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Gary Boyd Roberts

The American Ancestry of Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Is Revealed by American Scholar

The following announcement was written by American Ancestors, also known as New England Historic Genealogical Society:

Johnson is Related to at Least Ten U.S. Presidents and Many Notable U.S. Political Figures

August 1, 2019—Boston, MassachusettsAlexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the British Prime Minister, has Turkish, Jewish, noble German, and much English ancestry. However, the extensive American ancestry of the newly-elected head of the U.K. government is much less known.

Gary Boyd Roberts, Senior Research Scholar Emeritus at American Ancestors, also known as New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), has studied the American forebears and notable kin of Johnson and published his recent findings on AmericanAncestors.org.

The new Prime Minister has family relationships with ten U.S. Presidents: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush—and to many political, industrial, and cultural icons in America’s history.

Johnson’s American ancestry is rooted in New England, largely in Connecticut and Massachusetts, which includes a seventeenth-century Connecticut immigrant of royal descent, Elizabeth (Alsop) Baldwin, a cousin of Queens Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth I—and the ancestors of many American presidents and of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

According to Roberts, the Prime Minister’s mother, Charlotte Offlow Fawcett, was a daughter of Sir James Edmund Sandford Fawcett, president of the European Commission of Human Rights, and Frances Beatrice Lowe, daughter of paleographer Prof. Elias Avery Lowe, formerly Loew, of Russian Jewish descent, and Helen Tracy Porter, who used the surname Lowe-Porter and was the first English language translator of Thomas Mann. Helen’s parents Henry Clinton Porter Jr. and Clara Holcomb lived in Towanda, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, but their ancestry was completely New England or Long Island Yankee. The surnames of Helen’s eight great-grandparents were Porter, Frisbie, Betts, Warner, Holcomb, Bailey, Noble, and Tracy; new surnames in the previous generation were Clark, Twitchell, Means, Crowfoot, Scoville, Vorce, and Wells. Among the maternal Frisbie ancestors, the above Elizabeth (Alsop) Baldwin was a great-great-great-granddaughter of Alice Boleyn, wife of Sir Robert Clere and aunt of Queen Anne Boleyn, mother of Elizabeth I.

Other New England ancestors include Rev. John Lathrop, founder of Barnstable, Mass., and ancestor of Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush; Samuel Smith of Hadley, Mass., forebear of the founders of Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges, and of Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes, Grover Cleveland, and again George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush; Nathaniel Foote of Watertown, Mass. (the family was later of Wethersfield, Conn.), ancestor of Presidents William Howard Taft, Richard M. Nixon, and, once more, Hayes and the two Presidents Bush; and Thomas Lord of Hartford, an ancestor of Presidents Herbert Hoover and Gerald R. Ford. Another ancestor of Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter, via Skinner and Porter, was John Strong of Northampton, Mass., ancestor of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, who was one-eighth American.

Gary Boyd Roberts has undertaken considerable research on notable descendants of Rev. John Lathrop and John Strong. Lathrop descendants include U.S. First Ladies Edith Kermit (Carow) Roosevelt and Nancy (Davis) Reagan; Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Laird Borden; the traitor Benedict Arnold; politicians William Jennings Bryan, Thomas E. Dewey, John Foster Dulles, and George and Mitt Romney; poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. and Jr.; inventor Eli Whitney; financier J. P. Morgan Jr.; artist Georgia O’Keeffe; composer Charles Ives; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints founder Joseph Smith Jr.; Cecil B. DeMille and Agnes de Mille; aviator Amelia Earhart; and, among actors, Julie Harris, Clint Eastwood, Cissy Spacek, and Ben and Casey Affleck. Among Strong descendants are Franklin D. Roosevelt; First Lady Bess (Wallace) Truman; the patriot Nathan Hale; Senators Henry Cabot Lodge II and “Jay” Rockefeller; tycoons John Pierpont Morgan Sr. and Jr.; the Pillsburys of Minneapolis; architect Daniel Hudson Burnham; art patron Isabella Stewart Gardner; and actors Lillian and Dorothy Gish, Glenn Close, and Brooke Shields.

Johnson’s descent from Frederick I, King of Württemberg, 1754–1816, whose wife was a great-granddaughter of George II, King of Great Britain, 1683–1760, has been well explored online, largely by Richard Carruthers-Zurowski on his blog at VadeMecumGenealogy.blogspot.com.

Several graphic charts detailing some of the key findings of this research on the American ancestry of Boris Johnson by Gary Boyd Roberts can be found on the website of American Ancestors at https://www.americanancestors.org/about/press-and-media/press-releases/boris-johnson.