You Think You Are Related to President William McKinley

The McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in Canton, Ohio gets many requests for genealogical information on the McKinley family. We have information and have been working to organize the genealogy into an easy-to-use format. As you know, genealogy is open-ended and never complete. This paper has been created to help you look for links to your family.

First of all, President and Mrs. McKinley have no direct descendants.
Both of their daughters died as small children.

William McKinley was part of a family of nine siblings. They were the children of William Sr. and Nancy Allison McKinley. The following information relates to his brothers and sisters-it is not in birth order.

Abigail-died as an infant-no descendants

Anna and Helen-never married-no descendants

Mary married, but had no children-no descendants

President William married but his children died young-no descendants

Abner married and had a daughter; we do not have any information which says she had children.

This leaves three siblings who married and had children who had descendants.

1. David Allison McKinley (1829-1892) married Nancy Minerva Scott. There was one daughter: Ida Helen McKinley (b. Abt 1871-d.?) Ida married twice-Morse and Cooper. Her only child Marjorie Morse married Heidt, Paulsen and Gauze. They had two daughters. We know of descendants with the additional surnames Armistead, Gray, Pendleton, Skinner, Brown, Chambers, Whitmire, Woodside, and Parker. This family had ties to CA, TN, TX, NY, GA, KY, PA. They also had a strong military connection.
2. James McKinley (1833-Abt 1890) married Eliza Howe Fuller. They had three daughters and one son. Two of the daughters died as children leaving no descendants. Grace McKinley (1879-1947) married Grayson Heidt. She had one daughter, Helen Heidt. We have little information on the family of Helen Heidt, except the possible surname Magee. This family had ties to CA, and TX. James Fuller McKinley (1880-1941) married Margaret Disoway. They had two sons and one daughter. Surnames connected to this family are McKinley, Oakes, Keith, Cox, McCarty, Elverston, Griffin, Bates, Temple, Cooke.This branch of the family is the only one who carries the McKinley surname from William McKinley, Sr. This branch of the family had military ties, a number of children were born at military bases. The family had ties to CA, TX, Washington DC, VA, and NY.
3. Sarah McKinley (1840-1931) married Andrew Jackson Duncan. They had two daughters and two sons. We have no known descendants for one son, Andrew Jackson Duncan. Mary Duncan, daughter, had one daughter who did not marry-no descendants. William McKinley Duncan, son, had three sons. Known names for descendants of this family were Duncan, Peterson. This family lived in the Cleveland, OH area. Sarah Duncan, daughter, married George Herbert Winslow. She had one daughter, Nancy Winslow, who married ? Howard and had two sons and one daughter. Descendants of this family were Howard and Jeske. This family lived in CA.

Parents and Siblings of William McKinley, Sr. the President’s Father
James Stevenson McKinley (1783-1847) and Mary Rose (1788-1847) were the parents of William McKinley, Sr. They had 14 children. They and their children lived in PA, OH, and IN. (Because this is such a large family, many people feel their relationship to the President lies here. While it may not always be true, this family basically lived in the three states mentioned at least when the children were living and raising their families. As a rule, you should be able to trace an ancestor with a residence in one of these states between 1783-1900 if you are related to this family.) The children are not listed in birth order.

The library has no information that children David, Andrew and Sarah McKinley lived to reach adulthood and had descendants. The family of William McKinley, Sr. has been detailed previously.
1. Elizabeth McKinley (1806-1882) married David Campbell and had seven children. This family lived in Trumbull Co., OH. Surnames are Campbell, Aldrich, Rusler.
2. Celia McKinley (1812-????) married Samuel Burwell and had one daughter. Surnames for this family are Miller, Rose, Hyatt, Koppe, Johnston, Welch, Willner, and Darden. This family lived in Cuyahoga and Stark Counties, OH
3. James McKinley (1814-????) married Ann Lynn. They had probably two sons and two daughters. We have no surnames for this family. They were married in Columbiana Co., OH.
4. Mary McKinley (1814-????) married James Kerr. We have no information on this family.
5. John McKinley (1818-1896) married Eliza Jane Boyle. They had 12 children-8 sons and 4 daughters. There would be a number of descendants with the McKinley surname from this family. Other surnames are Myers, Anderson, Kitzmiller, Broadwater, Snider, Root, Fisher, Tharp, and Shauer. The family lived in OH, IN, MI, and PA.
6. Ephraim McKinley (1821-Abt 1904) married Hannah McCreary. They had seven children-all sons. Surnames of some descendants are McKinley, Erb, Herndon, and Vogt. This family lives in OH, IL, IN, WI, NM, and MO.
7. Hannah McKinley (1825-????) married James Tilford and had a least two children. Their descendants are not known to us at this time. This family lived in OH.
8. Martha McKinley (1827-????) married Steven Waller. They had five children. Their descendants are not known to us at this time. This family lived in OH, MI, and WA.
9. Ellen McKinley (1830-????) married James Winters. We have no information on children or descendants for this family. Their residence is not known.
10. Benjamin F. McKinley (1832-????) married, but we do not know the name of his spouse. He also had children. This family lived in CA.

