Rockefeller Family Tree: How the Family wealth was shared

Rockefeller-family-tree
Image source: rockarch.org

One of the well-known families in the United States whose legacy has endured for a long time is the Rockefeller family. The Rockefeller family tree is of great significance if you want to understand the system of generational wealth and value preservation.

This family has held a prominent position in the world for many years, so it’s no wonder many people have a fascination for their members.

So, we have put together a list that includes the names of famous persons in the Rockefeller family, as well as information about where each of them.

If you’re doing research on historical members of the Rockefeller family, this list is the perfect starting point to find out which notable people are included.

While this is not an exact family tree, it does show a list of many popular members of the Rockefeller family.

Why are the Rockefeller Family so important?

In many cultures there is an ancient adage that three generations will create and lose wealth. In the US, we say “shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations” and in Japan we say “rice fields to rice fields in three generations”.

In other words, wealth seldom lasts much longer than grandchildren. Taxes, spending, the dilution of wealth by children and their children’s children, and the inevitable corruption of so much money ultimately weigh on family wealth.

But the Rockefeller family has resisted all of this. The Rockefeller family is now in its seventh generation with up to 170 heirs and has sizable net worth – according to Forbes, they had a fortune of $11 billion in 2016.

That’s more than 100 years since John D. Rockefeller became America’s first billionaire after founding the Standard Oil Company in the late 19th century.

Even less likely, however, is that the family remained largely united without the public scandals, feuds, lawsuits, and tragedies typical of other gilded dynasties.

There are now over 250 family members who are direct descendants of John D. Rockefeller and Laura Spelman Rockefeller.

Who is the famous John D. Rockefeller?

John D. Rockefeller was an American industrialist and philanthropist. He was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, which became the first major US business trusts. Standard Oil would make Rockefeller the richest man in the world and the first to reach a billion dollars.

Rockefeller is said to have amassed a fortune that would be worth well over $600 billion in today’s dollars. John Rockefeller was a devout Baptist from the north and a supporter of many ecclesiastical institutions.

The Rockefeller family

The Rockefeller family is an American industrial, political, and banking family that owns one of the greatest fortunes in the world. Fortune in the American oil industry was made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by John D. Rockefeller and his brother William Rockefeller, primarily through Standard Oil (the predecessor of ExxonMobil and Chevron Corporation).

The family had a longstanding relationship with and control of Chase Manhattan Bank. Until 1977, the Rockefellers were considered one of the most powerful families in American history.

Family Background of the Rockefellers

Originally from the Rhineland, Germany, the Rockefeller family moved to the New World in the early 18th century, while John D. Rockefeller and William Rockefeller Jr., with family roots in Middlesex County, New Jersey, and their descendants Eliza Davison also of Scottish-Irish descent.

The American branch of the family descends from Johann Peter Rockefeller, who emigrated from Rhineland to Philadelphia in the province of Pennsylvania around 1723.

One of the earliest members of the Rockefeller family in New York was businessman William Rockefeller Sr., who was born into a Protestant family in Granger, New York.

He had six children with his first wife, Eliza Davison, the daughter of a Scottish-Irish farmer, the most famous of whom were oil magnates John D. Rockefeller and William Rockefeller Jr., co-founders of Standard Oil.

The Rockefeller Family Tree

Rockefeller-tree
Image source: rockarch.org

These are the Rockefeller family tree from the famous John Rockefeller to all the members of his family down to the recent generation.

The Rockefeller family are well known for their wealth, business and investment intelligence and philanthropic lifestyles. Let’s take a look at some of the famous members of the Rockefeller Family Tree.

John Davison Rockefeller

John Davison Rockefeller (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was an American business tycoon and philanthropist. He is widely considered to be the richest American of all time and the richest person in modern history.

Rockefeller was born into a large New York state family who moved several times before finally settling in Cleveland, Ohio.

At the age of 16, he became an assistant to the accountant and from the age of 20 entered into several business partnerships, focusing on oil refining.

Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870. He headed it until 1897 and remained its largest shareholder.

John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

John Davison Rockefeller Jr. (January 29, 1874 – May 11, 1960) was an American financier and philanthropist who was a prominent member of the Rockefeller family.

He was the only son among the five children of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller, and the father of the five famous Rockefeller brothers.

