Joe Biden Family History


Joseph (Joe) Robinette Biden Jr, the 46th President of the United States, was born on November 20th, 1942 to Joseph and Jean Biden in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  The family had gone through some hard times and were living at that time with Joe’s maternal grandparents.

Later, Joseph Biden Sr. became a successful used car salesman and the family moved to New Castle county, Delaware.  Joe’s younger sister Valerie released her autobiography that was entitled Growing Up Biden in April 2022.

Joe has English ancestry on his father’s side and Irish on his mother’s.  However, he has always seen himself as more Irish than English.

Part of this was probably due to the fact that he is a practicing Catholic.  Then there was his close affinity with his former hometown of Scranton where the Irish Blewitts of his family had come.  And Joe Biden, when he was Vice President in 2017, had received a hero’s welcome when he visited the hometown in county Mayo of his ancestor Patrick Blewitt.

Joe Biden has had a long political career.  In 1972 he became the sixth-youngest senator in US history after he was elected to the US Senate from Delaware at the age of twenty-nine.  And in 2021 he became the oldest US President to take the oath of office at the age of seventy-eight.  In between he had a lengthy career in the US Senate and was the US Vice President under Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017.

During that time he suffered personal tragedies.  His wife and baby daughter were killed in a car accident in 1972; and his son Beau died from brain cancer in 2015 at the age of forty-six.  His surviving son Hunter has had a lifelong struggle with drug and alcohol abuse which his political opponents have been quick to publicize.

But Joe Biden showed endurance in winning the 2020 Democratic nomination and in defeating Donald Trump in the Presidential election.  And he plans to contest the 2024 Presidential election.

The Irish Blewitts

Joe Biden’s great great grandfather Patrick Blewitt was born in Ballina, county Mayo, in 1832.  He came from a long line of civil engineers and surveyors in the county.

His father Edward had worked on an Ordinance Survey of Ireland and then on the General Valuation, a census of its time.  When the Great Famine came, Edward was an overseer at the Ballina workhouse where many destitute and starving families congregated.  Ballina had been one of the worst impacted areas in the whole of Ireland by the famine.

Patrick was sixteen when he crossed the Atlantic working as a cabin boy in the autumn of 1850.  Upon his return, his father decided that the whole family should emigrate.  Patrick, his parents and siblings all left and they arrived in America in January 1851.

Blewitts, Finnegans and Bidens in Scranton, Pennsylvania

Blewitts.  The Blewitt family were early Irish settlers of Lackawanna county. Pennsylvania, at Carbondale.  They then moved onto Scranton, a growing industrial center because of its coal mines.

Edward the father helped to lay out the town.  Sadly he died in a drowning accident in 1872.  Patrick became a mining inspector and would often travel in his work to New Orleans and South America.  His son Edward was born in New Orleans in 1859.

Edward Blewitt graduated as a civil engineer and went on to be employed as a city engineer before his election in 1907 to the Pennsylvania State Senate.  He was the first Irish Catholic elected to that chamber.  He had married Mary Ellen Stanton in Scranton in 1879 and they had four children together – Gertrude, Patrick, Arthur and Geraldine.

The youngest child Geraldine married Ambrose Finnegan in Scranton in 1909 and they had a daughter Jean, born in 1917, who was to be Joe Biden’s mother.

At one time Joe Biden Sr. and his wife Jean were experiencing financial difficulties in Scranton and they moved the family into his maternal grandfather’s home, one filled with Finnegans and Blewitts.

They were proud Catholics and practiced grudge holders.  In his memoir Joe Biden wrote that one of his aunts, Aunt Gertie, approached him at that time and told him that their dislike for his father was not personal.  “Your father’s not a bad man.  He’s just English.”

Finnegans,  The Finnegans had come to America in the late 1840’s from the town of Carlingford on the Cooley Peninsula north of Dublin in Louth.  They settled in Seneca, New York.  After the death of Owen Finnegan, his son James – who had been born in Ireland – moved to Scranton to settle.  That was where the Blewitts were and James’s son Ambrose met and married Geraldine Blewitt.

Bidens,  On the paternal side of the family, the Bidens came either from England or, via Joe’s grandmother, from much earlier American ancestors.

The first Biden, William Biden, was born in 1789 in the small village of Westbourne in West Sussex.  He was a stonemason who emigrated to Maryland around 1820.  Later Bidens settled in Baltimore.  Joe Biden Sr moved from Baltimore to Pennsylvania when he married Jean Finnegan in 1941.

His father Joseph had married Mary Robinette (a surname which was handed down as a middle name to Joe Biden) back in 1914.  She was descended from Robinettes who had come to America with William Penn’s colonists in the 1680’s.