Parents and Siblings of Nancy Allison, the President’s Mother
Abner (1769-1827) and Ann Campbell Allison (1774-1847) were Nancy Allison McKinley’s parents. They lived in Columbiana County, OH. They had eight children-four sons and four daughters. The following is information on the descendants of this family which is part of our genealogical collection. Nancy McKinley’s family is previously included and omitted here.
1. Minerva Allison (dates not known) married John Moore. Her children and residence are not known.
2. Sarah Allison (dates not known) married possibly Jacob Reep. They may have had three sons and probably lived in OH.
3. Ann Allison (1808-????) married Jonathan Tressler. They had nine children. This family lived in OH and MO.
4. Obadiah Allison (1811-1883) married first Jemina Best. They had three children. He married second Lydia Wheeler, and had nine children. This family resided in Morrow Co., OH. Some surnames for this family are Allison, Baxter and Forest.
5. Amos Allison (1813-1862) married Hannah Van Hooten. They had four children and resided in OH. Some surnames for this family are Allison, Satterfield, and Harris.
6. John Allison (1814-1842) married Mary Carlton. They had at least one son. We have no information on where they resided.
7. Abigail Allison (1818-1904) married Abner Osborne. They resided in OH and had four sons. Surnames for this family are Osborne, Stambaugh, Todd, Gordon and Chaffee.

Some notes on the McKinley Family ancestors
James Stevenson’s parents were David and Sarah Gray McKinley. Surnames for this family are McKinley, Rose, Fulks, Anderson, Ronzel, and Madison.
David McKinley’s parents were John and Margaret Morton McKinley. Some surnames for this family are McKinley, Herron and Barnet.
It is our hope that this will aid you in your research, but should not be considered the final word on the McKinley Genealogy. We gathered our material from what was on file in our library and are in the process of sifting through it again. Undoubtedly there will be additions and corrections, as that is the way genealogy works.
We have kept information which people have sent us on the McKinley family even if we couldn’t connect it to the President’s family. Possibly we might have something which belongs to your family on file.

Many people have been told that they are related to President McKinley because they have the same last name. It is probably the most common thing we hear. In most cases, if there is any relationship it is quite distant. If you are one of the few whose relationship is reasonably close-your family has probably had a period of time when they lived in the Ohio-Pennsylvania area. If you cannot put your family in that area at any time, you are probably not related.
We try to answer our genealogy queries as time permits. Due to limited staff and time you will need to furnish as much information as possible about the individuals you are looking for. We would appreciate full names, dates, and place of residence to begin our search. If you cannot provide this information, it would be best for you to visit us personally.

Thank you for your interest in the McKinley Family.

October, 2005

If you have any questions or comments regarding this article please contact Our Museum Archivist at 330-455-7043 or email us at:

8 thoughts on “You Think You Are Related to President William McKinley

  1. Thank you so much for saving me tons of time and research regarding the President Wm. McKinley family. My great-grandfather was a James McKinley, but I doubt much of a close relation (if at all) to the President. Thank you again; I have enjoyed reading the information!

  2. I am 9th cousins 5 times removed with President McKinley. We share a common ancestor – Earl James Hamilton of Arran, Born 1515 Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland. (Through his mother Nancy Allison). I will be visiting the Library and Museum next week.

  3. In the 1950’s my maternal grandmother, a McKinley by birth, told us that the president was a relative. The subject was never mentioned again and it only came to mind with the recent publicity over the re-naming of Mt McKinley. I had a look online and was surprised to find that the president’s forebears were indeed from Co Antrim, which is where my grandmother’s family was from. They lived on the east coast just south of Ballycastle and were Catholic, so I can only assume that one of her forebears jumped the religious fence at some point, McKinlay having clearly started out in Ireland as a Scots protestant name. If you have any further information about the president’s Irish genealogy I’d be delighted to hear from you to see if I can match it up with anything at this end.

  4. Our family is centered in southern Ashland County, OH. My Great Grandfather was Edson Pearl McKinley. Are we related to President William

  5. My Grandfather is John H. McKinley, showed me the family bible when I was young stating that I was 6th generation cousin to the President. I have no other information since my grandfather died when I was in my late teens and his wife disposed of the family bible. I would love to know if I have any relatives still around, would just be fun to know.

  6. Hi!
    I would like to find the obituary of Esther McKinley Quillens Fulks. I don’t know if it is an obituary or just a name saying she died. I joined the DAR through my lineage of Esther (as above). Is there an obituary of David her father or Sarah her mother. Thanks for any reply you send me.

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