Question of the Week: Have you found any authors or poets in your family?

+27 votes

Several notable authors were born in January, including Louisa May Alcott, Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll). 

Have you found any authors or poets as you work through your family branches?

asked in The Tree House by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (254k points)
retagged by Abby Glann
We found Shakespeare.  14 generations back.


Glad you asked this, as I would have never known. Seems I garnered my love of poetry/writing/Artsy things from a variety of Great Grandpa's and Cousins. =) The ones I have found so far are Sir Walter Scott (my grandma was a Scott, and his grandpa was my great grandpa), Louisa M Alcott, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost is my 7th cousin 5x's removed & his wife too lol! Alfred Tennyson, Henry Wadsworth, Lord George Gordon ByronRalph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Stearns Eliot, Henry David Thoreau, and many more. Very interesting to have so many Poets, including my oldest daughter who also loves writing. 

My father, Henry Robert Fowler, wrote Australian bush poetry. I write poetry and non-fiction (mostly Christian) under my own name, Lynn B Fowler, and fiction under the pen name Grace L Sutherland. My books and a book of my Dad's poems can be found at my publishing site,

My mother Dora Cox Mostert wrote and published poems under the name Dora Andre. 

My sister, Trudy Mostert Wiltbank published a book she wrote called "COX COUSINS." My mother's maiden name was Cox.

I have written obituaries for the Quincy, Illinois Herald Whig.


Yes, I am 1st Cousin 4 x removed to William Bliss Carman, Canadian Poet. One of my middle names is his last name actually. And I do write poetry although I’m not published as of yet.


YES...Beatrix Potter!  She would have been my Great Aunt (I think)?

Beatrix cousin, was my Great grandmother!
I have also found I am related to Geoffrey Chaucer. Not directly, however, but a great grand uncle.

