Family of Joe Biden

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Family of Joe Biden
Joe Biden official portrait 2013 cropped.jpg
Current regionGreenville, Delaware
Connected members

The family of Joe Biden, the 46th and current president of the United States, is an American family, prominent in law, education, activism and politics. Biden's immediate family became the first family of the United States on his inauguration on January 20, 2021. The Biden family are of English, French and Irish descent.[1][2] Biden's third-great-grandfather immigrated from England to Maryland in 1822.[3]

Immediate family[edit]


Neilia Hunter Biden[edit]

Neilia Hunter Biden, the first wife of Joe Biden, was born on July 28, 1942. The couple married on August 27, 1966.[4] After the wedding, the Bidens moved to Wilmington, Delaware, where Biden was on the New Castle County Council. The couple had three children: Joseph Robinette "Beau" III, Robert Hunter and Naomi Christina "Amy".[5] Biden campaigned to unseat U.S. Senator from Delaware J. Caleb Boggs and Neilia was described by The News Journal as the "brains" of his campaign.[4]

On December 18, 1972, shortly after her husband became U.S. senator-elect, Neilia was driving with children Naomi, Beau and Hunter to buy a Christmas tree when their car was hit by a tractor-trailor.[6] Neilia and her three children were taken to Wilmington General Hospital. Neilia and Naomi died upon arrival, but her two sons survived with serious injuries.[6][7] Biden was sworn into the Senate on January 3, 1973 at the hospital where his sons were being treated.[4]

Jill Biden[edit]

Jill Tracy Jacobs Biden (née Jacobs, formerly Stevenson), the second and current wife of Joe Biden, was born on June 3, 1951. She met Biden while on a blind date in March 1975.[8]

Joe and Jill, soon after meeting in the 1970s

She and Joe Biden were married by a Catholic priest on June 17, 1977, at the Chapel at the United Nations in New York City.[9] This was four and a half years after his first wife and infant daughter died;[10] Joe had proposed several times before she accepted, as she was wary of entering the public spotlight, anxious to remain focused on her own career, and initially hesitant to take on the commitment of raising his two young sons who had survived the accident.[11][12]


Joe Biden fathered four children from two marriages. His firstborn daughter, Naomi Christina Biden, died in 1972, in the same car accident as her mother, and his firstborn son, Joseph "Beau" R. Biden III, died in 2015 after a fight with brain cancer. The Bidens' two surviving children include one son from his first marriage, Robert Hunter Biden, and one daughter from his second, Ashley Blazer Biden.[13]

Beau Biden[edit]

Joseph "Beau" Robinette Biden III was born on February 3, 1969 in Wilmington, Delaware. In the car crash that took the lives of his mother and sister, Beau suffered multiple broken bones, but survived after spending several months in the hospital. Beau went on to graduate from Archmere Academy, his father's high school alma mater, and the University of Pennsylvania in 1991,[14] where he was a member of the Psi Upsilon fraternity.[15] He was also a graduate of Syracuse University College of Law, as was his father. After graduating from law school, he clerked for Judge Steven McAuliffe of the United States District Court of New Hampshire.[16] From 1995 to 2004, he worked at the United States Department of Justice in Philadelphia, first as Counsel to the Office of Policy Development and later as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office.[citation needed]

In his first bid at political office, Biden ran for Attorney General of Delaware in 2006. Biden's opponent was a veteran state prosecutor and Assistant U.S. Attorney, Ferris Wharton. Major issues in the campaign included the candidates' experience and proposed efforts to address sex offenders, Internet predators, senior abuse and domestic abuse. Biden won the election by approximately five percentage points.[17]

Beau played an active role in his father's 2008 vice presidential campaign, speaking at the Democratic National Convention after Joe Biden was nominated for Vice President of the United States. He recounted the auto accident that killed his mother and sister and the subsequent parenting commitment his father made to his sons, a speech at which many delegates wept.[18][19]

On November 2, 2010, he was easily re-elected to a second term as Delaware Attorney General, beating Independent Party of Delaware candidate Doug Campbell by a large margin.[20]

For the final few years of his life, Biden suffered from a brain tumor.[21][22] In May 2010, he was admitted to Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware, after complaining of a headache, numbness, and paralysis. Officials stated that he had suffered a "mild stroke."[22][23] Later that month, Biden was transferred to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia and kept for observation for several days.[23]