In biographies he is generally referred to as “Junior” to distinguish him from his father “Senior”. His sons included Nelson Rockefeller, the 41st Vice President of the United States; Winthrop Rockefeller, the 37th governor of Arkansas; and banker David Rockefeller

Elizabeth Rockefeller Stark

Elizabeth “Bessie” Rockefeller (August 23, 1866 – November 14, 1906) was the eldest child of Standard Oil co-founder John Davison Rockefeller (1839-1937) and school teacher Laura Celestia “Cettie” Spelman (1839-1915).

Bessie Rockefeller was a special student at Vassar College from 1886 to 1888. Strong Hall, the school’s first dormitory, was named by her father in 1893 in honour of Bessie, who contributed $35,000 towards the construction costs.

On March 22, 1889, she married the philosopher and psychologist Charles Augustus Strong and had a daughter, Margaret Rockefeller Strong (1897-1985).

David Rockefeller

David Rockefeller (June 12, 1915 – March 20, 2017) was an American banker who served as chairman and chief executive officer of Chase Manhattan Corporation.

He was the oldest living member of the third generation of the Rockefeller family and was a family patriarch from August 2004 until his death in March 2017.

Rockefeller was the youngest child of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and a grandson of John D. Rockefeller and Laura Spelman Rockefeller.

He was known for his extensive political connections and trips abroad, during which he met many foreign leaders. His net worth was estimated at $3.3 billion at the time of his death in March 2017

Nelson Rockefeller

Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (July 8, 1908 – January 26, 1979) was an American businessman and politician who served as the 41st Vice President of the United States from 1974 to 1977 and previously the 49th Governor of New York from 1959 to 1973.

He was also from 1953 to 1954 Assistant Secretary of State for American Republic Affairs and Health, Education and Social Affairs for Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower respectively.

As a member of the wealthy Rockefeller -Family, he was a noted art collector and served as administrator of the Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, New York.

Jay Rockefeller

John Davison “Jay” Rockefeller IV (born June 18, 1937) is an American politician who served as the United States Senator from West Virginia (1985-2015). He was first elected to the Senate in 1984 while serving as Governor of West Virginia (1977-85).

Rockefeller was later elected Secretary of State for West Virginia (1968) and was President of West Virginia Wesleyan College (1973-75). He became the senior U.S. Senator for the state when longtime Senator Robert Byrd died in June 2010.

The great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, and is member of the prominent Rockefeller family.

Michael Rockefeller

Michael Clark Rockefeller (May 18, 1938 – presumably died November 19, 1961) was the fifth child of the governor of New York and Ex-US Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and a fourth-generation member of the Rockefeller family.

He disappeared during an expedition in the Asmat region in the southwest of the Netherlands New Guinea, which is now part of the Indonesian province of Papua.

In 2014, Carl Hoffman published a book detailing the investigation into his murder. In this book, villagers and elders admit that Rockefeller was killed after swimming ashore in 1961. Despite these claims, no remains or other evidence of his death have ever been discovered.

James Stillman Rockefeller

James Stillman Rockefeller (June 8, 1902 – August 10, 2004) was a member of the well-known American Rockefeller family.

He won an Olympic rowing title for the United States and then became President of Citigroup. He was a trustee of the American Museum of Natural History and a member of the board of directors of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

John D. Rockefeller III

John Davison Rockefeller III (March 21, 1906 – July 10, 1978) was a philanthropist and third-generation member of the prominent Rockefeller family.

He was the eldest son of philanthropists John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. His siblings were Abby, Nelson, Laurance, Winthrop and David.

He was instrumental in setting up the Board of Trustees, the Foundation Center and the independent sector. He is the father of John Davison “Jay” Rockefeller IV – a former US Senator from West Virginia and a former dual-term governor of that state.

Laurance Rockefeller

Laurance Spelman Rockefeller (May 26, 1910 – July 11, 2004) was an American businessman, financier, philanthropist, and eminent conservationist.

He was a prominent third generation member of the Rockefeller family and the fourth child of John Davison Rockefeller Jr. and Abigail Greene “Abby” Aldrich.

Winthrop Rockefeller

Winthrop Rockefeller (May 1, 1912 – February 22, 1973) was an American politician and philanthropist who served as the first Republican governor of Arkansas since the rebuilding.

He was a third-generation member of the Rockefeller family.

Winthrop Paul Rockefeller

Winthrop Paul “Win” Rockefeller (September 17, 1948 – July 16, 2006) was an American Republican politician and businessman who served as the 17th lieutenant governor of Arkansas from 1996 until his death in 2006. He was a member of the Rockefeller family

Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge

Ethel Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge (April 3, 1882 – August 13, 1973) was the youngest child of William Avery Rockefeller Jr. and Almira Geraldine Goodsell Rockefeller.

