017, and U.S. Ambassador to Australia, since July 25, 2022. Among his three grandchildren is designer and author Jack Schlossberg.

Among his siblings were socialite Patricia Kennedy Lawford, politician Robert F. Kennedy (Robert Francis Kennedy), socialite Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington; politician Ted Kennedy (Edward Moore Kennedy), and activist and humanitarian Jean Kennedy Smith, who was Ambassador to Ireland, from June 24, 1993 to September 17, 1998. Patricia was married to British actor Peter Lawford. Kathleen was married to politician and British Army officer William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, until his death, fighting in WWII. William was the brother of Andrew Robert Buxton Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire, the grandfather of model and fashion designer Stella Tennant.

President Kennedy’s nephew is environmental lawyer, author, and radio host Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and his niece is journalist Maria Shriver. He was the great-uncle of politician Joe Kennedy III, author Katherine Schwarzenegger, and actor and model Patrick Schwarzenegger.

President Kennedy was of Irish descent. He also had remote Scottish ancestry (his patrilineal Kennedy line traces back to Scotland, and President Kennedy had Scottish-born ancestors in the 1600s). President Kennedy visited Ireland in 1963, with the goal of fostering connections between Irish Americans and their ancestral homeland. He also visited Dunganstown, a place where previous Kennedys had lived.

All eight of President Kennedy’s great-grandparents were born outside of the United States, a rarity among American Presidents.

President Kennedy was one of two Roman Catholics who have served as President of the United States. Joe Biden, who was inaugurated in 2021, is the other. He was also one of four Roman Catholics to have been nominated for President by a major political party, along with Al Smith, in 1928, John Kerry, in 2004, and Biden, in 2020. All were/are Democrats.

He was played by Cliff Robertson in the film PT 109 (1963).

President Kennedy’s paternal grandfather was P. J. Kennedy (Patrick Joseph Kennedy, the son of Patrick Kennedy and Bridget Murphy). President Kennedy’s grandfather P. J. was born in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, and was a businessperson and politician. President Kennedy’s great-grandparents Patrick and Bridget were from Dunganstown, County Wexford, Ireland. President Kennedy’s great-grandfather Patrick was the son of Patrick Kennedy and Mary/Maria Johanna. Bridget was the daughter of Richard Murphy and Mary Barron.

President Kennedy’s paternal grandmother was Mary Augusta Hickey (the daughter of James Hickey and Margaret Martha Field). Mary was born in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, to Irish parents. James was from Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare, the son of Michael Hickey and Catherine Hasset. Margaret was from Rosscarbery, County Cork, the daughter of Patrick Field and Mary Sheehy.

President Kennedy’s maternal grandfather was John Francis “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald (the son of Thomas Fitzgerald and Rosanna Cox). President Kennedy’s grandfather John was born in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, and was a Democratic politician, who served as Mayor of Boston, from January 1, 1906 to January 6, 1908, and again, from February 7, 1910 to February 2, 1914; and as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts, from March 4, 1895 to March 3, 1901, and again, from March 4, 1919 to October 23, 1919. Thomas was born in Co. Limerick, Ireland, the son of Michael Fitzgerald and Ellen Wilmouth/Wilmot. Rosanna was born in Limerick, Ireland, the daughter of Philip Cox and Mary.

President Kennedy’s maternal grandmother was Mary Josephine “Josie” Hannon (the daughter of Michael Hannon and Mary Ann Fitzgerald). President Kennedy’s grandmother Mary Josephine was born in Acton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, to Irish parents. Michael was born in Lough Gur, the son of John Hannon and Ellen Noonan/Newman. President Kennedy’s great-grandmother Mary Ann was from Bruff, Limerick, the daughter of Edmund/Edward Fitzgerald and Mary Linnehan.

Sources: Genealogies of President Kennedy –

President Kennedy’s mother on the 1900 U.S. Census –
President Kennedy’s mother on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Notes on President Kennedy’s maternal ancestry –


Curious about ethnicity

36 Responses

  1. Gavinboi says:

    One of the few American presidents with no English ancestry. Van Buren and Eisenhower had no British Isles ancestry at all. Trump had Scottish, but not English ancestry.

  2. andrew says:

    How is Jackie Kennedy not on the site??

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