J. R. R. Tolkien CBE FRSL
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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien CBE FRSL (1892 - 1973)

John Ronald Reuel (J. R. R.) Tolkien CBE FRSL
Born in Bloemfontein, Orange Free Statemap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 22 Mar 1916 in St Mary Immaculate Church, Warwick, Warwickshire, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 81 in Bournemouth, Hampshire, England, United Kingdommap
Profile last modified | Created 28 Nov 2009
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J. R. R. Tolkien CBE FRSL is an English Author.
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J. R. R. Tolkien CBE FRSL is genealogies verbind aan Suid Afrika /is genealogically connected to South Africa
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien[1][2] was born 3 January 1892[1], in Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, South Africa[1], to Arthur Reuel Tolkien and Mabel Suffield.[1][3][4]
A poet, writer and professor, he is most famous for his creation of Middle-Earth with the books The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion (published posthumously) and The Hobbit.[3] Tolkien has often been referred to as the "father" of modern fantasy literature. [3]

John Ronald Reuel was baptised on 31 January 1892 in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State by the Vicar A. H. Harcourt Vernon.[1] His baptism can be found in the registers for the Anglican churches of St Andrew and St Margaret, Bloemfontein.[1] Sponsors were Edith M Incledon, G Edward Jelf and Tom Hadley.[1] His family was in residence in Bloemfontein and his father a bank manager there at the time.[1]

J.R.R. had one sibling, a younger brother, Hilary Arthur Reuel Tolkien. [3] He was home-schooled by his mother. Most interested in language and writing, he read at the age of 4. Before his fifth birthday, he wrote in different languages.[3]

Tolkien grew up in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham, and went to King Edward's School in Birmingham. In 1911 he attended Exeter College, Oxford. [3]

J. R. R. Tolkien CBE FRSL is a Military Veteran.
Served in the British Army
as a Battalion Signals Officer with the Lancashire Fusiliers at Picardy during World War I

His service in WWI became inspiration for his books.[5]

At 21, Tolkien married Edith Mary Bratt.[6] Initially, his guardian barred him from seeing her -- due to her religion -- until he reached the said age. Tolkien complied with his guardian's wish.[3]

In a 1941 letter to his son Michael, Tolkien recalled:

"I had to choose between disobeying and grieving (or deceiving) a guardian who had been a father to me, more than most fathers ... and 'dropping' the love-affair until I was 21. I don't regret my decision, though it was very hard on my lover. But it was not my fault. She was completely free and under no vow to me, and I should have had no just complaint (except according to the unreal romantic code) if she had got married to someone else. For very nearly three years I did not see or write to my lover. It was extremely hard, especially at first. The effects were not wholly good: I fell back into folly and slackness and misspent a good deal of my first year at college."[3]

John and Edith had four children together: John Francis, Michael Hilary, Christopher John, and Priscilla Anne. He loved his children, and their names and personalities became characters in his books.[3]

When Tolkien was not writing, he was a reader and professor for many different colleges. Never thinking his books would be popular, he wrote as a hobby. Then he showed a former English student The Hobbit, and it was they who convinced Tolkien to publish. [3]

Tolkien and his books became famous. Despite his renown, the most important thing in his life remained his wife and children.

Tolkien was close friends with author C.S. Lewis.[3]
J. R. R. Tolkien CBE FRSL was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972. [3]

Tolkien's wife, Edith, died 29 November 1971, at 82. [3]

According to Simon Tolkien:
"My grandmother died two years before my grandfather and he came back to live in Oxford. Merton College gave him rooms just off the High Street. I went there frequently and he'd take me to lunch in the Eastgate Hotel. Those lunches were rather wonderful for a 12-year-old boy spending time with his grandfather, but sometimes he seemed sad. There was one visit when he told me how much he missed my grandmother. It must have been very strange for him being alone after they had been married for more than 50 years." [3]

Tolkien died 21 months later on 2 September 1973, at the age of 81.[7][8][9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Baptism: "South Africa, Church of the Province of South Africa, Parish Registers, 1801-2004"
    citing Baptism, St Andrew and St Margaret, Bloemfontein, Orange Free State, South Africa, Entry 3686 on Page 226, William Cullen Library, Wits University, Johannesburg.
    FamilySearch Record: KFNQ-SDB (accessed 22 September 2022)
    FamilySearch Image: 33S7-9T7B-SHYT
    John Ronald Reuel born 3 Jan 1892 son of Arthur Reuel and Mabel Tolkien, baptised on 31 Jan 1892 in the Anglican Cathedral in Bloemfontein, Bloemfontein, Orange Free State by the Vicar A. H. Harcourt Vernon. Residence: Bloemfontein. Father's Occupation: Bank Manager. Sponsors: Edith M Incledon, G Edward Jelf and Tom Hadley.
  2. "England and Wales Census, 1911," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X7B8-3JV : 20 January 2015), John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, Edgbaston, Edgbaston, Worcestershire, England; from "1911 England and Wales census," database and images, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : n.d.); citing PRO RG 14, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 J.R.R. Tolkien's Wikipedia article; Accessed 29 May 2017
  4. 1901 England Census; Class: RG13; Piece: 2806; Folio: 59; Page: 17; http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=uki1901&indiv=try&h=15318124; Accessed 29 May 2017
  5.  : Service Record: Application for Officers Training Corp or a Member of a University - Temporary Commission (1915). Geni.com. Digital Image. Note: John Ronald Reuel. DOB 03 Jan 1892. Marital Status: Single. Nationality: British. Education: Exceter College Oxford. Residence: Illegible.
  6. "England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:26XB-WM7 : 13 December 2014), John R R Tolkien and null, 1916; from “England & Wales Marriages, 1837-2005,” database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing 1916, quarter 1, vol. 6D, p. 1511, Warwick, Warwickshire, England, General Register Office, Southport, England.
  7.  :Professor J.R.R. Tolkien: Creator of Hobbits and inventor of a new mythology (1973, September 3). The Times. Geni.com. Digital image (obituary)
  8. "England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVCT-V7F4 : 4 September 2014), John Ronald R Tolkien, 1973; from "England & Wales Deaths, 1837-2006," database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing Death, Bournemouth, Dorset, England, General Register Office, Southport, England.
  9. "BillionGraves Index," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K3TD-FNR : 24 June 2015), John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, died 02 Sep 1973; citing BillionGraves (http://www.billiongraves.com : 2012), Burial at Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom.

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Comments: 6

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Hello - Would it be possible to add information about JRR Tolkien's y-DNA haplogroup to the text and/or the sources section? Please see https://discover.familytreedna.com/y-dna/R-YP351/tree and http://tolkniety.blogspot.com/2022/09/the-long-father-tree-of-jrr-tolkien.html and http://tolkniety.blogspot.com/2019/12/baltic-ancestry-of-prof-tolkien.html for secondary sources. Thanks for your consideration in advance.
posted by Sven Elbert
Hello Friends from the England project- did you see my request above? I believe Tolkien seems to have a patrilineal line with roots in Poland and it would be great if yDNA information could be added. But maybe that is not possible, technically. Thanks again for your kind consideration of this message.
posted by Sven Elbert
Hi Eowyn

Would you be so kind as to add the project as manager to comply with the new rule regarding project boxes. Adding the e mail address for your convenience [email address removed] Do ask if you have any questions :-)) Many thanks in advance.

C'mon Middle-Earth geeks you should be all over this. It wasn't Tolkien's (long-dead!) father who forbade him from seeing Edith, it was Father Francis Xavier Morgan.
posted by Matthew Fletcher