Mary’s grandfather Moses Robinette, born in 1819, was a Union army veterinary surgeon during the Civil War.  But he is remembered in records because he got involved in 1864 in a fight with a fellow employee John Alexander at the army’s winter camp in Virginia.  Having stabbed Alexander during the fight, he was charged and convicted of attempted murder.  However, after fellow army officers pleaded his case, he was granted a pardon by President Lincoln.

Reader Feedback: I am related to our President.  His grandmother Susie A. Robinett was the older sister of my grandmother Tina A. Robinett. I want to congratulate President Joe Biden on his success.  It makes me proud to be a Robinett.  If you are ever around Medford, Oregon please let me know, I would love to meet you. God bless ya and good luck Joe!  Everett Jack Gallaher III.

Joe Biden’s Family Tree

  • Irish Ancestry
  • Edward Blewitt (1795-1872) from Mayo in Ireland m. Mary Mulderig,  emigrated in 1851 and died in Pennsylvania
  • – John Blewitt (b. 1827) m. Mary
  • – Patrick Blewitt (1833-1911), died in Pennsylvania
  • – Thomas Blewitt (.b. 1840) m. Mary Battle
  • – Catherine Blewitt (1844-1928), died in Pennsylvania
  • Patrick Blewitt (1833-1911) from Mayo m. Catherine Scanlon (1840-1901) in 1857
  • – Edward Blewitt (1859-1926)
  • Edward Blewitt  m. Mary Ellen Stanton (1860-1888) in Scranton in 1879 and Anne Blackwell in 1891
  • – Gertrude Blewitt (1880-1967)
  • – Robert Blewitt (1881-1944)
  • – Arthur Blewitt (1883-1947)
  • – Geraldine Blewitt (1886-1949)
  • Geraldine Blewitt  m. Ambrose Finnegan (1883-1957) in Scranton in 1909
  • – Gerald Finnegan (1910-1950)
  • – Edward Finnegan (1912-1984)
  • – Ambrose Finnegan (1914-1944)
  • – Jean Finnegan (1917-2010)
  • – John Finnegan (1920-1973)
  • Joseph R. Biden Sr. (1915-2002) m. Jean Finnegan in Scranton in 1941
  • – Joe Biden (b. 1942)
  • – Valerie Biden (b. 1945) m. John Owens
  • – James (Jim) Biden (b. 1946) m. Sara Jones
  • – Francis (Frank) Biden (b. 1953)
  • Joseph (Joe) R. Biden m. Neilia Hunter (1942-1972) in 1966 and rem. Jill Jacobs (b. 1951) in 1977
  • – Beau Biden (1969-2015)
  • – Hunter Biden (b. 1970)
  • – Naomi Biden (b. 1971)
  • – Ashley Biden (b. 1981)
  • English Ancestry
  • William Biden (1789-1849) from Sussex m. Mary Elkins (1801-1863) in Baltimore in 1822
  • – James Biden (1825-1882) m. Jane Elkins
  • – Joseph Biden (1828-1895)
  • – Henry Biden (1830-1863)
  • Joseph Biden m. Lydia Randle (1836-1912) in Baltimore in 1852
  • – Mary Biden (1856-1900)
  • – Emma Biden (1858-1931)
  • – Joseph Biden (1864-1922) m. Catherine Gardner
  • – George Biden (1866-1933)
  • – Ada Biden (1868-1938) m. Augustus Shipley
  • – Harry Biden (1870-1901)
  • George Biden m. Mary Liddell (1872-1922) in Baltimore
  • – Eugenia Biden (1891-1953) m. Charles King
  • – Joseph Biden (1893-1941)
  • Joseph Biden m. Mary Robinette (1894-1943) in Baltimore in 1914
  • – Joseph Biden (1915-2002)
  • – Mary Biden (1917-1982) m. Parke Eshbach
  • – Frank Biden (1918-1999) m. Letitia Grant
  • Joseph R. Biden Sr. m. Jean Finnegan (1917-2010) in Scranton in 1941
  • – Joe Biden (b. 1942)
  • – Valerie Biden (b. 1945) m. John Owens
  • – James (Jim) Biden (b. 1946) m. Sara Jones
  • – Francis (Frank) Biden (b. 1953)
  • Joseph (Joe) R. Biden m. Neilia Hunter (1942-1972) in 1966 and rem. Jill Jacobs (b. 1951) in 1977
  • – Beau Biden (1969-2015)
  • – Hunter Biden (b. 1970)
  • – Naomi Biden (b. 1971)
  • – Ashley Biden (b. 1981)


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Written by Colin Shelley

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