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Kennedy family

Updated: 2017-09-06T21:09Z
Kennedy family
Coat of Arms of John F. Kennedy.svg
Coat of arms granted in 1961 by the Chief Herald of Ireland
Kennedy family on jpk birthday sept 1963.jpg
Kennedy family in September 1963
Place of originNew Ross, County Wexford (Irish forebears)
Boston, Massachusetts (American political dynasty)
DistinctionsProminence in politics
Family tragedies
EstateKennedy Compound, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts

The Kennedy family is an American political family that has been prominent in American politics, public service, and business during the 20th and 21st centuries. At least one Kennedy family member held federal elective office in every year between 1947 and 2011, and then from 2013 onwards, a span of time comprising more than a quarter of the nation's existence.[1] The descendants of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Kennedy include six members of the United States House of Representatives or Senate, one of whom became president of the United States; as well as two U.S. ambassadors, a lieutenant governor, three state legislators (one of whom went on to the U.S. House of Representatives), and one mayor. In addition, Joseph's and Rose's daughter Eunice founded the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a part of the National Institutes of Health, and founded the Special Olympics.

All told, members of the family have been involved in public service since 1884, 35 years after their first forebear emigrated from Ireland.


The first Kennedys to reside in the United States were cooper Patrick Kennedy (1823–1858) and Bridget Murphy (1824–1888), who sailed from Ireland to East Boston in 1849.[2] Their son Patrick Joseph "P. J." Kennedy went into Massachusetts politics and business.

P.J. and his wife, Mary Augusta Hickey, were the parents of four children. Their oldest was Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy Sr.,[3] who amassed a fortune in banking and securities trading, which he further expanded by investing in other growing industries. Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph was appointed the first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, directed the Maritime Commission, and served a controversial term as Ambassador to the United Kingdom in the lead-up to World War II.

Joseph Sr.'s wife was Rose Fitzgerald. They had nine children together: Joseph Jr., John, Rosemary, Kathleen, Eunice, Patricia, Robert, Jean, and Ted. John served as the 35th President of the United States, while Robert and Ted both became prominent senators. Every Kennedy to hold elective office has served as a Democrat while other members of the family have worked for the Democratic Party or held Cabinet posts under Democratic administrations. Many have attended Harvard University, and the family has contributed greatly to that university's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Joseph originally hoped for his eldest son, Joseph Jr., to become a politician and ultimately to be elected President. After Joseph Jr. was killed in World War II, Joseph Sr.'s hopes transferred to his second son, John. After returning from military service in 1947, John served in the U.S. House of Representatives for six years, and later as the junior Senator from Massachusetts until he was elected President in 1960. During his presidency, John appointed Robert as Attorney General and his brother-in-law, Sargent Shriver, as director of the new Peace Corps. Ted was elected to the Senate in 1962. The family received intense publicity during John's term as President, often emphasizing their relative youth, allure, education, and future in politics.

The family suffered many losses and incidents, which contributed to the idea of the "Kennedy curse". Rosemary underwent a lobotomy which left her incapacitated. John and Robert were assassinated in the 1960s. Ted was the driver of a car that went off a bridge (Chappaquiddick incident) and into a channel in 1969; a campaign aide, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned. Joseph Jr., Kathleen and John Jr. died in airplane crashes.


Kennedy family tree[i]
I.[ii]Patrick Kennedy
(c.1823, Ireland–​1858, U.S.)[iii]
II.Mary L.
Joanna L. Kennedy
Kennedy III
Margaret M. Kennedy
Patrick Joseph 'P.J.' Kennedy
Mary Augusta Hickey
III.Joseph P. 'Joe' Kennedy Sr.
Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald
Francis Benedict
Mary Loretta
George William
Margaret Louise
Charles Joseph
IV.Joseph Patrick Kennedy Jr.
John Fitzgerald

Rose Marie

Kathleen Agnes (Marchioness of Hartington)

Eunice Mary

Patricia Helen

Robert Francis 'Bobby'

Jean Ann

(b. 1928)
Edward Moore 'Ted'

Jacqueline Lee

William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington
Robert Sargent Shriver Jr.
Peter Sydney Ernest Lawford

(b. 1928)
Stephen Edward

Virginia Joan Bennett
(b. 1936)
1st m./div.
Victoria Anne Reggie
(b. 1954)
2nd m.
V.Arabella Kennedy
Caroline Bouvier

(b. 1957)
John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr.
Patrick Bouvier

Kara Anne

Edward Moore
Kennedy Jr.

