Charles Darwin – the genealogy of geniuses

In brilliant families, brilliant children and this is proved by the family tree of Charles Darwin’s family.

From his first marriage with Mary Howard, Erasmus Darwin had four sons and a daughter, of whom only three sons survived to adulthood. The eldest son Charles Darwin, the namesake of his great nephew, died on the 20th year of his life, and only after his death his work on pus and mucus was published; but since this work was edited by his father Erasmus Darwin, it is difficult to judge Charles’s abilities from it. The second son of Dr. Erasmus Darwin, who bore his name – Erasmus Darwin Jr., was interested in statistics, but did not leave any works. The third son, like his father, the famous physician Robert Waring Darwin, was the father of the great Charles. He did not leave the world the products of his personal creativity, but his son expresses a very high opinion of his personal qualities.

From the second marriage of Erasmus Darwin with Elizabeth Collier, widow of Sacverel Paul, seven children were born, most of whom did not show individual creative abilities and, apparently, did not give the world significant offspring. Two of them stand out: Violetta Darwin, the mother of Francis Galton, and Sir Francis Sackverel Darwin, a doctor, naturalist, archaeologist, writer and an outstanding passionate traveler – an undoubted creative force of the first rank. He wandered along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, was in Africa and Asia, fearlessly fought the plague epidemic in Smyrna, and upon returning to his homeland he turned his estate into a zoological park inhabited by wild animals.

Passing to the second generation of the offspring of Erasmus Darwin, we focus on only two branches. Six children were born from Robert Waring Darwin’s marriage to Susanna Wedgwood – the fifth was the great Charles; the other five, four sisters and one son, cannot be ranked among the creators among mankind and have not yet produced remarkable offspring. From the marriage of Violetta Darwin with Samuel Terzius Galton, nine children were born, of which only three were sons. Nothing definite can be said about the creative abilities of the eight elders, but the ninth was Francis Galton.

The third generation of the offspring of Erasmus Darwin seems to be of interest only in the family of Charles Darwin. From his marriage to cousin Emma Wedgwood, ten children were born, of whom three sons should be considered outstanding: Sir George D. – the famous astronomer: J. Francis D. – a nerd who worked with his father, and after his death released five volumes of him correspondence; and Leonard D., the eugenicist, the permanent chairman of the English Eugenic Society, who recently published a large book on the current state of Darwinism.

Finally, in the fourth generation, we also see in the family of George D. an outstanding young mathematician-physicist.

Examining the Darwin clan, one can see in this family an extraordinary abundance of outstanding personalities, at least seven “creators” of high-ranking life, and between them two, to which the qualification of world geniuses can be attached.
The latter conclusion is justified when we turn to the study of the origin of the five hereditary streams that merged in the first two generations: Erasmus Darwin, Mary Howard, Elizabeth Collier, Susanna Wedgwood and Samuel Galton.

I. The genus Darwin could only be traced up until the middle of the 16th century, when they were listed according to church records as small landowners (yeoman class). Thus. Darwin came out of the peasantry. Perhaps the marriage of William Darwin (1620–1675) and Anna Irle, whose father, a local public figure, has among his descendants the prominent English novelist Bulver-Lytton, served as the impetus for the rise of the clan. It is possible that the mother of Erasmus D., Elizabeth Gill, brought valuable blood to the family: it seems that she was an educated woman, she spoke in Latin that for that time she could testify to hereditary inclinations. Of her sons, not only Erasmus, but also senior Robert Waring D. were already outstanding people. The latter published a serious biological work entitled: “Principia botanica or Introduction to the sexual Botany of Linnaeus”, which has survived several editions.

II. Mary Howard, the first wife of Erasmus D., also brought valuable hereditary inclinations to the family. Her grandmother was Penelope Foley, who belonged to a family of large iron industrialists who had come forward thanks to their personal energy and created a great fortune. Thomas Foley (1617–1677) established a hospital in which his portrait still hangs. Penelope Foley’s grandmother was the daughter of Lord Paget, and through her Pearson managed to spread the tree of Charles Darwin’s ancestors far back into the Middle Ages, for more than fifty generations. At the top of this tree we see Charlemagne and all the Carolings. Among the ancestors of C. Darwin is the wife of Henry I of France Anna Yaroslavovna, which means that it can be said that, perhaps, a particle of Russian origin stayed in C. Darwin.

The extensive family tree of C. Darwin (through Penelope Foley) among many hundreds of names includes all the major dynasties of the Middle Ages – all French kings, starting with Pepin, Norman dukes, Anglo-Saxon kings, the Saxon house, etc. Here both Friedrich Barbarossa and Wilhelm Conqueror, etc.

C. Darwin’s mother, Susanna Wedgwood, was the daughter of Jossiah Wedgwood, a major pottery manufacturer. With his inventions, Jossia Wedgwood created a large branch of English industry, which ranks first in the world. In science, he is famous for inventing the pyrometer (1782), during his life he made a big fortune and founded the whole city of Etruria around his factory.

Charles Darwin himself was married to his cousin, the mother of Emma Wedgwood, and, perhaps, this secondary influx of valuable blood with the same genes is due to the emergence of a number of outstanding talents in his family, which is not always the case in the families of genius people.
On January 29, 1839, Charles Darwin married his cousin, Emma Wedgwood. The wedding ceremony was held in the tradition of the Church of England and in accordance with the Unitarian traditions. First, the couple lived on Gower Street in London, then on September 17, 1842, moved to Down (Kent). Darwin had ten children, three of whom died at an early age. Many of the children and grandchildren themselves have achieved significant success.

Some of the children were painful or weak, and Charles Darwin was afraid that the reason for this was their kinship with Emma, ​​which was reflected in his work on the soreness of descendants from closely related crosses and the benefits of distant crosses.

In 2005, the descendants of Charles Darwin as part of an expedition reported by BBC News, the namesake of the scientist’s grandfather Erasmus Darwin – he is a cousin of Charles Darwin, Randal Keynes – his great-great-grandson, Sarah Darwin – his great-great-granddaughter, Chris Darwin – another great-great-great-grandson, Allegra Darwin – great-great Leo Darwin Vogel – great-great-great-grandson, joined the group of scientists of the Museum of the History of Natural History (Natural History Museum) and representatives of the environmental organization English Heritage. And together, they step by step repeated the June campaign of Charles Darwin, which he undertook in 1855 to study and describe the flora around the Down House estate, which was later noted in the famous book on the origin of species and strengthened his evolutionary views.

  • William Erasmus Darwin (December 27, 1839 – September 8, 1914).
  • Annie Elizabeth Darwin (March 2, 1841 – April 23, 1851).
  • Mary Eleanor Darwin (September 23, 1842 – October 16, 1842).
  • Henrietta Emma “Etty” Darwin (September 25, 1843 – December 17, 1929).
  • George Howard Darwin (July 9, 1845 – December 7, 1912).
  • Elizabeth “Bessy” Darwin (July 8, 1847–1926).
  • Francis Darwin (August 16, 1848 – September 19, 1925).
  • Leonard Darwin (January 15, 1850 – March 26, 1943).
  • Horace Darwin (May 13, 1851 – September 29, 1928).
  • Charles Waring Darwin (December 6, 1856 – June 28, 1858).


Good luck in finding.