benjamin franklin family tree

Benjamin Franklin Family Tree

Unveiling the Enigmatic Roots: Benjamin Franklin’s Family Tree Revealed

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Prepare to embark on a captivating journey through the hidden corridors of Benjamin Franklin’s ancestral heritage. In this enthralling article, we delve deep into the intricate tapestry of his family tree, unearthing the profound influences that shaped this celebrated American statesman.

With meticulous detail, we uncover the lineage of his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, shedding light on the remarkable individuals who played a pivotal role in Franklin’s extraordinary life.

Join us as we unravel the mysteries and intricacies of Benjamin Franklin’s family history, gaining unprecedented insights into the remarkable journey of this iconic figure.

Key Takeaways

  • Benjamin Franklin was married to Deborah Read and had two children, Francis and Sarah.
  • Benjamin Franklin’s father, Josiah, was a devout Puritan and a candle-maker, while his mother, Abiah, came from a prominent Nantucket family.
  • Benjamin Franklin’s family tree traces back to Thomas Franklin, a blacksmith in Ecton, England.
  • Benjamin Franklin had an illegitimate half-brother named Joseph and was the 15th of 17 children in his family.

Overview of Benjamin Franklin

The article provides an overview of Benjamin Franklin, a prominent figure in American history.

Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, Josiah Franklin, was a soap and candle maker, while his mother, Abiah Folger, was a homemaker.

Benjamin Franklin was married to Deborah Read and they had two children together, Francis and Sarah.

Benjamin Franklin is widely known as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, having played a crucial role in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. His numerous accomplishments include being a statesman, scientist, inventor, author, and philosopher.

Benjamin Franklin’s family tree is an important aspect of his legacy, as it reflects the values and contributions of a remarkable individual who shaped American history.

Early Life and Ancestry

During his formative years, Benjamin Franklin’s upbringing and family background played a significant role in shaping his character and future contributions to American society. Understanding his early life and ancestry provides insight into the influences that shaped his remarkable achievements.

Here are four key aspects of Franklin’s family background:

  • Josiah Franklin: Benjamin’s father, Josiah, was a devout Puritan and a candle-maker by trade. He instilled in Benjamin a strong work ethic and moral values, which would guide him throughout his life.
  • Abiah Folger: Benjamin’s mother, Abiah, came from a prominent Nantucket family. She was known for her intelligence and strong character, which likely influenced Benjamin’s own thirst for knowledge and determination.
  • Peter Folger: Abiah’s father, Peter, was a respected schoolmaster and a poet. He sparked Benjamin’s interest in literature and language, nurturing his love for reading and writing.
  • Printer: At a young age, Benjamin was apprenticed to his older brother James, who was a printer. This early exposure to printing technology would shape Benjamin’s career and pave the way for his future success as a writer, publisher, and inventor.

This rich familial heritage provided the foundation for Benjamin Franklin’s lifelong pursuit of knowledge, innovation, and public service.

Ancestral Background of Benjamin Franklin

With a rich ancestral background, Benjamin Franklin’s family tree holds the key to understanding the influences that shaped his remarkable achievements.

Benjamin Franklin was born into the Franklin family, whose roots can be traced back to Thomas Franklin, a blacksmith and landowner in Ecton, England.

Benjamin’s parents were Josiah Franklin and his second wife, Abiah Folger. Abiah was the daughter of Peter Folger and Mary Morrell Folger, making Benjamin Franklin a descendant of the influential Folger family.

Benjamin Franklin himself married Deborah Read, and they had two children together, William Franklin and Francis Folger Franklin. William Franklin went on to become the last colonial Governor of New Jersey.

Family Structure and Origins

Benjamin Franklin’s family structure and origins can be traced back to his parents, Josiah Franklin and Abiah Folger, who played a pivotal role in shaping his upbringing and character. Here are four key aspects of Franklin’s family background that influenced his life:

  1. Influence of his parents: Josiah Franklin, a candlemaker, and Abiah Folger, a homemaker, instilled in Benjamin a strong work ethic and values of honesty and frugality.
  2. Illegitimate son: Franklin’s father had an illegitimate son, Benjamin’s half-brother, named Joseph, who was raised under the same roof. This unconventional family dynamic may have contributed to Franklin’s non-traditional thinking and open-mindedness.
  3. Large family: Franklin was the 15th of 17 children in his family. Growing up in a bustling household taught him important interpersonal skills and the value of cooperation.
  4. Civic engagement: Franklin’s family was deeply involved in civic affairs, and he inherited their passion for public service, which ultimately led to his significant contributions in drafting the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

These influences shaped Franklin into an influential inventor, statesman, and one of America’s most respected founding fathers.

Benjamin Franklin’s Immediate Family

Franklin’s immediate family consisted of his wife, Deborah Read, and their two children, William and Francis. Benjamin Franklin married Deborah Read in 1730, and they had two children together.

Their eldest son, William Franklin, went on to become the last colonial Governor of New Jersey. However, he remained loyal to the British crown during the American Revolution, which strained his relationship with his father.

Benjamin Franklin’s younger son, Francis, died at the age of four from smallpox.