In August 2013, Biden was admitted to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and diagnosed with brain cancer, after experiencing what White House officials called "an episode of disorientation and weakness."[24] A lesion was removed at that time. Biden had radiation and chemotherapy treatments and the cancer remained stable. On May 20, 2015, he was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, because of a recurrence of brain cancer. He died there 10 days later, on May 30, 2015, at age 46.[25] His funeral was held at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware, on June 6, 2015.[26] He was buried at St. Joseph's on the Brandywine in Greenville, Delaware.[21]

Hunter Biden[edit]

Robert Hunter Biden was born on February 4, 1970 in Wilmington, Delaware. Along with his mother and siblings, he was in the 1972 crash, sustaining injuries to his skull. Along with his older brother, he survived after receiving months of medical treatment. Like his father and brother, Hunter attended Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware.[27] He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Georgetown University in 1992.[27] During the year after he graduated from college, he served as a Jesuit volunteer at a church in Portland, Oregon and met Kathleen Buhle, whom he married in 1993.[27] After attending Georgetown University Law Center for one year, he transferred to Yale Law School and graduated in 1996.[27]

After law school, Hunter accepted a position at bank holding company MBNA America, a major contributor to his father's political campaigns.[27] By 1998, Biden had risen to the rank of executive vice president[27][28]

During the 2020 election, Hunter was targeted by the Trump administration due to his connections with Ukrainian holdings company Burisma, arguing that Joe Biden engaged in nepotism to get Hunter his position as a member of the board.[29]

Naomi Biden[edit]

Naomi Christina Biden, nicknamed "Amy", was born on November 8, 1971 in Wilmington, Delaware. She died in the same crash as her mother Neilia on December 18, 1972, when she was just over a year old.[6]

Ashley Biden[edit]

Ashley Blazer Biden was born on June 8, 1981 in Wilmington, Delaware. She is the only child from Joe Biden's second marriage. Biden attended Wilmington Friends School, a private school run by the Religious Society of Friends in Wilmington.[30] When Biden was in elementary school, she discovered that the cosmetics company Bonne Bell tested its products on animals. She wrote a letter to the company asking them to change their policy on animal testing. She later got involved in dolphin conservation, inspiring her father to work with Congresswoman Barbara Boxer to write and pass the 1990 Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act.[13] Biden made an appearance before members of the United States Congress to lobby for the legislation.[31] She is married to physician Howard Krein.


Natalie Biden at Joe Biden's presidential inauguration

Joe Biden has married twice and fathered four children. His seven grandchildren come from his two sons, five from Hunter and two from Beau.

  • Beau Biden (Joseph R. Biden III) (1969–2015),[32]
    • Two children: Natalie and Hunter.[21]
  • Hunter Biden (Robert Hunter Biden) (b. 1970)
    • Three daughters with his first wife Kathleen: Naomi, Finnegan, and Maisy.[33]
    • Hunter is the biological and legal father of a child, identified in court documents as NJR, with Lunden Roberts.[34]
    • One son with his second wife Melissa: Beau[35]


Biden has two dogs, Champ and Major, who are both German Shepherds.[36][37] Major is a rescue dog who was adopted from the Delaware Humane Association by Joe and Jill Biden in 2018. Champ is much older than Major and has been with the Bidens when Joe Biden was Vice President from 2009 to 2017.[38]

Immediate family tree[edit]

Neilia Hunter
Joseph "Joe" Biden
b. 1942
Jill Tracy Jacobs
b. 1951
Joseph "Beau" Biden
R. Hunter Biden
b. 1970
Naomi C. Biden
Ashley B. Biden
b. 1981

Parents and siblings[edit]

Joe Biden (left) with his mother and father in the 1970s


Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden Jr. was born on November 20, 1942 at St. Mary's Hospital in Scranton, Pennsylvania,[2]:5 to Catherine Eugenia "Jean" Biden (née Finnegan; July 7, 1917 – January 8, 2010)[39] and Joseph Robinette Biden Sr. (November 13, 1915 – September 2, 2002),[40] who married in 1941. After the death of Jean Finnegan Biden on January 8, 2010, President Barack Obama traveled to Wilmington, Delaware, to attend her January 12 funeral.[41]

