Tracing the Ancestry of Donald Duck

Donald Duck character stamps from Albania, 2000. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Have you ever wondered exactly how Scrooge McDuck is related to Donald Duck? Or where Huey, Dewey, and Louie fit into the equation? And what of Donald’s second cousin, the little-known Gus Goose?

Donald Duck may be a fictional character, but his ancestry can be traced back several generations through hints and clues provided in comic books, television shows, and a wide array of other media. The main source of our knowledge of Donald’s kin is A Duck Family Tree by comic book author Don Rosa. Since the book’s publication in 1993, additional details have come to light, allowing us to expand upon our understanding even further.

Based on an analysis of the available resources, we can confidently place thirty-five of Donald’s relatives.

Visualized family tree of Donald Duck

Through his father, Quackmore Duck, we know of the following:

  • Cornelius Coot (1790-1880), father of:
    • Clinton Coot (1840-1910), who married Gertrude Gadwell, parents of:
      • Casey Coot (1865- 194?) who married Gretchen Grebe, parents of
        • Fanny Coot who married Luke Goose, parents of:
          • Gus Goose
          • Cuthbert Coot
      • Elvira “Grandma Duck” Coot (October 1855- 195?) who married Humperdink Duck, parents of:
        • Eider Duck who married Lulubelle Loon, parents of:
          • Abner “Whitewater” Duck
          • Fethry Duck
          • An unknown daughter,1 the parent of:
            • Dugan Duck
        • Daphne Duck who married Gustave Gander, parents of:
          • Gladstone Gander,2
          • An unknown child,3 the parent of:
            • Shamrock Gander
        • Quackmore Duck (b. 1875) who married Hortense McDuck (b. 1876), the parents of:
          • Donald Duck (b. 1920)
          • Della Duck (b. 1920) who married a brother of Daisy Duck,4 parents of:
            • Huey (b. 1940)
            • Dewey (b. 1940)
            • Louie (b. 1940)

Through his mother, Hortense McDuck, the following relatives of Donald Duck have been identified:

  • Silas McDuck, the father of:
    • Quagmire McDuck
    • “Dirty” Dingus McDuck who married Molly Mallard, the parents of:
      • Angus “Pothole” McDuck (1820-19??)5,6
      • Fergus McDuck (1830-1902) who married Downy O’Drake (1840-1898), the parents of:
        • Scrooge McDuck (1867-1967)
        • Matilda McDuck (b. 1871) possibly married Ludwig von Drake
        • Hortense McDuck (b. 1876) who married Quackmore Duck (b. 1875), parents of:
          • Donald Duck (b. 1920)
          • Della Duck (b. 1920)
      • Jake McDuck (1840-19??)
      • Gideon McDuck

Several known relatives of Donald simply cannot be placed using the information available to us. These include: Sheriff Dan Duck and Dudley D. Duck, said to be Donald’s cousins; Moby Duck, an ambiguous relative; and Kildare Coot, Donald’s fourth cousin. Further up the tree, cousins of Scrooge McDuck include Douglas McDuck and Moocher McDuck, but their connection is unknown.

How can we possibly know all of this? Clues provided in various sources frequently offer minor hints which allow the tree to be expanded significantly. The most crucial sources for compiling the ancestry recorded above include the comic series The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, as well as myriad other comic books hinting at connections, and family trees drawn and produced by cartoonists who created the world inhabited by Donald Duck and his ancestors.

The first known example of these family trees was compiled in the 1950s by cartoonist Carl Barks, originally drafted for his own personal use to track the relationships in the expanding Duck family universe.7 This tree includes a note meant to explain uncertain family connections: that Gladstone Gander, the biological son of Donald’s aunt Daphne Duck and Luke the Goose, was adopted by Matilda McDuck and Goostave Gander. Later iterations of this tree reversed this decision, and instead place Gladstone as the son of Goostave Gander and Daphne Duck. This tree was not officially published until May 1990, which explains why it contradicts connections established after the 1950s. Notably, this first tree also gave the name of Donald’s sister and the mother of Huey, Dewey, and Louie as Thelma, rather than Della as later stated.

