“I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.” –Patrick Henry
The typical White-American is aware of his own particular ancestry, to some extent or another. Most people are, consciously or otherwise, animated by such knowledge. It thus makes sense to analyze the ancestries of aspirant politicians.
For this purpose, I profile, below, each of Republican Mitt Romney’s great-grandparents, based on the excellent genealogical research of William Reitwiesner. I previously examined Richard Nixon’s ancestry in a similar way, finding that Nixon was of 100%-Colonial-extraction, which may shed light on his politics. (Nixon’s ancestors’ stories are fascinating. Here from the earliest Colonial days, pushing the frontier right behind Daniel Boone in the late 1700s; he even had a direct ancestor die at Gettysburg in July 1863. How much more ‘Americana’ can it get?)
- Synopsis off Mitt Romney’s Ancestry
- Most of his ancestral stock consists of early converts to Mormonism from Britain (most from Northwest-England and Scotland) who were impelled to the USA from the 1830s to the 1850s, settling directly in Mormon communities.
- Colonial-Yankees account for 27% of Romney’s ancestral stock.
- 12.5% (one-eighth) of his ancestral stock comes from Northern-Germany.
- Many of Romney’s ancestors who were then-living participated in the dramatic 1846-7 Mormon Exodus from Illinois to Utah.
- All of Romney’s ancestral lines end up in Utah by the 1880s.
- Some went to Mexico at the end of the 1800s, but were expelled in 1912, and went back to Utah.
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Mitt Romney: Ethnic Ancestry Summary
40.6% England — Mostly Northwest England, partly W.Midlands.
1.5-3% French, Acadian and possible Huguenot (see entries #5 and #7 far below)
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Mitt Romney’s Parents
(1) George Wilcken Romney. He was born in 1907 in a Mormon colony in Chihuahua, Mexico, where his parents had married in 1895. All such colonies were raided, harassed, and forced to close by Mexican bandits-cum-revolutionaries in the early 1910s, their residents fleeing back to the USA. In other words, Mitt Romney’s own father was expelled from his very birthplace, as a youth, by angry-Mexicans(!). G.W.Romney married in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1931, and went on to great deeds in business and politics.
(2) Lenore LaFount. She was born in 1908 in Utah.
Pictured, in 1947, from left:
— George W. Romney [37.5% Scottish, 25% English, 25% German, 12.5% Colonial-Yankee]
— Baby Mitt Romney
— Lenore LaFount Romney [56.2% English, 40.6% Colonial-Yankee, 3.1% Acadian (see entry #7), 0-3% Huguenot (see entry #5)]
The same people in 1962, the year George Romney was elected governor of Michigan and appeared on the cover of Time:
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Now, most people’s animating-ancestral-awareness extends back, in my opinion, three generations — to the persons of their great-grandparents, such that when one knows of specific ancestors very far beyond that, it becomes trivia, rather than significant for one’s worldview-formation and identity-formation — which is what we are interested in here. This being the case, let us examine in some depth the eight great-grandparents of Republican candidate Willard Mitt Romney (b.1947), their ethnic origins, their personal backgrounds, and their life experiences. Photos are included where available, from here or findagrave.com unless otherwise noted.
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Mitt Romney’s Great-Grandparents [w/ Summary of Each Individual's Ethnic-Ancestry]
(1) Miles Park Romney. [100% English Ancestry]. He was born in 1843 in the Mormon settlement of Nauvoo, Illinois. (Lincoln was not far away at the time, practicing law and getting his start in politics.) “Great-Grandpa Romney’s” birthplace of Nauvoo has an interesting history, which as a non-Mormon, I was not aware of: In the Summer of 1839, it was naught but a small frontierish-town on the Mississippi River, probably something like Mark Twain described in his novels. Joseph Smith and his supporters, chased out of everywhere else, purchase the town in late 1839. Smith rules it as a quasi-theocracy, and invites all Mormons in North America and further afield to come on over. Rumors of polygamy (which were true), among other things, enraged local ‘traditional Christians’. Five years of uninterrupted antagonism between the Mormons and local (then-)frontier Protestants, culminated in the vigilante killing of Joseph Smith in 1844. The Mormons then decide to abandon Nauvoo for Utah, which was well-and-truly empty. Miles Park Romney would have thus participated in the Mormon exodus of 1846-7, but would have been too young to remember much of it. He married in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1862. This is a well-documented line: Both this man’s parents were born in rural Lancaster County, Northwest England, midway between Liverpool and the Scottish border, and all his ancestors going further back are from northwest England. His family were early converts to Mormonism, if they were in Nauvoo already in 1843. Miles P. Romney went on, in later adult life, to found one of the Mormon colonies in Mexico on which his grandson George P. Romney, was born in 1907. An extended biography of Miles Park Romney is available here.
Miles Park Romney
(2) Hannah Hood Hill. [100% Scottish]. She was born in 1842 in Tosoronto Township, in what would become Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada. This woman was born the year before the region of her birth was officially organized as a county by Canada, and therefore she might be called ‘pioneer-stock’ (although this may be a stretch), or at least settler-stock, rather than ‘immigrant stock’ (implying one who moves into an established urban area, taking advantage of what has already been set up by others). All four of her grandparents were born in Scotland, and made the move to British-Canada in the 1810s and 1820s. Her family converted to Mormonism and participated in the 1846-7 westward trek. Her mother died on the westward trail in 1847. She married in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1862.
Hannah Hood Hill Romney