According to relative finder I have several all through my Mother's side

Ralph Waldo Emerson/5th Cousin 5 x removed

Ambrose Bierce/6th Cousin 3 x removed

Laura Ingalls Wilder/6th Cousin 3 x removed

John Greenleaf Whittier/5th Cousin 6 x removed

Oliver Wendell Holmes/5th Cousin 6 x removed

Amy Lawrence Lowell/6th Cousin 4 x removed

Archibald MacLeish/6th Cousin 4 x removed

Edgar Allan Poe/6th Cousin 4 x removed

Horatio Alger/6th Cousin 4 x removed

Edward Estlin Cummings/7th Cousin 2 x removed

Henry David Thoreau/6th Cousin 5 x removed

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow/6th Cousin 5 x removed

Herman Melville/6th Cousin 5 x removed

James Russell Lowell/6th Cousin 5 x removed

Nathaniel Hawthorne/6th Cousin 5 x removed

Benjamin Franklin Norris/7th Cousin 3 x removed

Edgar Rice Burroughs/7th Cousin 3 x removed

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson/7th Cousin 3 x removed

Ezra Loomis Pound/7th Cousin 3 x removed

Robert Frost/7th Cousin 3 x removed

Noah Webster/6th Cousin 6 x removed

John Griffith London/7th Cousin 4 x removed

Samuel Langhorne Clemens/7th Cousin 4 x removed

Stephen Crane/7th Cousin 4 x removed

B. F. Skinner/8th Cousin 2 x removed

Henry Brooks Adams/8th Cousin 2 x removed

Robert Lowell/8th Cousin 2 x removed

William Sydney Porter/8th Cousin 2 x removed

Louisa May Alcott/7th Cousin 5 x removed

Anne Spencer Morrow/8th Cousin 3 x removed

Henry Cabot Lodge/8th Cousin 3 x removed

Ida Minerva Tarbell/8th Cousin 3 x removed

Lyman Frank Baum/8th Cousin 3 x removed

T. S. Eliot/8th Cousin 3 x removed

Conrad Potter Aiken/9th Cousin 1 x removed

Harold Hart Crane/9th Cousin 1 x removed

James Grover Thurber/9th Cousin 1 x removed

John Ernst Steinbeck/9th Cousin 1 x removed

Willa Cather/9th Cousin 1 x removed

Louis Dearborn L'Amour/9th Cousin 2 x removed

Sinclair Lewis/9th Cousin 2 x removed

Ernest Hemingway/10th Cousin

Eugene Luther Vidal/10th Cousin

Stephen R. Covey/10th Cousin

Tennessee Williams/10th Cousin

Adam Smith/7th Cousin 7 x removed

Percy Bysshe Shelley/8th Cousin 5 x removed

Bertrand Russell/9th Cousin 3 x removed

W. Cleon Skousen/10th Cousin 1 x removed

Jane Austen/7th Cousin 8 x removed

Walt Whitman/8th Cousin 6 x removed

C. S. Lewis/9th Cousin 4 x removed

William Cuthbert Faulkner/10th Cousin 2 x removed

Zelda Lorraine Brown/10th Cousin 2 x removed

Abraham Stoker/10th Cousin 3 x removed

James Rufus Agee/11th Cousin 1 x removed

Philip Kindred Dick/11th Cousin 1 x removed

James Fenimore Cooper/9th Cousin 6 x removed

Dashiell Hammett/10th Cousin 4 x removed

Harper Lee/12th Cousin

Adeline Virginia Stephen/10th Cousin 5 x removed

Upton Sinclair/11th Cousin 3 x removed

F. Scott Fitzgerald/11th Cousin 4 x removed

George Bernard Shaw/11th Cousin 4 x removed

Alfred Tennyson/12th Cousin 2 x removed

Stephen Vincent Benét/13th Cousin 1 x removed

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller/13th Cousin 2 x removed

Truman Streckfus Persons/14th Cousin 1  x removed

Frank Patrick Herbert/15th Cousin

John Hoyer Updike/15th Cousin
My mother's maternal grandfather is 6-8 generations from Evan James. Welsh poet who wrote Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau,  Welsh anthem.

Chasing rumours of John Hughs and Daniel James who co-wrote Calon Lan,  welsh love favorite.

Grandad was Tudor James, and my gran was Doreen Mary James born 1913 I believe. Had a sister Charlotte Ware too, maybe that'll be a connection for someone.

Yes Coventry Patmore wrote "Angel in the House" in 1854.

I still can't find the connection, but I know he was a Grand Uncle of my Grandfather Arthur Stimpson Patmore.

73 Answers

+11 votes

Yes, I got a big kick out of discovering I'm distantly related to O Henry.  Still trying to figure out whether my grandmother, who was the family historian for that side, knew about the relationship, and what she would have thought of it if she did.  

answered by E. Compton G2G6 Pilot (107k points)
I absolutely love O Henry stories.
Not clear why this was flagged. Maybe someone didn't understand the use of flagging and meant to star the comment? Or perhaps it was done by accident. O Henry is an excellent story teller- what gives? (Flag removed)
+14 votes

I'm distantly related to Harriet Beecher Stowe. We have common ancestors along the Beecher line

"Women are the real architects of society." Harriet Beecher Stowe

answered by Anne B G2G6 Pilot (972k points)
Distant connections on my mom's side:  Hemingway's 3rd wife, and my 3rd great grandmother Emerett Beecher, was cousin to Harriet.
+12 votes
Being related to poets is something I love to find on my family tree. I have no direct ancestors who are poets.  However, I do have some distant cousins.  Namely, Emily Dickinson who is my very distant 11th cousin, and  my closer 5th cousin Sarah Helen Whitman, spiritualist, poet, and the love interest of Edgar Allan Poe.