Franklin’s wife, Deborah, passed away in 1774 and was buried in the Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia. After her death, Franklin returned to Philadelphia, where he lived until he died in 1790.

Parents of Benjamin Franklin

Who were the parents of Benjamin Franklin?

Benjamin Franklin was born to Josiah Franklin and his wife Abiah Folger. Here are some key details about Franklin’s parents:

  1. Josiah Franklin: Benjamin Franklin’s father, Josiah, was born in Nantucket. He was a devout Puritan and a skilled candlemaker by trade. Josiah instilled in his son a strong work ethic and a commitment to moral values.
  2. Abiah Folger: Benjamin Franklin’s mother, Abiah, was married to Josiah Franklin. She came from a prominent New England family and was known for her intelligence and strong character. Abiah played a significant role in shaping Franklin’s education and nurturing his intellectual pursuits.
  3. Marriage: Josiah married Abiah Folger in 1689. They had seventeen children together, with Benjamin being the fifteenth child.
  4. Influence: The upbringing and values instilled by Franklin’s parents laid the foundation for his success as a statesman, inventor, and writer. Their support and guidance played a crucial role in shaping Benjamin Franklin into the influential figure he became.

Siblings of Benjamin Franklin

The siblings of Benjamin Franklin played an important role in his upbringing and familial dynamics. Benjamin Franklin was the fifteenth child out of seventeen children born to his parents, Josiah and Abiah Franklin. His siblings included seven sisters and nine brothers.

One of his brothers, James Franklin, played a significant role in Benjamin’s life. James was a printer and founded the New England Courant newspaper, where Benjamin apprenticed as a teenager.

Another brother, Josiah, became an indentured servant and later joined the clergy. Growing up in a Puritan family, Benjamin and his siblings were raised with strict values and a strong work ethic.

Their mother, Abiah, provided a nurturing and supportive environment, which contributed to Benjamin’s success later in life.

The close relationships and influences of his siblings shaped Benjamin Franklin into the remarkable individual he became.

Spouse and Children of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin’s marriage and offspring greatly impacted his personal life and legacy. Here is a list of his spouse and children:

  1. Deborah Read: Benjamin Franklin married Deborah Read in 1730. She was his common-law wife and they had two children together.
  2. William Franklin: Benjamin’s firstborn son, William, was born out of wedlock in 1730. He went on to become the last colonial Governor of New Jersey, but their relationship was strained during the American Revolution.
  3. Francis Folger Franklin: Benjamin and Deborah’s only daughter, Francis, was born in 1732. Unfortunately, she died at the age of four due to smallpox.
  4. Sarah Franklin Bache: Benjamin and Deborah’s second daughter, Sarah, was born in 1743. She was a devoted supporter of the American Revolution and played an active role in charitable activities.

Benjamin Franklin’s family played a significant role in his life and his descendants continued his legacy of public service.

Extended Franklin Family

Although often overshadowed by Benjamin Franklin’s immediate family, his extended relatives also contributed significantly to his life and legacy.

One notable member of his extended family was Deborah Read, his wife.

Another important figure was Benjamin Franklin Bache, his grandson, who became a prominent journalist and editor.

Franklin’s sister, Jane Franklin Mecom, was an avid correspondent and confidante.

Franklin’s cousin, Samuel Franklin, served as a former indentured servant and later played a crucial role in the development of the Franklin stove.

Additionally, William Franklin, Benjamin’s illegitimate son, became the last royal governor of New Jersey and had a strained relationship with his father during the Revolutionary War.

It is worth mentioning that several family members were buried at Christ Church in Philadelphia, where Franklin himself was interred.

The extended Franklin family was a diverse and influential group of individuals who contributed to Benjamin Franklin’s success and impact on society.

Grandparents of Benjamin Franklin

His grandparents played a significant role in shaping Benjamin Franklin’s early life and upbringing. They provided him with a strong foundation and instilled in him important values and principles that would guide him throughout his life.

Here is a list of four key aspects of Franklin’s grandparents’ influence on him:

  1. Family values: Franklin’s grandparents, Josiah and Abiah Franklin, raised him in a loving and disciplined environment. They taught him the importance of hard work, honesty, and integrity, which became the pillars of his character.
  2. Educational opportunities: Franklin’s grandparents recognized the value of education and ensured that he received a formal education. They sent him to the Boston Latin School and later apprenticed him to his brother’s printing press, where he honed his skills as a writer and thinker.
  3. Literary inspiration: Franklin’s grandparents encouraged his love for reading and writing. They provided him with access to books and newspapers, nurturing his intellectual curiosity and paving the way for his future achievements as a writer and publisher of the Pennsylvania Gazette and the Courant.
  4. Political influence: Franklin’s grandfather, Thomas Franklin, was the Governor of New Jersey, which exposed young Benjamin to the world of politics. This early exposure to the political sphere shaped his views and would later inspire him to become a key figure in the American Revolutionary War.

Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins of Benjamin Franklin

Continuing the exploration of Benjamin Franklin’s family tree, the discussion now moves on to his aunts, uncles, and cousins. Benjamin Franklin had a large extended family, with many relatives who played significant roles in his life. One of his aunts was Sarah Franklin, who was the sister of Benjamin’s father, Josiah Franklin. Sarah had a son named Jonathan Williams, who became an important figure in Franklin’s life. Jonathan Williams was a merchant and land speculator, and he played a crucial role in helping Franklin negotiate treaties with Native American tribes. Another cousin of Benjamin Franklin was Timothy Folger, who was a well-known sailor and cartographer. Folger’s navigational skills greatly influenced Franklin’s interest in oceanic currents and his theories on the Gulf Stream. Lastly, Benjamin Franklin had an uncle named Benjamin Franklin, after whom he was named. Uncle Benjamin was a blacksmith and Franklin stayed with him for a time in Boston. Franklin bought his first set of printing equipment from his uncle before returning to Europe.


RelativeRelationshipRole in Benjamin Franklin’s Life
Sarah FranklinAuntSister of Benjamin’s father
Jonathan WilliamsCousinHelped Franklin negotiate treaties with Native American tribes
Timothy FolgerCousinInfluenced Franklin’s interest in oceanic currents and Gulf Stream
Benjamin FranklinUncleBlacksmith, Franklin stayed with him in Boston, bought printing equipment

Other Relatives and Influential Figures

One individual who had a significant influence on Benjamin Franklin’s life and can be considered an influential figure in his family tree is an uncle named Thomas Franklin. Thomas Franklin was a merchant and a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly. His influence can be seen through the values and principles that Benjamin Franklin adopted, such as hard work, thriftiness, and civic involvement.

Thomas Franklin’s connection to the Penn family also played a role in Benjamin Franklin’s life, as it provided him with opportunities and connections in the colonial society. Additionally, Temple Franklin, Benjamin Franklin’s grandson, played a crucial role in preserving his legacy by publishing his memoirs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Were Benjamin Franklin’s Major Accomplishments?

Benjamin Franklin’s major accomplishments include being a Founding Father of the United States, a diplomat, an inventor, and a writer. He played a key role in drafting the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and made significant contributions to the fields of electricity and printing.

What Were Benjamin Franklin’s Political Beliefs and Contributions?

Benjamin Franklin’s political beliefs were rooted in Enlightenment ideals, advocating for democracy, individual liberty, and a strong central government. His contributions include drafting the Declaration of Independence and contributing to the formation of the United States Constitution.

How Did Benjamin Franklin’s Upbringing and Family Background Influence His Career?

Benjamin Franklin’s upbringing and family background played a significant role in shaping his career. His parents’ strong work ethic and emphasis on education instilled in him a desire for self-improvement, which propelled him to become a renowned polymath and a key figure in American history.

What Were Benjamin Franklin’s Religious Beliefs and How Did They Shape His Life?

Benjamin Franklin’s religious beliefs and how they shaped his life are the current focus of inquiry. This investigation seeks to understand the influence of Franklin’s religious convictions on his personal and professional endeavors.

Did Benjamin Franklin Have Any Notable Relationships or Friendships Outside of His Immediate Family?

Yes, Benjamin Franklin had numerous notable relationships and friendships outside of his immediate family. These included his close friendships with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, as well as his influential relationships with scientists and inventors of his time.

Q: What is Benjamin Franklin’s family tree?

A: Benjamin Franklin’s family tree refers to the family lineage and ancestry of the famous American statesman, inventor, and Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin.

Q: Where was Benjamin Franklin born?

A: Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1706.

Q: Who did Benjamin Franklin marry?

A: Benjamin Franklin married his first wife, Deborah Read, in 1730.

Q: What is the significance of Milk Street in Benjamin Franklin’s life?

A: Milk Street is the location in Boston where Benjamin Franklin was born in 1706.

Q: Where is Northamptonshire, and why is it mentioned in relation to Benjamin Franklin?

A: Northamptonshire is a county in central England. It is mentioned in relation to Benjamin Franklin because his ancestors originated from this region before emigrating to America.

Q: When did Benjamin Franklin die?

A: Benjamin Franklin died on April 17, 1790, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Q: Where did Benjamin Franklin live?

A: Benjamin Franklin lived in various places throughout his life, including Boston, Philadelphia, and London.

Q: What did Benjamin Franklin publish?

A: Benjamin Franklin published numerous works, including “Poor Richard’s Almanack” and his autobiography.

Q: How did Benjamin Franklin contribute to American history?

A: Benjamin Franklin played a crucial role in American history. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence, negotiated the Treaty of Paris, and was heavily involved in the Second Continental Congress.

Q: Who were some of the famous people associated with Benjamin Franklin?

A: Benjamin Franklin had connections with many famous individuals, including King Charles I of England, members of the Society of Friends, and prominent figures in the court of Louis XVI.


In conclusion, Benjamin Franklin came from a diverse and influential family background. His immediate family members played a crucial role in shaping his values and achievements, while his extended family provided support and guidance throughout his life.

The grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins of Benjamin Franklin also played a significant role in his upbringing. Additionally, he had other relatives and influential figures who contributed to his success and made a lasting impact on his life.

Overall, Benjamin Franklin’s family tree highlights the importance of strong familial connections and the influence of family in shaping one’s life.