Another family tree appeared in a panel of a 1960 comic book, but this version does not directly show relationships between individuals, making connections difficult to establish.The most well-known family tree of Donald Duck was completed by cartoonist Don Rosa in 1993, and is considered the most comprehensive and accurate documentation of Donald’s extended family. An earlier draft of this tree from 1992 provides even more data of note, including birth and death dates for many members of the family.

While Donald’s generation and several generations before him can be definitively identified, there are also many early ancestors named whose relationship to Donald Duck are not firmly established, although a direct line of descent is confirmed. The McDuck (originally MacDuich) family has long established roots in Scotland, particularly in Dismal Downs, the home of the early McDucks’ ancestral castle.9 The following is an unconfirmed, but possible, line of descent:

  • Sir Eider MacDuich (880-946), possibly father of:10
    • Friar Juicy MacDuich (910-971), possibly father of:
      • Sir Smokt MacDuich (b. 931), possibly father of:
        • Sir Slye MacDuich, possibly father of:
          • Sir Quackly McDuck (1010-1057), father of:
            • Sir Murdoch McDuck

A few generations later, we know of:

  • Sir Stuft McDuck (1110-1175), possibly father of:11
    • Sir Roast McDuck (1159-1205), father of:
      • Sir Swamphole McDuck (1190-1260)

Despite his fictional status, the ancestry of Donald Duck is well established and can be traced back multiple generations. Although we professional genealogists tend to focus our efforts on proving the ancestry of those who are known to have existed in the real world, it can also be a fascinating exercise to consider the lives and families of the characters we’ve come to know and love.

 

Notes

1 It is known that Dugan is the nephew of Fethry Duck, but the parentage of Dugan is not known.

2 Rosa, Don, The Sign of the Triple Distelfink, (1998), https://inducks.org/story.php?c=D+97437 .

3 It is known that Shamrock is the nephew of Gladstone Gander, but the parentage of Shamrock is not known.

Rosa, Don, Duck Family Tree [Sketch], (1991, published 2012), https://scrooge-mcduck.fandom.com/wiki/Don_Rosa%27s_Duck_Family_Tree_Sketch?file=The_Duck_Family_Tree_%2528Tentative%2529.png .

5 Rosa, Don, Walt Disney’s the Life and Times of $crooge McDuck, (1992, Egmont Publishing).

6 Rosa, Don, Duck Family Tree [Sketch], (1991, published 2012), https://scrooge-mcduck.fandom.com/wiki/Don_Rosa%27s_Duck_Family_Tree_Sketch?file=The_Duck_Family_Tree_%2528Tentative%2529.png .

7 Barks, Carl, Carl Barks’ Library, 6th vol., (1990).

8 Fallberg, Carl, Family Fun, (1960), https://scrooge-mcduck.fandom.com/wiki/Chart_of_the_Duck_Family_Tree?file=Chart_of_the_Duck_Family_Tree.png .

9 Barks, Carl, The Old Castle’s Secret, (1948).

10 Rosa, Don, The History of the Clan McDuck in Don Rosa Library, vol. 4, (2011).

11 Barks, Carl, The Old Castle’s Secret, (1948) and Rosa, Don, The History of the Clan McDuck in Don Rosa Library, vol. 4, (2011).

About Zachary Garceau

Zachary J. Garceau is a former researcher at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. He joined the research staff after receiving a Master's degree in Historical Studies with a concentration in Public History from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and a B.A. in history from the University of Rhode Island. He was a member of the Research Services team from 2014 to 2018, and now works as a technical writer. Zachary also works as a freelance writer, specializing in Rhode Island history, sports history, and French Canadian genealogy.

7 thoughts on “Tracing the Ancestry of Donald Duck

  1. Scrooge dead? Is that from Rosa?? Cannae possibly be!! He still has his Lucky Dime and his dives into The Money Bin are restorative of all of his body–including the gaiter straps on his (webbed) feet. His adventures ae still being told of in Europe as chronicled by Rosa. (Plus the chracter is not out of copyright – 1st appearance 1947 in Only A Poor Old Man.) But thanks Jeffrey for tackling this befeathered problem.

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