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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ethnicity Irish-American
Current region New England, United States
Place of origin United States
Notable members Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
John F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Edward M. Kennedy
Connected families Auchincloss, Bouvier,
Cavendish, Fitzgerald,
Hill, Lawford,
Murphy, Onassis,
Radziwiłł, Schlossberg,
Schwarzenegger, Shriver,
Skakel, Smith,
Townsend, et al.
Estate Kennedy Compound, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, United States
For other uses, see Kennedy

In the United States, the phrase Kennedy family commonly refers to the family descending from the marriage of the Irish-Americans Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald that is prominent in American politics and government. Their political involvement has revolved around the Democratic Party. Harvard University educations have been common among them, and they have contributed heavily to that university's John F. Kennedy School of Government. The wealth, glamour and photogenic quality of the family members, as well as their extensive and continuing commitment to public service, has elevated them to iconic status over the past half-century. They were known as America's Royal Family.[1][2][3]

With the 1960 election of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, he and his two younger brothers, Robert F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy, all held prominent positions in the federal government, and received intensive publicity, often emphasizing their youth (relative to comparably influential politicians), allure, education and collective future in politics.

The family has suffered a series of tragedies, sometimes called "the Kennedy curse", including the assassination of brothers John and Robert, the controversial Chappaquiddick incident, and four airplane crashes (Joe, Jr., Kathleen, Ted and John, Jr., three of them fatal).


Family tree

James Kennedy
(c. 1770–c. 1840)
Maria Kennedy
(c. 1775–1835)
Patrick Kennedy
(c. 1823–1858)
Bridget Murphy
Mary L. Kennedy
Joanna L. Kennedy
John Kennedy
Margaret M. Kennedy
Patrick Joseph Kennedy
Mary Augusta Hickey
Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.
Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald
Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Rosemary Kennedy
Kathleen Cavendish, Marchioness of Hartington
Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Patricia Kennedy Lawford
Robert Francis Kennedy
Jean Kennedy Smith
(b. 1928)
Edward Moore Kennedy
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier
William John Robert Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington
Virginia Joan Bennett
(b. 1936)
1st m./div.
Victoria Anne Reggie
(b. 1955)
2nd m.
Arabella Kennedy
Caroline Kennedy
(b. 1957)
John F. Kennedy, Jr.
Patrick Bouvier Kennedy
Kara Anne Kennedy
(b. 1960)
Edward Kennedy, Jr.
(b. 1961)
Patrick J. Kennedy
(b. 1967)
Sargent Shriver
(b. 1915)
Stephen Edward Smith
Robert Sargent Shriver III
(b. 1954)
Maria Shriver
(b. 1955)
Timothy Perry Shriver
(b. 1959)
Mark Kennedy Shriver
(b. 1964)
Anthony Paul Kennedy Shriver
(b. 1965)
Peter Lawford
Stephen Edward Smith, Jr.
(b. 1957)
William Kennedy Smith
(b. 1960)
Amanda Mary Smith
(b. 1967)
Kym Maria Smith
(b. 1972)
Christopher Lawford
(b. 1955)
Sydney Maleia Lawford
(b. 1956)
Victoria Francis Lawford
(b. 1958)
Robin Elizabeth Lawford
(b. 1961)
Ethel Skakel
(b. 1928)
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
(b. 1951)
Joseph Patrick Kennedy II
(b. 1952)
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
(b. 1954)
David Kennedy
Courtney Kennedy Hill
(b. 1956)
Michael LeMoyne Kennedy
Kerry Kennedy
(b. 1959)
Christopher George Kennedy
(b. 1963)
Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy
(b. 1965)
Douglas Harriman Kennedy
(b. 1967)
Rory Kennedy
(b. 1968)

First generation

The family patriarch was Patrick J. Kennedy (1858–1929), a first-generation American who married Mary Augusta Hickey (1857-1923). He was a politician involved in the local Democratic Party.

Second generation

In 1914, their son, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. (1888–1969) married Rose Fitzgerald (1890–1995), the daughter of Boston (Massachusetts) Mayor John F. Fitzgerald. Joseph served as the first chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom in the years leading up to World War II.

Third generation

The Irish Catholic political dynasty, John, Robert, and Edward Kennedy, July 1960.