UPDATE:  I just discovered today that Louisa May Alcott is my 6th cousin through my Chatfield line. I believe Louisa May Alcott is born November 29, 1832 and not in January.  I'm glad you posted that though since I had overlooked Louisa May Alcott.
answered by James Stratman G2G6 Mach 5 (59k points)
edited by James Stratman

Oh that's neat! Louisa May Alcott is a descendant of Anneke Jans of New Netherland (and also my 7th cousin 4x removed) I sure loved her books when I was little. :)

That's interesting about the connection with Anneka Jans. That's the first I heard of this.  I'm ashamed to say that I never read anything by Louisa May Alcott, not even 'Little Women'.  I will have some reading to do.  They also made several movies about Little Women, and a 1994 version starring Winona Ryder. Amazon Prime also has a documentary on Louisa May Alcott which I will watch.  It's a great feeling when you find a connection to your own family and glad to hear you have that connection in your family. :)
+12 votes

My grandmother's first cousin was Elinor Glyn (1864-1943), who wrote scandalous romantic novels and Hollywood screenplays. Ogden Nash wrote a poem about her: "Would you like to sin with Elinor Glyn on a tiger skin, Or would you prefer to err with her on another fur?" LOL. Thanks for reminding me that the profile was one of my early ones and needs attention!

answered by Laurie Cruthers G2G6 Mach 6 (65.7k points)
+7 votes


I'm slowly crawling through trying to figure out how my line is connected to Percy (should be obvious... Percy Shelley and both of them at that)

In the terms of close cousins: I know that Nicholas Mosley (whom died last year) is one. Most people I come across release something and there but don't reach notability for it. Bear Grylls has written stuff too

answered by Richard Shelley G2G6 Mach 9 (93.9k points)
+7 votes

Interestingly, Sarah Helen Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe share the same birthday, January 19th. They were engaged to marry.

answered by James Stratman G2G6 Mach 5 (59k points)
+9 votes

Does Samuel Langhorne Clemens count?  "If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything"!  In The Chicken Coop  4th Cousin 4XR

answered by Scott Lee G2G6 Mach 1 (17.3k points)
Not as much as he used to once they banned him from schools. LOL
+7 votes
Yes, I am related to Robert Burns.
answered by Ruth Henry G2G5 (5.6k points)
+7 votes
My father had two books published. I don't know about any famous authors, but I am related to Sir Benjamin West.
answered by Katrina Whitaker G2G6 Mach 3 (32.5k points)
+7 votes
I have a cousin who beat the current fad of having self published books.
She had an edition of her poems published around the 1950 era.  Her name is Nellie Ruth Cramer.  She was a teacher all of her life.  The Jefferson County(New York State) (published by both Haddock and Hough,each),history books that were published in about 1900 quoted her as being the most gracious author ever coming out of the county.   The fad at the time  of the turn of the century quoted the same articles from each other so I don't know who originated the quote.
answered by Beulah Cramer G2G6 Pilot (160k points)
+4 votes
If you count "Of Credulity and Incredulity, in Things Natural, Civil and Divine" published in London in 1668, then Yes. The author Meric Casaubon, a canon of Canterbury, is in my tree - a direct ancestor.
answered by
+4 votes

Not my favorite person, but a good author... HP Lovecraft. We're seventh cousins three times removed, meaning there's a chance we could have even had a DNA match.

answered by G. Borrero G2G6 Mach 7 (79.4k points)
+7 votes
I have been waiting for such a question.

Tennessee Williams 4th Cousin 2x removed

Samuel Clemons 3rd cousin 5x removed

Laura Ingalls Wilder 9th Cousin 4x removed
answered by Deena Cross G2G6 (9.1k points)
+7 votes

I'm not likely to have any published authors in my background, as most of my ancestors were completely illiterate.  As for cousins, Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac is my seventh cousin, once removed.  I'm also related to Cyprien Tanguay, who is my fourth cousin, five times removed.

answered by Greg Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (140k points)
hey Cyprien is my 5th cousin 5xs removed!  We are 9th cousins our 9th grandmother is Madeleine Martin..hi there cousin! lol
+5 votes

Several, including myself.