Giralda Farms was the name of the New Jersey estate where the family lived. She was a great patron of the arts and portions of her collection were the subject of a lawsuit after her death.

Steven Rockefeller

Steven Clark Rockefeller (born April 19, 1936) is a fourth-generation member of the Rockefeller family and a former dean of Middlebury College.

He is the oldest living member of the family still bearing the Rockefeller name, and is the oldest living Rockefeller since the death of his uncle David Rockefeller (aged 101) in March 2017.

Rockefeller is an education-focused philanthropist.

Family fortune of the Rockefellers

The combined fortunes of the family – their total fortune and investments, as well as the individual fortunes of its members – was never known precisely.

The records of the family archives, which relate to both the family’s assets and the assets of individual members, are closed to researchers.

From the beginning, the family’s assets through the family office were under the complete control of the male members of the dynasty.

Despite strong-willed women influencing the decisions of their husbands – like the pivotal female character Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, the wife of John D. Rockefeller Jr. – in all cases they received only allowances and did not even receive partial responsibility for the family fortunes.

Much of the wealth has been locked up in the remarkable 1934 Family Trust (which holds most of the fortune and matures after the fourth generation’s death) and 1952 Trust, both managed by Chase Bank, Chase’s corporate successor in Manhattan Bank.

These trusts consisted of interests in Standard Oil successors and other diversified investments, as well as the family’s substantial real estate holdings. They are administered by a trust committee that oversees the assets.

These assets are now also managed by professional money managers who oversee the main holding company, Rockefeller Financial Services, which controls all of the family’s investments since Rockefeller Center is no longer family-owned. The current chairman is David Rockefeller Jr.

In 1992 it had five main arms:

  • Rockefeller & Co. (money management: universities have invested part of their foundations in this company);
  • Venrock Associates (Venture Capital: An early investment in Apple Computers was one of many made in Silicon Valley entrepreneurial start-ups);
  • Rockefeller Trust Company (manages hundreds of family businesses);
  • Rockefeller Insurance Company (Manages family member liability insurance);
  • Acadia Risk Management (Insurance Broker: Contracts for policies for the family’s extensive art collections, real estate, and private planes

Rockefeller full Family Descendants

Rockefeller Ancestral Family tree

Godfrey Lewis Rockefeller (1783 / 1784–1857) (m. 1806) Lucy Avery (1786–1867) (ten children)

William Avery Rockefeller Sr. (1810–1906) (m. 1837) Eliza Davison (1813–1889) (eight children)

  • Lucy Rockefeller (1838–1878) (m. 1856) Pierson D. Briggs
  • Clorinda Rockefeller (approx. 1838–?, Died young) (daughter of Nancy Brown)
  • John Davison Rockefeller Sr. (1839–1937) (m. 1864) Laura Celestia “Cettie” Spelman (1839–1915)
  • Cornelia Rockefeller (approx. 1840–?) (Daughter of Nancy Brown)
  • William Avery Rockefeller Jr. (1841–1922) (m. 1864) Almira Geraldine Goodsell
  • Mary Ann Rockefeller (1843–1925) (m. 1872) William Cullen Rudd
  • Franklin “Frank” Rockefeller (1845–1917) (m. 1870) Helen Elizabeth Scofield
  • Frances Rockefeller (1845–1847)
  • William W. Rockefeller (1788-1851) (m. Early 19th century) Eleanor Kisselbrack (1784-1859)

Descendants of John Davison Rockefeller Sr.

The total number of blood related offspring was around 150 in 2006.

