A Quick Family History of Every US President

Source: National Archives / Getty Images

James K. Polk
> Heritage: Irish
> Birthplace: Pineville, North Carolina
> Time in office: 1845-1849

James K. Polk’s great-great-grandfather, Robert Pollock or Polk, emigrated from County Donegal in the Irish province of Ulster in the 17th century.

Source: National Archives / Getty Images

Zachary Taylor
> Heritage: English
> Birthplace: Barboursville, Virginia
> Time in office: 1849-1850

Zachary Taylor also had English ancestry. He was descended from one of the Mayflower leaders, William Brewster. The Mayflower was a merchant ship that transported English families, also known as Pilgrims, from England to the New World in 1620.

Source: iip-photo-archive / Flickr

Millard Fillmore
> Heritage: English
> Birthplace: Moravia, New York
> Time in office: 1850-1853

Millard Fillmore was the great-grandson of John Fillmore, an emigrant from Ipswich, England and a legendary mariner who spent a few months as a prisoner on a pirate ship.

Source: edwarddallas / Flickr

Franklin Pierce
> Heritage: English
> Birthplace: Hillsborough, New Hampshire
> Time in office: 1853-1857

Franklin Pierce was a descendant of Thomas Pierce, who emigrated from Norwich, England, to Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1633 or 1634.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

James Buchanan
> Heritage: Scottish and Irish
> Birthplace: Cove Gap, Pennsylvania
> Time in office: 1857-1861

James Buchanan’s parents were descended from Ulster-Scots. His father, James Buchanan Sr., was a Scotch-Irish farmer from the County of Donegal, who moved to Philadelphia in 1783.