Donald J Trump – confounding the pollsters and regularly sending social media newsfeeds into a frenzy.
As is the case with most people, Donald Trump’s family tree reveals a fascinating journey –
from harsh island life, to unbelievable wealth. Do you suppose his Scottish greatgrandparents
– crofters and fishermen living in an isolated community – ever speculated
that a descendant might one day be the most powerful person in the world?
So, what is the President Elect’s heritage? Irish genealogy fans will know that Trump claims
Scottish descent. He’s so proud of it, in fact, that he bought a golf course in Aberdeenshire
to celebrate that connection and promote his Scottish roots.
Trump’s British heritage comes through his maternal line. He is the son of a Scotswoman – a
Mary Anne MacLeod who was born on the Hebridean island of Lewis (just off the west coast
of Scotland) in 1912. She emigrated to America in 1930, travelling to the US on the SS
Transylvania. She arrived in New York the day after her 18th birthday.
She made three declarations on the passenger list, stating that she wished to move to the
US permanently, she was seeking employment and she would not be returning to her
country of origin. In fact, she did return in 1934, although she went back to the States
afterwards on a re-entry permit. She was naturalised as a US citizen in 1942.
Mary Anne MacLeod’s father Malcolm, Trump’s grandfather, was a crofter and a fisherman.
He was also had a role enforcing attendance at the local school. He married a Mary Smith
and the couple went on to have many children, the youngest of which was Donald Trump’s
Donald Trump has longevity in his genes – his maternal grandparents lived to a ripe old age,
his grandfather dying in his 80s and his grandmother in her 90s. This will be good or bad
news, depending on your political viewpoint…
Life on Lewis and the other Scottish islands was harsh at the time. Most people depended
on farming and fishing to survive and this life wasn’t sustainable as populations grew. Many
chose to emigrate, seeking out a better life in the new world.
In 1936, Mary Anne McLeod met and married Frederick Trump. Frederick (Fred) Christ
Trump was of German origin. He started off his working life as a carpenter, later going into
real estate development. In the 1930s, he helped pioneer the first supermarket, advertised
as a Serve Yourself and Save concept.
Fred Trump was born in New York in 1905. Donald Trump’s grandfather, his father
Friederich, was born in Kallstadt, Pfalz, Germany (sometimes called the wine region of
Germany) in 1869. He emigrated to the US in 1885, becoming a US citizen in 1892. His wife,
Elizabeth Christ, was born in 1880, also in Kallstadt area. She married Friederich there in
With her son Fred Trump, Elizabeth Christ Trump founded the real estate development
company, Elizabeth Trump & Son. The company is now known as The Trump Organization.
Whatever you think of him, Donald Trump’s heritage is fascinating – from the wilds of
Scotland to the height of power and fame. No doubt his Scottish grandparents and great-grandparents would have been astonished to think a descendant would go so far.