  • Elizabeth “Bessie” Rockefeller (1866–1906) (m.1889) Charles Augustus Strong (1862–1940)
    • Margaret Rockefeller Strong (1897–1985) (m.1st.1927) George de Cuevas (1885–1961), (m. 2nd 1977) Raimundo de Larrain
  • Alice Rockefeller (1869-1870)
  • Alta Rockefeller (1871–1962) (m.1901) Ezra Parmelee Prentice (1863–1955)
    • John Rockefeller Prentice (1902–1972) (m.1941) Abra Cantrill (1912–1972)
  •  Abra Prentice Wilkin (born 1942)
    • Mary Adeline Prentice Gilbert (1907–1981) (m.1937) Benjamin Davis Gilbert (1907–1992)
    • Spelman Prentice (1911–2000) (m.3rd.1972) Mimi Walters (four children)
  • Peter Spelman Prentice (born 1940)
  • Alexandra Sartell Prentice (born 1962)
  • Sarah Prentice Bens (born 1997)
  • Erik Carl Bens (born 1996)
  • Peter Parmalee Bens (born 1987)
  • Michael Andrew Prentice (born 1964)
  • Edith Rockefeller (1872–1932) (m. 1895) Harold Fowler McCormick
  • John Rockefeller McCormick (1896-1901)
    • Editha McCormick (1897–1898)
    • Harold Fowler McCormick Jr. (1898–1973) (m.1931) Anne “Fifi” Potter (1879–1969)
    • Muriel McCormick (1902–1959) (m.1931) Elisha Dyer Hubbard (1906)
    • Mathilde McCormick (1905–1947) (born 1923) Max Oser (1877–1942) (one child)

John Davison Rockefeller Jr. (1874–1960) (m. 1. 1901) Abigail Greene “Abby” Aldrich (1874–1948)

  • Abigail Aldrich “Babs” Rockefeller (1903-1976)
  • Abigail Rockefeller “Abby” “Mitzi” Milton O’Neill (1928-2017) with George Dorr O’Neill Sr. (five children)
  • Marilyn Ellen Milton (1931–1980) (two children)

John Davison Rockefeller III (1906–1978) (m.1932) Blanchette Ferry Hooker (four children)

  • John Davison “Jay” Rockefeller IV (born 1937) (m. 1967) Sharon Percy (four children)
  • John Davidson Rockefeller V (born 1969) with Emily Tagliabue
  • John Davidson Rockefeller VI (born 2007)
  • Justin Aldrich Rockefeller (born 1979) m. Indré Vengris
  • Valerie Rockefeller Wayne
  • Hope Aldrich Rockefeller (born 1938) (one child)
  • Alida Ferry Rockefeller Messinger (born 1949) (m.1st 1978–1986) Mark Dayton (m.2nd) William Messinger (three children)

Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (1908–1979) (m.1st 1930–1962) Mary Todhunter Clark (m.2nd 1963) Margaretta Large “Happy” Fitler (1926–2015) (seven children)

  • Rodman Clark Rockefeller (1932–2000) (m.1st 1953–1979) Barbara Ann Olsen (m. 2nd 1980) Alexandra von Metzler (four children)
  • Mile Rockefeller (born 1955)
  • Steven Clark Rockefeller (born 1936)
  • Mary Clark Rockefeller (born 1938) m.1st (1961-1974) William J. Strawbridge (three children)
  • Michael Clark Rockefeller (1938–1961)
  • Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller Jr. (born 1964)
  • Mark Fitler Rockefeller (born 1967)

Laurance Spelman Rockefeller (1910-2004) (m.1934) Mary French

  • Laura Spelman Rockefeller Chasin (1936-2015)
  • Marion French Rockefeller (born 1938)
  • Dr. Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky (born 1941)
  • Laurance Rockefeller Jr. (born 1944) (born 1982) Wendy Gordon (two children)

Winthrop Rockefeller (1912–1973) (m. 1. 1948, div. 1954) Jievute “Bobo” Paulekiute (1916–2008) (m. 2. 1956, div. 1971) Jeannette Edris (1918–1997)

  • Winthrop Paul Rockefeller (1948–2006) (m. 1. 1971, div. 1979) Deborah Cluett Sage (m. 2. 1983) Lisenne Dudderar (seven children)

David Rockefeller (1915–2017) (m. 1940) Margaret McGrath (1915–1996)

  • David Rockefeller Jr. (born 1941) (divorced 1st) Diana Newell-Rowan (2nd 2008) Susan Cohn (two children)
  • Ariana Rockefeller (born 1982) (m. 1. 2010, div. 2019) Matthew Bucklin
  • Camilla Rockefeller (born 1984)
  • Abigail Rockefeller (born 1943)
  • Neva Goodwin Rockefeller (born 1944) (divorced first) Walter J. Kaiser [46] (second) Bruce Mazlish (1923-2016)
  • David Kaiser (1969-2020)
  • Margaret Dulany “Peggy” Rockefeller (born 1947)
  • Richard Gilder Rockefeller (1949-2014); married to Nancy King (two children, two stepchildren)
  • Eileen Rockefeller (born 1952) with Paul Growald (two children)

Descendants of William Avery Rockefeller Jr.

A 1937 article in the New York Times stated that William Rockefeller had 28 great-grandchildren at the time.

  • Lewis Edward Rockefeller (1865–1866)
  • Emma Rockefeller McAlpin (1868–1934)
  • William Goodsell Rockefeller (1870–1922) (five children)
  • William Avery Rockefeller III (1896–1973) (three children)
  • Elsie Rockefeller m. William Proxmire
  • Godfrey Stillman Rockefeller (1899–1983) (seven children)
  • Godfrey Anderson Rockefeller (1924-2010)

James Stillman Rockefeller (1902-2004) (four children)

  • John Davison Rockefeller II (1872–1877)
  • Percy Avery Rockefeller (1878–1934) with Isabel Goodrich Stillman (five children)
  • Isabel Stillman Rockefeller (1902–1980) m. Frederic Walker Lincoln IV
  • Isabel Lincoln (1927-2016) m. Basil Beebe (Stephen Basil) Elmer Jr. (1924-2007)
  • David Basil Elmer
  • Lucy Lincoln Elmer
  • Monica Elmer
  • Veronica Hoyt Elmer m. Clinton Richard Kanaga
  • Anthony Kanaga
  • Joshua Kanaga
  • Lindsey Kanaga
  • Calista Lincoln (1930-2012) m. Henry Upham Harder (1925-2004)
  • Frederic Walker Lincoln Harder (born 1953) m. Karin J. E. Bolang (born 1954)
  • Frederic Harder
  • Calista Harder
  • Gertrude Upham Lincoln Harder (born 1955) with James Briggs
  • Alexander Briggs
  • George Briggs
  • Holly Briggs
  • Katherine Briggs

Calista Harder (born 1957) m. Jan Hollyer

  • Elsa Hollyer
  • Ian Hollyer

Holly Harris Harder (born 1961) m. Bruce Kenneth Catlin (born 1956)

  • Augustus Attilio Catlin (born 1997)
  • Nickolas Charles Catlin (born 2000)
  • Caroline Catlin

Henry Upham Harder Jr. (born 1965) m. Natalie Rae Borrok (born 1965)

  • Haley Rae Harder (born 1997)
  • Henry Rolston Harder (born 1999)
  • Charles Lincoln Harder (born 2003)

Percilla Avery Lincoln (1937-2019) m. William Blackstone Chappell Jr. (1935-2017)

  • Richard Blackstone Chappell (1964-2014)
  • Avery Lincoln Chappell (1966-2005) m. J. Kevin Smith
  • Ellery Smith
  • Emeline Smith
  • Stillman Smith

Florence Philena Lincoln (born 1940) m. Thomas Lloyd Short

  • Avery Rockefeller (1903–1986) m. 1923 Anna Griffith Mark (three children)
  • Faith Rockefeller Model (1909-1960)
  • Robert Model (born 1942)
  • Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge (1882–1973) with Marcellus Hartley Dodge Sr.
  • Marcellus Hartley Dodge Jr. (1908-1930)

Spouses

  • Laura Celestia “Cettie” Spelman (1839-1915) – John D. Rockefeller Sr.
  • Abby Greene Aldrich (1874–1948) – John D. Rockefeller Jr.
  • Martha Baird Allen (1895–1971) – John D. Rockefeller Jr.
  • Mary Todhunter Clark “Death” (1907–1999) – Nelson Rockefeller
  • Margaretta “Happy” Fitler (1926-2015) – Nelson Rockefeller
  • Anne Marie Rasmussen – Steven Clark Rockefeller
  • Blanchette Ferry Hooker (1909–1992) – John D. Rockefeller III
  • Mary French (1910-1997) – Laurance Rockefeller
  • Wendy Gordon – Laurance “Larry” Rockefeller Jr.
  • Jievute “Bobo” Paulekiute (1916–2008) – Winthrop Rockefeller
  • Jeannette Edris (1918–1997) – Winthrop Rockefeller
  • Deborah Cluett Sage – Winthrop Paul Rockefeller
  • Lisenne Dudderar – Winthrop Paul Rockefeller
  • Margaret “Peggy” McGrath (1915-1996) – David Rockefeller
  • Diana Newell Rowan – David Rockefeller Jr.
  • Nancy King – Richard Gilder Rockefeller.
  • Sarah Elizabeth “Elsie” Stillman (1872–1935) – William Goodsell Rockefeller
  • Isabel Goodrich Stillman (1876–1935) – Percy Avery Rockefeller

References

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