Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison on a U.S. stamp printed c. 1947, photo by Lefpap/

Birth Name: Thomas Alva Edison

Date of Birth: February 11, 1847

Place of Birth: Milan, Ohio, U.S.

Date of Death: October 18, 1931

Place of Death: West Orange, New Jersey, U.S.

Ethnicity: English, small amount of Dutch

Thomas Edison was an American inventor and businessperson. He is credited for his pioneering work in electric power generation, mass communication, sound recording, and motion pictures, including the phonograph and the film picture camera, and early versions of the electric light bulb.

Thomas was the son of Nancy (Matthews Elliott) and Samuel Ogden Edison, Jr. His father was born in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia, Canada. His mother was born in Chenango County, New York. Both of his parents had significant Colonial American (English) ancestry, with roots in the U.S. going back to the early 1600s.

He was married to Mary Stilwell, until her death, and then to Mina Miller, until his death. He had three children with Mary; and three children, including politician Charles Edison and environmentalist and inventor Theodore Miller Edison, with Mina. Charles was U.S. Secretary of the Navy, from July 7, 1939 to June 24, 1940, and Governor of New Jersey, from January 21, 1941 to January 18, 1944.

Thomas’ paternal grandfather was Samuel Odgen Edison (the son of John Edison/Edeson, also known as John Marselis Edah, and of Sarah Ogden). Samuel was born in Acquackanonck, New Jersey. John was born in Belleville, Essex County, New Jersey, the son of Marselis/Marshall/Marcellus Ideson/Edeson. Sarah was the daughter of Samuel Ogden and Phebe Baldwin.

Thomas’ paternal grandmother was named Nancy Stimpson/Simpson (the daughter of William Stimson). Nancy was born in Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Thomas’ maternal grandfather was Ebenezer Matthews/Elliott (the son of Abner Matthews and Lois Hotchkiss). Ebenezer was born in Connecticut. Abner was the son of Caleb Matthews and Elizabeth Hotchkiss. Lois was the daughter of Obediah Hotchkiss and Eunice Beach. Elizabeth and Obediah were siblings.

Thomas’ maternal grandmother was named Mercy Peckham (the daughter of William Peckham and Mercy). Thomas’ grandmother Mercy was born in Connecticut or Rhode Island.

Sources: Genealogies of Thomas Edison –

6 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    So his patrilineal line was Dutch? Interesting.

    • Oaken05 says:

      Yeah, and it looks like it makes him 1/8 Dutch, right?

      Personally, I’d add fractions up to 1/8 in descriptions for a few reasons. First, once you get beyond eighths, then you start getting into double-digit numbers. More than that, though, that’s at least one great-grandparent, and it’s totally unusual (if even a bit rare) to be alive during the same time as a great-grandparent. That’s also technically true for great-great grandparents, though that is exceedingly rare (though it’s happened in my family while I’ve been alive).

      • madman says:

        He’s more than 1/8th Dutch, as he has Dutch ancestry from other lines in his father’s family tree. I usually add fractions if they are relatively precise.

        • Oaken05 says:

          Guess I missed that. In that case it’s more than what I’d call a “small” amount of Dutch. It’d be a “smaller” amount of Dutch than English, since it’s more significant than one great-grandparent, apparently.

          Where’s the Dutch on his mother’s side, though?

          • madman says:

            I had written “some” in the profile I submitted, but I don’t mind it being changed. When did I say he has Dutch ancestry through his mother?

          • comrade says:

            John Edison/Edeson wasn’t born in Holland.
            John Edison was born in Belleville, Essex County, New Jersey, USA with dutch family going back until the early settlers.
            According to this his other name was John Marselis Edah.
   ‘Thanks to DNA we have recently discovered a common ancestor for Marselis and Edison.’ John Edeson was the son of Marselis/Marshall/Marcellus Ideson/Edeson. It’s possible that Marselis Edeson is the same Ydes/Ides Marselis (or Marselis Ydes/Ides) that married Femmetje Doolhagen in 1741 in Passaic, NJ a year before John Edeson (1742 Belleville, NJ) was born. Ydes Marselis was the son of Ide Marselis and Marritje/Maritie Cornelis Coddemis/Cadmus. Ide was the son of Marselis Pieterse (son of Pieter Marcelis and Elizabeth) and Pieterje Van Voorst (daughter of Ide Cornelissen van Voorst and Hilletje Jans).

            Pieter Marcelis and his wife arrived in New Amsterdam in 1661 from Beesd, Holland. Ide Cornelissen van Voorst was the son of Cornelius Hendricksen van Voorst and Vrouwtje Ides Jansen. Cornelius was born in Utrecht, Holland as the son of Hendrick Joosten van Voorst and Anna Cornelis Frans de Bure.

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