Together Joseph and Rose Kennedy had nine children:

Third-generation in-laws

Fourth generation

  • Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr. neither married nor had children.
  • Rose Marie "Rosemary" Kennedy neither married nor had children.
  • Kathleen Agnes Kennedy and William John Robert Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington had no children.
  • Patricia Kennedy and Peter Lawford had four children:
    1. Christopher Kennedy Lawford (b. 1955) — a professional actor. Divorced from Jeannie Olsson; has three children.
    2. Sydney Maleia Kennedy Lawford (b. 1956) — married (James) Peter McKevley; has four sons.
    3. Victoria Francis Lawford (b. 1958) — married lawyer Robert Pender; has three daughters.
    4. Robin Elizabeth Lawford (b. 1961) — an environmentalist and marine biologist.
  • Jean Ann Kennedy and Stephen Edward Smith, Sr. had four children:
    1. Stephen Edward Smith, Jr. (b. 1957) — attorney, crisis counselor and real estate developer.
    2. William Kennedy Smith (b. 1960) — a physician and activist against land mines. He has neither married nor had children. Found innocent in 1991 of rape charges.
    3. Amanda Mary Smith (b. 1967; adopted). Married attorney (Harmon) Carter Hood; has two children.
    4. Kym Maria Smith (b. 1972; adopted) — photographer. Divorced from Alfie Tucker; married to John Morgan.
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy also had two stepchildren from his marriage to Victoria Anne Reggie — Curran Raclin (b. 1982) and Caroline Raclin (b. 1985).

Coat of arms

In 1961, Kennedy was presented with a grant of arms for all the descendants of Patrick Kennedy from the Chief Herald of Ireland. The arms of the Kennedy family are black with three gold helmets depicted upon it, within a border that is divided into red and ermine segments, and strongly alludes to the symbols in the coats of arms of the O'Kennedys of Ormonde and the FitzGerald dynasty 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. The coat of arms is described in heraldic terms as, Sable three helmets in profile Or within a bordure per saltire gules and ermine, and the crest is, Between two olive branches a cubit sinister arm in armor erect the hand holding a sheaf of four arrows points upward all proper on a torse Or and sable, while the mantling is gules doubled argent.

While no head of the family was proclaimed in the grant, traditional rules of heraldic inheritance would make the early line of succession begin with Patrick Kennedy, then pass to his eldest son Patrick Joseph Kennedy and then to his eldest Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. Because the three eldest of Joseph Kennedy's four sons died before their father, but still had children of their own, the line next becomes debatable. The opinion that follows Irish practices would be that the line next followed John F. Kennedy, Jr., who was then succeed by Joseph Patrick Kennedy II as the current head of the family. Other opinions followed succession to Ted Kennedy as the only surviving son after the death of his father Joseph Kennedy, and then either to Ted's son Ted Kennedy, Jr. or back to Joseph Kennedy II depending upon the practice cited.

See also


External links

Simple English

[[File:|thumb|right|Robert, Ted, and John F. Kennedy, taken when John was President]] The Kennedys have been a famous family in American politics and have had several members chosen to important positions in the U.S. Government. The Kennedys are Irish Catholic Democrats and mostly live in Boston and Hyannisport, Massachusetts


Joseph Kennedy

Joseph P. Kennedy (1888-1969) was the son of Irish immigrants who were in the Democrats. He married Rose Fitzgerald (1890-1995), the daughter of the mayor of Boston. He was a businessman and made lots and lots of money. He was friends with Franklin D. Roosevelt and served as the U.S.' man in Great Britain. He wanted to create a family of powerful politicians, and succeeded.

Children of Joseph Kennedy

Joe Kennedy

Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (1915-1944) was the oldest of the Kennedy children. His father had wanted him to go into politics, but before that happened, he was killed in a plane crash in World War II

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) served in the Navy in World War II and then went to politics. He served in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate before being elected President in 1960. He was shot and killed in 1963.

Rose Kennedy

Rose Kennedy (1918-2005) had mental illness. Part of her brain was cut off and she was placed in a mental hospital.

Kathleen Kennedy

Kathleen Kennedy (1920-1948) married an English nobleman, was widowed and died in a plane crash.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Eunice Kennedy Shriver (1921-2009) married Sargent Shriver, the head of the Peace Corps and the U.S.' man in France. In 1968, she started the Special Olympics to honor her sister Rose.

Patrica Kennedy

Patrica Kennedy (1924-2006) married an actor.

Robert F. Kennedy

Robert Francis Kennedy (1925-1968) was the third Kennedy son. He also went into politics, and served as Attorney General, the top lawyer in the nation, and as a U.S. Senator. In 1968, he tried to be President, but was shot while campaigning in California.

Jean Kennedy Smith

Jean Kennedy Smith (born 1928) is the last living of Joseph Kennedy's children. She used to be the U.S.' woman in Ireland.

Ted Kennedy

Edward Moore Kennedy (1932-2009) was the youngest of the Kennedys. He served for many years as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts

Famous Grandchildren of Joseph Kennedy

Kathleen Kennedy

Maria Shriver

Caroline Kennedy

John F. Kennedy, Jr.

John F. Kennedy was John F. Kennedy Snr's only son. He died in a plane crash on the 16th July 1999. He was flying a small plane with his wife and wife's sister at night time to his cousins wedding. The plane was in a slight spiral and went unnoticed as it was dark, crashing into the ocean and killing all.

William Kennedy Smith

Ted Kennedy, Jr.

Patrick Kennedy

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