John was a Harvard graduate. He traveled abroad for a few years, then returned to the United States to join in managing the family fortune. He dabbled in writing as well as inventing.
John became active in real estate development, building the Astoria section of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1897, the Waldorf having been built by his cousin William Waldorf Astor. He built several other notable New York City hotels, notably the St. Regis, which some have said was his greatest achievement.
John also helped during the Spanish-American War, even going so far as to offer the use of his yacht, Nourmahal.
The couple decided to travel the world a bit while the gossip died down concerning their marriage (she was a year younger than John's son from his first marriage, Vincent). It was their decision to journey home on the Titanic that would lead to John's demise.
When the Titanic hit the ice, John went to investigate and came back to calm his wife. While lounging and waiting for action, John had cut into his life belt to show Madeline what it was made of. This action also affected his survival.
John Jacob Astor drowned in the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912 after making sure his pregnant wife got into one of the lifeboats. He tried to join her, but could not. He said goodbye to her and stood on the deck of the ship as it began to sink. Astor drowned in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912. His body was recovered April 22, 1912. His body was shipped back to New York and he was buried in Trinity Cemetery in Manhattan.
Madeleine named their son John Jacob in tribute to his father.
↑ "New York, Births and Christenings, 1640-1962," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V2HN-JTP : accessed 27 Apr 2014), Wm. Astor in entry for John Jacob Astor, 03 Sep 1864; citing EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF THE MESSIAH,RHINEBECK,DUTCHESS,NEW YORK, reference ; FHL microfilm 974.733 K28 KE.
↑ "United States Census, 1870," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M86S-1J8 : accessed 06 Jun 2014), John Astor in household of William Astor, New York, United States; citing p. 71, family 344, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552509.
↑ "United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q24F-K3Z9 : 16 March 2018), John Jacob Astor, 1899; citing Passport Application, New York, United States, source certificate #, Passport Applications, 1795-1905., 518, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
↑ "New York State Census, 1865," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVNN-43BX : accessed 5 April 2018), John Jacob Astor in household of Wm Astor Jr., District 02, Rhinebeck, Dutchess, New York, United States; citing source p. 2, line 45, household ID 21, county clerk, board of supervisors and surrogate court offices from various counties. Utica and East Hampton Public Libraries, New York; FHL microfilm 565,243.
↑ "United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGKJ-TPPN : 16 March 2018), John Jacob Astor, 1871; citing Passport Application, United States, source certificate #, Passport Applications, 10/31/1795 - 12/31/1905., 177, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
↑ "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M59K-Y81 : accessed 5 April 2018), John J Astor, Rhinebeck, Dutchess, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 83, sheet 7A, family 157, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 937; FHL microfilm 1,374,950.
↑ "New York State Census, 1905," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:SPFB-YLJ : 21 December 2017), John J Astor, Manhattan, A.D. 29, E.D. 13, New York, New York; citing p. 7, line 19, various county clerk offices, New York; FHL microfilm 1,433,110.
↑ Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 05 April 2018), memorial page for John Jacob Astor, IV (13 Jul 1864–15 Apr 1912), Find A Grave: Memorial #4390, citing Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum, Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .
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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with John Jacob by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA.
However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line.
It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with John Jacob: