Mayor Pete's cousins

I have been exploring the ancestry of the twenty-plus 2020 presidential candidates. Although I will likely wait some time until the number is reduced before reporting on most of them, I was recently surprised to find in the ancestry of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, via a small amount of his New England ancestry, connections to two prominent figures in the United Kingdom!

Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg was born in South Bend to Joseph Anthony Buttigieg II, a native of Malta, and his wife Jennifer Anne Montgomery, born in California with paternal roots in Indiana for several generations. Jennifer’s mother Zoe Anne (Neal) Montgomery (1921–2002), wife of John Willard Montgomery, was the daughter of Oklahoma natives William Caswell Neal (1899–1988) and his wife Maye Louise Rasar (1898–1970). William’s mother Lena Chase (wife of William Henry Neal) was born in Illinois about 1877, daughter of William Henry and Usley (____) Chase. This last William Henry Chase was the son of William Henry Chase (1820–1880) and his Nova Scotia-born wife, Emilie Frances Walters. The elder William Henry Chase was born in Richmond, Virginia and appears in the 1880 census in Fairfield, Bureau County, Illinois, listed with his father born in Massachusetts and his mother born in New York.[1]

William and Emilie’s daughter, Mrs. Cara Chase McNeil (born 1862), joined the Daughters of the American Revolution, with her application stating her father’s parents as Samuel Chase (b. 1783) and Elizabeth Murray (b. 1785), and her paternal great-grandparents as Berry Chase and Mercy Baker. Berry served in the American Revolution as a sergeant in the Massachusetts troops under Captain Seth Clarke, and was born in Harwich, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. [2]

While Samuel’s ancestry is entirely on Cape Cod, no Mayflower ancestry is apparent.

From there, I found several interesting connections behind Mayor Pete’s New England ancestors. The Chase family of Cape Cod is covered in a series of articles on the descendants of William Chase in the Register, down to Samuel Chase above, noting that his father Berry Chase died in Richmond, Virginia.[3] While Samuel’s ancestry is entirely on Cape Cod, no Mayflower ancestry is apparent. However, Samuel Chase’s mother Mercy Baker was the daughter of Judah Baker and Mercy Burgess, granddaughter of Joseph and Thomasine (Bangs) Burgess, and great-granddaughter of John and Mercy (Worden) Burgess. This last couple are ancestors of 19th President Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822–1893), and Mercy (Worden) Burgess’s grandfather Peter Worden of Yarmouth, Massachusetts, has a royal descent from William I the Lion, King of Scotland (who died in 1214).[4]

However, I was more surprised by the connections of Samuel’s wife Elizabeth Murray. Elizabeth was the daughter of Solomon Murray (1758–1822) and his wife Martha Averill of Woodbury, Connecticut, and is covered in the 1914 Averill genealogy and 1950s Murray genealogy.[5] Martha’s mother Martha (Cogswell) Averill was the great-granddaughter of William and Susanna (Hawkes) Cogswell of Ipswich, Massachusetts, who are ancestors of the two Adams presidents and of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her sons Princes William and Harry (see chart below; Mayor Pete is an eleventh cousin to William and Harry). William Cogswell’s sister, Mrs. Hannah Cogswell Waldo, is an ancestor of President Calvin Coolidge.[6]

Most surprising, as also stated in the Averill genealogy, was that Solomon Murray’s brother Reuben Murray was the great-grandfather of Lady Randolph Churchill (born Jennie Jerome in Brooklyn, New York), mother of Sir Winston Churchill. This connection makes Mayor Pete and Winston Churchill fourth cousins four times removed (see chart below).[7]

And as a final teaser, through the ancestors of Solomon and Reuben Murray’s mother Mary (Way) Murray, both Churchill and Buttigieg (along with actress Natacha Rambova, another cousin, and actor John Wayne, a descendant of Mrs. Mary Way Murray’s sister), have an almost certain Mayflower descent, discussed in a forthcoming article in this summer’s issue of Mayflower Descendant, via a surprising connection through Y-DNA research. Stay tuned![8]

Click on image to expand it.


[1] William Henry Chase (1820–1880), appears in federal censuses in Bureau County, Illinois from 1850 to 1880, the first two with his son William H. Chase (b. 1850), who appears in the 1880 census in Greene County, Illinois. (Usley is possibly the Usley Miller/Sweeny  found in the 1860 and 1870 censuses in Pike County, Kentucky.) William Henry Chase [Jr.] and his daughters moved from Illinois to Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory (later Pittsburg County, Oklahoma) by 1891 (Choctaw, Indian Territory Marriage Record of Christina Chase [Lena’s sister] and Robert M. Carr; 1892 Sebastian County, Arkansas Marriage of William H. Chase [Lena and Christina’s father] to Laura Simpson, listing their residence as Choctaw Nation). William and Laura’s son William Harvey Chase (b. 1893) applied for a passport at Tokyo, Japan in 1924, listing his deceased father as William Henry Chase, born 4 March 1853. (Contemporary records place William’s birth as 1850: age 41 on his second marriage on 8 February 1892, and age 29 on the census on 7 June 1880; as a child, age 10 on the census on 29 July 1860 and age six months on the census on 12 December 1850, this last meaning a birth of 13 March to 12 April 1850, matching with a birth on 4 March 1850 [sic] as stated [three years off] on his son's passport application.) William Henry Chase [Sr.] probably lived for some time in Buffalo, New York before moving to Illinois, as his father Samuel Chase (1783–1873) was enumerated there in the 1850 census with a daughter (or much younger second wife) born in New York about 1832, all probably the reason for William Henry Chase [Jr.] listing his father's birthplace as New York (instead of Virginia) in the 1880 census. Montana Marriage Record of Will Caswell Neal and Olive Leona Swanson, 1970 (William’s second); William Neal appears with his first wife’s parents on the 1900 U.S. Census in Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, and in 1930 in McAlester, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma with wife Maye and daughter Zoe. See also Social Security Application of Zoe Anne Neal Montgomery (1921–2002); Who’s Who of American Women, Fourth Edition, 1966-1967, 813 (biography of Zoe); “Montgomery-Buttigieg,” El Paso Times, 10 February 1980, p. 70; obituary of Joseph A. Buttigieg.

[2] Lineage Books National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution 136 (1917): 114. Cara Chase McNeil’s DAR number was 135042.

[3] George Walter Chamberlain, “Some of the Descendants of William Chase of Roxbury and Yarmouth, Mass.,” Register 87 [1933]: 322–23.

[4] Katharine W. Hiam, Burgess Genealogy, 77–80, 83–84, 103; Roberts, The Royal Descents of 900 Immigrants, 700–4;  Gary Boyd Roberts, Ancestors of American Presidents (2009, 2012), 332, see also pp. 177–99 for the descent of the two Bush presidents from the Bangs family [ancestor #688, Samuel Bangs, was the brother of Thomasine (Bangs) Burgess above].

[5] Clara Arlette Avery, The Averell-Averill-Avery family, 267–70, 383–84; William B. Murray, The Descendants of Jonathan Murray of East Guilford, Connecticut (Peoria, Ill.: Illinois Valley Publishing Co., 195_), 6–8 16–18, 49–50, 102.

[6] Roberts, Ancestors of American Presidents, 626–27, shows the Cogswell descents of Presidents Calvin Coolidge and his wife, First Lady Lou Henry Hoover, and First Lady Mamie Doud Eisenhower; Martha (Brown) Cogswell was the daughter of Nathaniel and Judith (Perkins) Brown (Essex Probate 3747), who appear on pp. 450–51, showing Perkins-derived kinships to Presidents Millard Fillmore, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Richard Milhous Nixon.

[7] Scott C. Steward, “Six Generations of the Anglo-American Ancestry of Sir Winston Churchill,” NEXUS 13 [1996]: 166–72; The American Ancestry of Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (Tuckahoe, N.Y., 2014), 123–24, 146–47, 91–92, 3–5.

[8] These descents of Churchill, Rambova, Wayne, and Buttigieg will also appear in the forthcoming Mayflower 500 by Gary Boyd Roberts, citing the summer article.

Christopher C. Child

About Christopher C. Child

Chris Child has worked for various departments at NEHGS since 1997 and became a full-time employee in July 2003. He has been a member of NEHGS since the age of eleven. He has written several articles in American Ancestors, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, and The Mayflower Descendant. He is the co-editor of The Ancestry of Catherine Middleton (NEHGS, 2011), co-author of The Descendants of Judge John Lowell of Newburyport, Massachusetts (Newbury Street Press, 2011) and Ancestors and Descendants of George Rufus and Alice Nelson Pratt (Newbury Street Press, 2013), and author of The Nelson Family of Rowley, Massachusetts (Newbury Street Press, 2014). Chris holds a B.A. in history from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.View all posts by Christopher C. Child