Joe Biden's father, Joseph Sr. was initially wealthy but suffered financial setbacks around the time Joe was born,[42][43][44] and for several years the family lived with Jean's parents (Joe's maternal grandparents).[45] Scranton fell into economic decline during the 1950s and Joseph Sr. could not find steady work.[46] Beginning in 1953, the family lived in an apartment in Claymont, Delaware, then moved to a house in Wilmington, Delaware.[45] Joseph Sr. later became a successful used-car salesman, maintaining the family in a middle-class lifestyle.[45][46][47]


Joe Biden is the oldest of four siblings in a Catholic family, followed by his younger sister Valerie Biden Owens (born 1945), and two younger brothers, Francis William "Frank" Biden and James Brian "Jim" Biden.[2]:9 Valerie was one of the campaign managers for Joe Biden's presidential campaigns. Biden's niece Missy Owens (daughter of Valerie Biden Owens) has also worked in politics.[citation needed]



Joseph Sr.'s parents, Mary Elizabeth (née Robinette) Biden (1894–1943) and Joseph Harry Biden (1893–1941),[48][49] an oil businessman from Baltimore, Maryland, were of English, French, and Irish descent.[50][2]:8

Biden's paternal third great-grandfather, William Biden (1789–1849), was born in England and emigrated to the United States, where he settled in Maryland. According to historian Eddy Greenfield, he was born in Sussex,[51][52] and was christened at St John the Baptist's Church, Westbourne in Westbourne, West Sussex on 8 March 1789.[52] William was the second child and son of James Biden (born November 1767) and Ann Silverlock (born March 1766), who had married on 16 May 1785. James Biden, Biden's paternal fourth great-grandfather, was from Pagham. He was the son of Richard Biden, Biden's paternal fifth great-grandfather, and his wife Susan, beyond which the paternal family line, cannot be traced.[52]

A possible connection may also exist to the family of a William Henry Biden, who was from Houghton, Cambridgeshire and lived from 1791 to 1843.[53] This William Henry was a son of John Biden (died 28 July 1796) and his wife Ann Beaumont, who had married in 1781.[53] The seventh of eight children and the family's fifth son,[54] William Henry and his elder brother, Christopher Biden (1789-1858) served as officers in the East India Company merchant marine, both eventually becoming captains of East Indiamen. William Henry commanded mid-sized vessels before his death at Rangoon in 1843.[55]

Christopher Biden subsequently became an official in the Madras Civil Service (later the Indian Civil Service), and his descendants settled in India. He died at Madras in 1858.[55] In 1981, Christopher's great-great-grandson, Leslie Dunn Biden, then living in Nagpur, wrote to Joe Biden about the possible family connection after reading about him in the Illustrated Weekly of India, He received a response from Joe, and after discussing their genealogy, both promised to stay in touch, but did not resume correspondence before Leslie's death in 1983.[54] During a 2013 visit to India, Joe Biden referred to Leslie's letter, mentioning a "Biden from Mumbai" had suggested their "mutual great-great-great-great-something-or-other" named George had "worked for the East India Company back in the 1700s."[55]


