Early Family History

Note from Webauthor: There are many sources of information on the Early History of the Kennedy family and each varies somewhat. On this page I have an abundance of information from three different sources. If you are using this information for research or a school project, I suggest you go over this information and compare it with other sources at your library, etc. as all sources vary somewhat

If you wish to correct information contained here or anywhere on this site, please include the name of your Source and email me at kennedyfollowers@yahoo.com.

Also see the Kennedy family timeline

The Kennedys:

Patrick Kennedy (JFK's great-great-grandfather) was married to Mary Johanna (no date available), they are reported to be of Dunganstown, County Wexford, Ireland. They had Patrick Jr.

Patrick Kennedy Jr. (b.1823 - d. November 22, 1858) came from County Wexford in Ireland during the famine, they were a family of potato farmers. Patrick met Bridget Murphy (1821-1888) on the ship taking them to America from Ireland.
Their children:

Mary Kennedy (1851-1926)
Joanna Kennedy (1852-1926)
John Kennedy (1854-1855 died as infant)
Margaret Kennedy (1855-1929)
Patrick Joseph Kennedy (1858-1929)

Patrick Joseph II (PJ), the youngest of those four children helped his mother with the small "notions" store she managed with difficulty. PJ also took odd jobs around the waterfront (Boston) and, when he was strong enough, became a stevedore, then and not one of the toughest laborer's jobs available. Because of his family's impoverished state he never finished grade school.

PJ had a head for business. He started with a neighborhood bar on scrimped savings, he soon expanded his small empire into partnerships with neighborhood saloons; went into the coal business, the wholesale liquor business and finally into banking.

PJ married Mary Augusta Hickey (b.December 6, 1857 - d. May 20, 1923) and had 4 children;
children: Joseph Patrick Kennedy (1888-1969)

Francis Benedict Kennedy (1891-1892)
Mary Loretta Kennedy (b. Aug 6, 1892 - d. Nov 18, 1972)
Margaret Louise Kennedy (b. Oct 22, 1898 d.Nov 14, 1974)

Mary Hickey was the daughter of a "substantial" family, and become a political force in Boston's East End. By the time Joseph P. Kennedy (JFK's father) was born, PJ was a success.

Unlike Honey Fitz (of the Fitzgeralds) PJ preferred to work behind the scenes to running for office, which, however, he had also done successfully, and his awesome power and control over his part of the city of Boston was concentrated in the "Board of Strategy", the group which selected candidates for political office.

Partial source: Ancestors of American Presidents, compiled by Gary Boyd Roberts, Preliminary Edition, Revised, 1989


The Fitzgeralds:

Thomas Fitzgerald married Rosanna Cox. They had John Francis Fitzgerald (Honey Fitz) (b. 2/11/1863 - d. 10/1950)., he married Mary Josephine Hannon (b. 1866 - d. 1964).
Honey Fitz was the third oldest of 8 boys. After his father died he raised his five younger brother,
he grew up to become mayor of Boston. John and Josephine had six children. They were:
Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald Kennedy (Mrs. Joseph P., Sr.) (born 7/22/1890; died 1/1995)
Agnes Fitzgerald Gargan (Mrs. Joseph F. Gargan). Agnes was born in 1892 and died in 1936.

She and Joe Gargan had three children: Joseph, Jr. (Ted Kennedy's buddy), Mary Jo, and Ann.
Eunice Fitzgerald (1900-23). Died of tuberculosis.
Thomas Acton Fitzgerald (no dates available)
John Francis Fitzgerald (no dates available). Frederick Fitzgerald (no dates available but he died a drunk at age 31).

The Kennedy Women by Leamer
The Kennedys by Peter Collier and David Horowitz


The Union of Joe and Rose

"Honey Fitz' father, Thomas had come to Boston from County Wexford in Ireland, during the potato famine of 1840, one of a group of penniless desperate men and women, for whom survival in the new land meant poverty, tenements and endless hours of backbreaking labour. Rose Mary Murray had also made that journey from Ireland and married Thomas in Boston, where they met. But both died in there 30's, leaving behind 9 children and little money.

Honey Fitz, third in line, had to leave Harvard Medical School, where he had been accepted after promising years at Boston Latin School, in order to help care for his brothers and sisters left behind.

