The Ancestry of George Washington, First United States President

Pope's Creek near George Washington's Birthplace
George Washington was born 11 February 1732 according to the Julian (or Old Style) Calendar. Twenty years later, when the Gregorian (New Style) Calendar was adopted by England and its colonies, the date became 22 February, and this is the date we now celebrate as his birthday.

He was born at Pope’s Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia, which is approximately 40 miles south of Mount Vernon. When he was about 17 years old he wrote in his mother’s Bible the following description of his birth and baptism: “George Washington son to Augustine by Mary his wife was born on the 11th day of February 1731/2 about 10 in the morning and was baptized the 5th of April following. Mr. Beverly Whiting and Capt. Christopher Brooks godfathers and Mrs. Mildred Gregory godmother.”

Augustine Washington and his Parents

George’s father, Augustine Washington, was the son of Lawrence and Mildred Warner Washington. He was born in 1693 in Wakefield, Westmoreland, VA, and died 12 Apr 1743 in King George Co., VA. Augustine first married Jane Butler sometime before 1715, resulting in the birth of three sons and a daughter: Butler (died in infancy), Lawrence, Augustine, and Jane (who died as a child).

After the death of his first wife, Augustine married Mary Ball on 6 Mar 1730/1. Mary was born in Lancaster Co., VA, in 1708, the daughter of Joseph Ball and Mary Bennett. Mary died 25 Aug 1789 in Fredericksburg, VA. Augustine and Mary had six children: George, Betty, Samuel, John Augustine, Charles, and Mildred, who died as an infant.

George Washington’s Paternal Grandparents

Lawrence Washington, Augustine’s father, was born in Westmoreland County, VA, in September of 1659; he died February 1697/98 at Warner Hall, Gloucester, VA. In 1688 he married Mildred Warner, the daughter of Augustine Warner and Mildred Reade. She was born in Warner Hall, Gloucester, VA, in 1670, and died 26 Mar 1701 in Whitehaven, Cumberland, England.

George’s great-grandfather was John Washington, who emigrated to Virginia in 1657 with his brother Lawrence. Another brother, Sir William Washington, remained in England and married a half-sister of the Duke of Buckingham. The brothers were great-grandsons of Lawrence Washington, who had been Mayor of Northampton and owner of the manor of Sulgrave in Northamptonshire. Lawrence’s brother John also became a planter in Virginia, as well as serving in the Indian Wars. He married Ann Pope and had three children: John, Augustine, and Mildred.

Mary Ball Washington and her Ancestors

When Mary Ball married Augustine Washington, she became the stepmother of two children (Lawrence and Augustine). Of George’s nine siblings, only six reached maturity: Lawrence, Augustine, Samuel, John Augustine, Charles and Betty.

Mary Ball was born in 1708 in Lancaster County, Virginia, the only child of Joseph Ball and his second wife, the widow Mary Johnson, whose maiden name and origins are not known. Mary’s mother died when she was three, and her father died when she was 12, so she was placed, in accordance with the terms of her mother's will, under the guardianship of George Eskridge, a lawyer.

Mary Ball’s father Joseph was the son of William Ball I, who arrived in Virginia by 1653. Colonel William Ball, as he is usually known, was born in 1615 in London, England, and died in 1680 in Lancaster County, Virginia. He married Hannah Atherold (or Atherall) in London in 1638. In his will, William Ball (written in 1680) mentions his wife Hannah and two sons, Joseph and William, and a daughter, another Hannah.

George and Martha Washington

George married Martha Dandridge Custis, who was the daughter of John Dandridge and Clara Jones, and the widow of Daniel Parke Custis, on 6 January 1759 in New Kent County, Virginia. Martha had four children by Custis; she and George had no children together.

George died 14 Dec 1799 in Mt. Vernon, Fairfax, VA, at 67 years of age; Martha died only a few years later, on 22 May, 1802.

Sources:

Everett, Edward. The Life of George Washington, Sheldon and Company, 1860

Colonel William Ball the Immigrant's Will

Mary Ball Washington Museum and Library

Mary Washington

The Papers of George Washington

For an explanation of the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar, and the display of dates with slashes, see Double Dating.