Jean's parents were Geraldine Catherine (née Blewitt) Finnegan and Ambrose Joseph Finnegan, an advertising salesman from Scranton, Pennsylvania.[2] Jean was of Irish descent, with roots variously attributed to County Louth[56] and County Londonderry.[57][2]:8 Irish genealogists presented Joe Biden with his Irish maternal family history on his visit there in 2016.[58] Joe's maternal great-grandfather (Geraldine's father), Edward Francis Blewitt,[59] the child of Irish emigrants from Rappagh, Ballina, County Mayo, was a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate.[60][61] With all of Joe Biden's maternal ancestors, and his great-grandmother Mary Hanafy, having purely Irish origins, this makes Joe Biden 62.5% of Irish descent.[62][63][64]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Smolenyak, Megan (April–May 2013). "Joey From Scranton – Vice President Biden's Irish Roots". Irish America. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Witcover, Jules (2010). Joe Biden: A Life of Trial and Redemption. New York City: William Morrow. ISBN 978-0-06-179198-7.
  3. ^ Marshall, Olivia (November 3, 2020). "US presidential candidate Joe Biden has roots in Sussex". The Argus. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "Joe Biden Was Married To His First Wife, Neilia Hunter, For Only 6 Years". Women's Health. May 13, 2020. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  5. ^ Sarika Jagtiani; Meredith Newman; Andrew Sharp (September 25, 1019). "Hunter Biden: A brief bio of former Vice President Joe Biden's son". The News Journal. Wilmington, Del. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c McBride, Jessica (April 25, 2019). "How Did Joe Biden's First Wife, Neilia Hunter, Die?". Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  7. ^ Macon, Alexandra (November 17, 2016). "Joe and Jill Biden's Love Story Will Pull at Your Heartstrings". Vogue. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  8. ^ Cartwright, Al (July 17, 1977). "Son told Joe to marry Jill". Wilmington News-Journal. p. 3. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved March 8, 2020 – via
  9. ^ Biden, Joe (2007). Promises to Keep. Random House. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-4000-6536-3.
  10. ^ Farrell, Joelle (August 27, 2008). "Colleagues see a caring, giving Jill Biden". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on September 1, 2008. Retrieved August 28, 2008.
  11. ^ Van Meter, Jonathan (November 2008). "All the Vice-President's Women". Vogue. Archived from the original on August 31, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  12. ^ Glueck, Katie; Eder, Steve (February 2, 2020). "In Iowa, a Former Second Lady Campaigns to Be the First". The New York Times. p. A16. Archived from the original on July 19, 2020. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  13. ^ a b "Ashley Biden Takes On The World". August 22, 2018.
  14. ^ Kataria, Avni (November 16, 2017). "Penn students were moved to tears by Joe Biden's stories of loss and grief on Thursday". The Daily Pennsylvanian. Retrieved September 30, 2020.
  15. ^ Spinelli, Dan (May 31, 2015). "Penn frat brothers recall Beau Biden with affection". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  16. ^ Brooks, David (June 2, 2015). "Beau Biden, late son of the vice president, clerked for a year in Concord". The Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  17. ^ State of Delaware 2006 Election Results (PDF). Delaware Department of Elections (Report). State of Delaware. November 7, 2006. p. 2. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  18. ^ Connolly, Kevin (August 28, 2008). "Biden shows more bark than bite". BBC News. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  19. ^ Broder, John M. (August 28, 2008). "Biden Opens New Phase With Attack on McCain". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2014.
  20. ^ "State Of Delaware – Elections Results". Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  21. ^ a b c Kane, Paul (May 30, 2015). "Beau Biden, vice president's son, dies of brain cancer". The Washington Post.
  22. ^ a b Shearmay, Michael D. (May 30, 2015). "Joseph R. Biden III, Vice President's Son, Dies at 46". The New York Times.
  23. ^ a b Barish, Cris (August 21, 2013). "Beau Biden awaits cancer results". The News Journal. Wilmington, Del.
  24. ^ Bernstein, Lenny (May 31, 2015). "Brain cancers like Beau Biden's kill about 15,000 adults each year". The Washington Post.
  25. ^ "Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, dies of brain cancer". Fox News. May 31, 2015. Archived from the original on July 12, 2015. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  26. ^ "Funeral Service for Beau Biden". C-SPAN. June 6, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2020.
  27. ^ a b c d e f Entous, Adam (July 1, 2019). "Will Hunter Biden Jeopardize His Father's Campaign?". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on July 10, 2019. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  28. ^ Yglesias, Matthew (October 1, 2019). "Hunter Biden, the black sheep who might accidentally bring down Trump, explained". Vox. Archived from the original on October 23, 2019. Retrieved October 24, 2019. There's no reason to think that Biden backed MBNA's position because his son worked there—senators normally line up with their home state's major employers' policy priorities—it's more like Hunter got the job due to his dad's overall cozy relationship with the company.
  29. ^ Risen, James (December 8, 2015). "Joe Biden, His Son and the Case Against a Ukrainian Oligarch". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 5, 2019. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  30. ^ M. Kristen Hefner. "Advocating for Justice and Equality: An Interview with Ashley Biden" (PDF). University of Delaware.
  31. ^ student, M. S. Journalism; native, Delaware. "Ashley Biden's 'Livelihood' Combines Style and Social Impact". Arc Publishing. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  32. ^ Superville, Darlene (May 30, 2015). "Biden announces death of son, Beau, of brain cancer". Associated Press. Archived from the original on June 1, 2015.
  33. ^ Sharp, Meredith Newman, Sarika Jagtiani and Andrew. "Hunter Biden: Who is former Vice President Joe Biden's son mentioned in Ukraine-Trump call?". USA TODAY. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  34. ^ Bowden, Bill. "Judge in Arkansas paternity case says Hunter Biden must provide financial files". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  35. ^ David, Keren. "Joe Biden's very Jewish family".
  36. ^ Sophie Vershbow. "Another Great Thing About Biden's Win: There's Going to Be a Dog in the White House Again!". Vogue. Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  37. ^ Morales, Christina (November 8, 2020). "Biden to Restore a White House Tradition of Presidential Pets". The New York Times. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  38. ^ MacKeldon, Amy (January 19, 2021). "Joe Biden's Dogs Major and Champ Will Be the First Presidential Pups in the White House in Four Years". Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
  39. ^ Chase, Randall (January 9, 2010). "Vice President Biden's mother, Jean, dies at 92". WITN-TV. Associated Press.
  40. ^ "Joseph Biden Sr., 86, father of the senator". The Baltimore Sun. September 3, 2002. Archived from the original on December 30, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  41. ^ Chase, Randall (January 12, 2010). "Biden eulogizes mother, calls her courageous". Associated Press. Retrieved January 12, 2010.
  42. ^ Russell, Katie (November 11, 2020). "Joe Biden's family tree: how tragedy shaped the US president-elect". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  43. ^ Biden, Joe (2008). Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics. Random House. pp. 16–17. ISBN 978-0812976212.
  44. ^ Witcover, Jules (2019). Joe Biden: A Life of Trial and Redemption. William Morrow. pp. 7–8. ISBN 978-0062982643.
  45. ^ a b c Broder, John M. (October 23, 2008). "Father's Tough Life an Inspiration for Biden". The New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
  46. ^ a b Rubinkam, Michael (August 27, 2008). "Biden's Scranton childhood left lasting impression". Fox News. Associated Press. Retrieved September 7, 2008.
  47. ^ Almanac of American Politics 2008, p. 364.
  48. ^ "The Ancestry of Joseph Biden". Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  49. ^ Witcover, Jules (2010). Joe Biden: A Life of Trial and Redemption. New York City: William Morrow. p. 6. ISBN 9780061791987.
  50. ^ Smolenyak, Megan (April–May 2013). "Joey From Scranton – Vice President Biden's Irish Roots". Irish America. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  51. ^ Marshall, Olivia (November 3, 2020). "US presidential candidate Joe Biden has roots in Sussex". The Argus. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  52. ^ a b c "Joe Biden will be the first US president to have Sussex ancestry". Chichester Observer. November 13, 2020. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  53. ^ a b Makey, Julian (November 9, 2020). "Here's the historical evidence of a possible link between Joe Biden and the tiny English village of Houghton". The Hunts Post. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  54. ^ a b Anthony, Jerome (November 10, 2020). "Who are the Bidens in India and are they related to US President-elect Joe Biden?". CNBC TV 18. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  55. ^ a b c Dasgupta, Reshmi R. (November 9, 2020). "Joe Biden: time for that Indian connection". The Economic Times. Retrieved November 11, 2020.
  56. ^ Smolenyak, Megan (July 2, 2012). "Joe Biden's Irish Roots". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  57. ^ "Number two Biden has a history over Irish debate". The Belfast Telegraph. November 9, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2008.
  58. ^ "Vice President Joe Biden's Irish family history". Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  59. ^ Gehman, Geoff (May 3, 2012). "Vice President Joe Biden Discusses American Innovation". Lafayette College. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  60. ^ Krawczeniuk, Borys (August 24, 2008). "Remembering his roots". The Times-Tribune. Archived from the original on April 6, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2009.
  61. ^ "US vice president to visit Mayo in June". The Connaught Telegraph. May 11, 2016. Archived from the original on May 12, 2016. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  62. ^ Burns, Sarah. "What are Joe Biden's Irish roots?". The Irish Times. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  63. ^ "How Vice President Joe Biden Traced His Irish Ancestry". Ancestor Network. June 21, 2016. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  64. ^ "Vice President Biden Answers Your Family History Questions". Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  65. ^ "Vice President Biden Answers Your Family History Questions".
  66. ^ Ryan, Jim. "How Vice President Joe Biden Traced His Irish Ancestry". Retrieved April 26, 2020.
  67. ^ a b Portrait and Biographical Record of Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. New York and Chicago: Chapman Publishing Company. 1897. p. 644. Retrieved April 26, 2020.
  68. ^ a b O'Neill, Neill. "US Vice President in Mayo this week". The Mayo News. Retrieved April 26, 2020.
  69. ^ "Biden's Ties to The Blewitts of County Mayo".

Further reading[edit]