He and the family survived and soon entered ward politics, one of the few professions left open to the Irish in a city dominated by the "Boston Brahmins". By 1895 he had run successfully for Congress, serving three terms, and by 1906 he had been elected Mayor of Boston, a tenure which preserved his fame. His political bailiwick was the North End the place where young Jack Kennedy was to start his rise to the White house, and, an insufferable extrovert, he had attended every wedding, wake and holy communion, singing his famous "campaign" ditty "Sweet Adeline", often standing on a table.

"Grandfather Fitzgerald was a mayor of Boston and a congressman and then my Grandfather Kennedy was a political leader of East Boston, although they didn't get along well. They lived and operated at the same time. My grandfather Kennedy operated at a tavern in East Boston, but he was terribly staigh-laced and he sometimes disapproved of my grandfather Fitzgerald" - Robert F. Kennedy

Old Orchard Beach, Maine, was the summer retreat for both the Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, along with most of Boston's Irish politcians. Rost first met Joe there.

At a time when the "Help Wanted" ads specified "No Irish Need apply", Honey Fitz continued to dominate Irish Politics, etertaining in grand style the likes of Sir Thomas Lipton,the tea magnate and Admiral Togo of Japan, (Joe and Rose now began to 'go steady').

Rose, because of her mother's reluctance to leave the hearth, became her father's official companion, hostess, and assistant on his travels, whether political or in aid of Boston's Chamber of Commerse, which included trips to Hamburg, and the newly built Panama Canal to guage the effects of these ports on the well-being of "A Bigger, Better, Busier Boston". In 1908 they set out on a trip that was to take them to Ireland, England, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany and Holland.

Rose's courtship to Joseph P. kennedy married October of 1914. The courtship was opposed by Rose's father, who had arranged trips to Palm Beach, Florida and even Europe and Central America to try to break up the romance. But Rose was determined. Honey Fitz consented and never regretted it.

"During that last year a Dorchester High and the following year..joe and I managed to see each other rather often. Less often than we would have liked, but more often than my father was aware of, and enough in any case to reaffirm in our hearts how deeply we cared for eachother....I suppose no father really thinks that any man is good enough for his daughter. But my father was a hopeless case...believing that I could take my pick of any beau...he didn't want me..pledging my heart prematurely to any young man, however attractive and brilliant he might be." - Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

"We went steady for 7 years before we were married...but I was never seriously interested in anyone else." - Joseph P. Kennedy

Source-- Kennedy: A Time Remembered


The Fitzgerald's and Hannon's


Thomas Fitzgerald (1822-1885) m. Rosanna Cox (1834-1879)

1. Michael Fitzgerald 1858-1860
2. James T. Fitzgerald 1860-1950
3. Thomas J. Fitzgerald, Jr. 1861-1893
5. Michael J. Fitzgerald 1864-1925
6. William S. Fitzgerald 1865-1899
7. Edward C. Fitzgerald 1867-1940
8. Joseph A. Fitzgerald 1868-1920
9. Ellen Rosanna Fitzgerald 1870-1870
10. George F. Fitzgerald 1871-1914
11. Henry S. Fitzgerald 1875-1955
12. Mary Ellen Fitzgerald 1879-1879
Notice, Honey Fitz had all brothers and the two sisters he had died as infants


Michael Hannon (1832-1900) m. Mary Ann Fitzgerald (1839-1904)

1. John Hannon 1855-1861
2. Ellen Augusta Hannon 1856-1928
3. Edmond Fitzgerald Hannon 1859-1865
4. Michael Hannon, Jr. 1860-1881
5. James Hannon 1863-1889
7. Emily Gertrude Hannon 1867-1931
8. Elizabeth Hannon 1869-1873
9. John Edmond Hannon 1877-1951

They're children were:
2. Mary Agnes Fitzgerald 1892-1936
3. Thomas Acton Fitzgerald 1895-1968
4. John Francis Fitzgerald, Jr. 1897-1979
5. Eunice Fitzgerald 1900-1923
6. Frederick Fitzgerald 1904-1935

Source-- THE FITZGERALDS AND THE KENNEDYS by Doris Kearns Godwin

Thanks to Vicky, Susan and Tito for submitting information for this page.

Make a selection from the fall-down menu below:

Make a selection from the fall-down menu below: