Find your ancestors in Descendants Of The Signers Of The Declaration Of Independence

The men who signed the Declaration of Independence made world history in 1776. “The Signers” are recognizable by name, this is your chance to learn if you descend from one of the men who participated in one of the most famous acts of rebellion in western history.

Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence which was created between June – July of 1776 and unanimously ratified on July 4, 1776. Originally published and distributed as a broadside, the Declaration listed 27 grievances against King George III from the colonies. It has since become a well-known statement on human rights and was the inspiration for other similar documents in other countries including Austria, Belgium, and Liberia. By the time it was adopted, the 13 Colonies and Great Britain had been at war for more than a year.

These records document the descendants of these 56 men and offer a standardized lineage, which allows family historians to determine any possible connection to the Signers. The most famous is undoubtedly John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress, who chose to sign in large letters. It is also signed by two future Presidents: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Benjamin Harrison V was the father and great-grandfather of two other presidents, Edward Rutledge was the youngest at age 26, and at age 70, Benjamin Franklin was the oldest. Many had familial connections to Britain, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The signers were:

  • Adams, John
  • Adams, Samuel
  • Bartlett, Josiah
  • Braxton, Carter
  • Carroll, Charles
  • Chase, Samuel
  • Clark, Abraham
  • Clymer, George
  • Ellery, William
  • Floyd, William
  • Franklin, Benjamin
  • Gerry, Elbridge
  • Gwinnett, Button
  • Hall, Lyman
  • Hancock, John
  • Harrison, Benjamin
  • Hart, John
  • Hewes, Joseph
  • Heyward Jr., Thomas
  • Hooper, William
  • Hopkins, Stephen
  • Hopkinson, Francis
  • Huntington, Samuel
  • Jefferson, Thomas
  • Lee, Francis Lightfoot
  • Lee, Richard Henry
  • Lewis, Francis
  • Livingston, Philip
  • Lynch Jr., Thomas
  • McKean, Thomas
  • Middleton, Arthur
  • Morris, Lewis
  • Morris, Robert
  • Morton, John
  • Nelson Jr., Thomas
  • Paca, William
  • Penn, John
  • Read, George
  • Rodney, Caesar
  • Ross, George
  • Rush, Benjamin
  • Rutledge, Edward
  • Sherman, Roger
  • Smith, James
  • Stockton, Richard
  • Stone, Thomas
  • Taylor, George
  • Thornton, Matthew
  • Treat Paine, Robert
  • Walton, George
  • Whipple, William
  • Williams, William
  • Wilson, James
  • Witherspoon, John
  • Wolcott, Oliver
  • Wythe, George

The images in this collection come from the Frank Willing Leach Collection, housed at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

What can these records tell me?

While records vary from family to family, the materials in this collection are presented in a traditional genealogical text style, with the primary subject at the top of each page or section, and their children, or Issue, listed below. Each generation follows in a similar format. When it was available, information on locations, dates, marriages, spouses, and other vital genealogical data is included.

Many of the pages include handwritten edits that were inserted after the original publication was created, as ongoing research revealed new information or corrections.

Researchers should be attentive to any additional notes or citations offered for each family, and should verify this information against original documents, as you would with any other published genealogical research.

Though the vast majority of the information will be from the United States, families will include information from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Europe, South America, Australia, and other areas around the globe, depending on where the family may have ventured to over several generations.