German-American U.S. Presidents?
July 15, 2019 4:34 AM   Subscribe

Have there been any German-American U.S. presidents other than Eisenhower and Trump?
posted by clawsoon to Law & Government (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Per Wikipedia, other presidents with German ancestry include Hoover (originally Huber), Nixon (on the Milhous (Melhausen) side), and (wait for it) Obama.
posted by box at 5:06 AM on July 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

Best answer: FWIW, according to Wikipedia, Truman has some German ancestry as well. I thought to look him up just because German ancestry is so common here in Missouri. German emigrants settled huge swaths of the state, partly because the climate, agricultural conditions, and such are so similar to certain parts of German speaking countries.
posted by flug at 3:18 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: An update on Truman. I got looking into it and Truman's maternal grandfather Solomon Young--who essentially raised him for much of his youth, and whose farm in Grandview, Missouri, Truman ran for many years as a young man, was very much of German descent.

Solomon Young's parents were Jacob Young and Rachel Goodnight.

Jacob was son of Johann Georg and Ann Jung (Johann was also known as John Young).

Rachel was daughter of Hans Michael Goodnight and Mary Landis. Goodnight was originally--wait for it--"Gutknecht". Mary Landis, Gutknecht's second wife, seems to also have been born in Germany.

(No one seems to know much about Jung's wife Ann, aside from her first name and that fact that she survived her husband. She is mentioned in a number of documents, including Jung's will and probate papers. In all probability she was born in Germany or of German descent, as well.)

Gutknecht and Jung were both born in the Rheinland Pfalz area of Germany and immigrated to the U.S. together, onboard the Neptune in 1752. They lived near each other in the area of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina for most of the 1760s and 1770s, where they were part of a pretty extensive German settlement and attended the Cold Water German Reformed Church. They were part of a pretty large group making all of those moves together--hundreds of family groups are listed on the Neptune manifest, for example--so I don't know that anything proves they were very best of friends all along the way. But the families clearly knew each other, at least.

So it probably wasn't too surprising when two of their children married--some 40 years after they immigrated to the U.S. together.

This article on the Harry S. Truman Library web site has quite a bit more information about how Truman's relatives were able to track down the connection to Jacob Young and Rachel Goodnight--including info from Truman's own memoirs that provided the missing link.

Of course, Truman probably didn't play up his German ancestry to the hilt during the WWI and WWII years, but he does specifically mention his German ancestry in his memoirs. It was only some decades after his death that they were able to specifically trace his ancestry beyond his grandfather Solomon Young, though.

You can see the Neptune manifest here. Neptune manifest starts on p. 283, "Hans Michel Gutknecht" on p. 284, and "Johann Georg Jung" on p. 285.
posted by flug at 2:56 AM on June 8, 2020

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