My 4x Great Grandfather wrote a chronicle about the glassmakers going back to the 1500s   You can access an English translation done by one of my Stenger cousins at

I have been published in several genealogy magazines and on a genealogy blog site for my article on Contextual Genealogy a phrase I coined over 20 years ago for putting meat on your ancestor's bones by fitting them into the geo political context in which they lived.,_2003,_editedreduced.pdf p101  For some reason they changed the Title to Contextual Family History but in my computer dated prior to 2003 it is Contextual Genealogy. 


answered by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (448k points)
+10 votes
I just published my first novel. Maybe someday my descendants can say they had an ancestor who was an author!
answered by Jeanie Roberts G2G6 Pilot (116k points)
yaaaay another Author in the family!  no matter how distant.. I'll tell my Author Daughter, will make her happy to know there are others in family.  ooh ya.. we are diiiiiistant cousins.. 23rd to  be exact according to wikitree relationship finder.   :-)  hi cousin
+7 votes

Not exactly but my 3x great-grandfather wrote a poem while he was in jail. "City Jail" by John Haddow. He was a union organizer during the Coal Wars and wrote the poem while he was in jail for contempt. He was eventually pardoned by President Roosevelt.

answered by Carrie Quackenbush G2G6 Mach 7 (72.5k points)
+6 votes

There are quite a few authors and poets in my family. Some are famous, most are not and none have written the sort of material that you would read to relax. Here are some of my favourites:

Adam Lindsay Gordon, Australian poet, politician and jockey. His bust is in Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey. My second cousin 4x removed.

Christopher Robin Elrington, historian and editor of the Victoria County History series 1954-1977.  His brother Alan told me that he was indeed named after AA Milne's Christopher Robin. Alan was very interested in family history and had hoped that his brother would one day have time to look into the family history more deeply but that was not to eventuate.

Charles Richard Elrington, a prolific writer on education and theology. His major work was the collected works of Archbishop James Ussher with a full biography. He did not live to complete all the volumes or his planned re-writing of James Ware's History of the Irish Bishops.

Clement Caines Elrington seems to have been a lost soul but was the first Elrington to publish in Australia with his poems.

Louisa Christina Elrington who published as Louisa Clarke Wells on the cause and suffering of fallen women.  Louisa was my gr gr grandmother's sister and the niece of Clement Caines Elrington. Probably my favourite.

Louisa's niece, my great grandmother Eleanor Anne Hewetson, began her writing career penning anti-war pamphlets in WWI. She write a number of school textbooks, newspaper articles and plays including one which describes the first members of the Elrington family in Australia which has proved to be more accurate than I thought it would be. Yes her profile is empty…

William Keith Chambers Guthrie was married to my grandmother's cousin Adele who had been his student at Cambridge University. He published extensively with his major achievement being A History of Greek Philosophy (six volumes). a lean profile…

I have been reminded by accessing these profiles that the more recent ones need a lot of work.

answered by Vivienne Caldwell G2G6 Mach 1 (19.8k points)
+6 votes

Yes, such as John Greenleaf Whittier, my 5th cousin 5x removed; Herman Melville, my 6th cousin 4x removed;  e.e. cummings, my 6th cousin 4x removed; Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, my 6th cousin 5x removed; Henry David Thoreau, my 6th cousin 5x removed; Laura Ingalls Wilder, my 6th cousin 5x removed;  Ralph Walso Emerson, my 7th cousin 4x removed; also Erle Stanley Gardner, George Orson Welles, Tennessee Williams, Thornton Wilder, T. S. Elliot, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), John Steinbeck, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson, James Russell Lowell, Nathaniel Hawthorne...

and twelve published genealogist cousins. I have them all linked from my profile page.

answered by J. Salsbery G2G6 Mach 2 (25.2k points)
+5 votes

My great-grand uncle was, who had a book of poetry published posthumously (he was killed in the first world war. My third cousin three times removed was who was also a published poet, and has the library in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada named after her.

answered by John Trotter G2G6 Mach 2 (26.7k points)

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