(b. 1961)
Patrick Joseph
Kennedy II

(b. 1967)
Robert Sargent Shriver III
(b. 1954)
Maria Owings Shriver
(b. 1955)
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger
(b. 1947)
Timothy Perry Shriver
(b. 1959)
Mark Kennedy Shriver
(b. 1964)
Anthony Paul Kennedy

(b. 1965)
Stephen Edward
Smith Jr.
(b. 1957)
William Kennedy

(b. 1960)
Amanda Mary
(b. 1967)
Kym Maria
(b. 1972)
Christopher Kennedy Lawford
(b. 1955)
Sydney Maleia Kennedy Lawford
(b. 1956)
Victoria Francis Lawford
(b. 1958)
(b. 1961)
Kathleen Hartington Kennedy
(b. 1951)
Joseph Patrick Kennedy II
(b. 1952)
Robert Francis Kennedy Jr.
(b. 1954)
David Anthony Kennedy
Mary Courtney Kennedy
(b. 1956)
Michael LeMoyne

Mary Kerry

(b. 1959)
Christopher George

(b. 1963)
Matthew Maxwell Taylor 'Max' Kennedy
(b. 1965)
Douglas Harriman

(b. 1967)
Rory Elizabeth Katherine

(b. 1968)
VI.[vii]Joseph Patrick
Kennedy III

(b. 1980)
Katherine Eunice

(b. 1989)
Patrick Arnold

(b. 1993)
Rose Kennedy

(b. 1988)
John Bouvier

(b. 1993)
  1. ^ Lundy, Darryl (10 May 2003). "Patrick Kennedy". The Peerage. p. 6527 § 65269. Retrieved 21 October 2014. Patrick Kennedy M, b. circa 1823, d. 22 November 1858 
  2. ^ The numbering of generations (in Roman numerals I–VI) is arbitrary
  3. ^ Parents: Maier, Thomas (2003). The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings. Basic Books. p. [page needed]. ISBN 978-0-465-04317-0.  delete character in |page= at position 296 (help)
  4. ^ Marriage: Collier, P.; Horowitz, D. (1984). The Kennedys - An American Drama. [full citation needed]
  5. ^ Marriage: "Mary Augusta Hickey". Find A Grave. Retrieved April 16, 2014. 
  6. ^ Parents: Goodwin, Doris Kearns (2001). The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga. Simon and Schuster. pp. 88–89. 
  7. ^ In generation VII, only notable family members are listed

Offices held

Italics denote members who married into the family. Only members who held political office are shown below.

Since John F. Kennedy's election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1946, there have been very few times in which a Kennedy was not holding office, first from December 22, 1960 until January 20, 1961 (from Kennedy's resignation from the Senate to his assumption of the Presidency) and next from Patrick J. Kennedy's departure from the House on January 3, 2011 until Joseph P. Kennedy III's election to the House on January 3, 2013.

Coat of arms

In 1961, John F. Kennedy was presented with a grant of arms for all the descendants of Patrick Kennedy (1823–1858) from the Chief Herald of Ireland. The design of the arms strongly alludes to symbols in the coats of arms of the O'Kennedys of Ormonde and the FitzGeralds of Desmond, from whom the family is believed to be descended. The crest is an armored hand holding four arrows between two olive branches, elements taken from the coat of arms of the United States of America and also symbolic of Kennedy and his brothers.[4]


  1. ^ Levenson, Michael (February 13, 2010). "Pondering a Congress without Kennedys". The Boston Globe. 
  2. ^ Maier, Thomas (2003). The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings. Basic Books. p. [page needed]. ISBN 978-0-465-04317-0.  delete character in |p= at position 296 (help)
  3. ^ The Kennedy Family The JFK Library, accessed Feb 10, 2016
  4. ^ "John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States". American Heraldry Society. Archived from the original on August 3, 2016. Retrieved October 27, 2009. 

External links

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