Ellen G. White's Siblings, Family, and Genealogy

How many children did Ellen White have?

Four boys were born into the White family. Henry Nichols (1847-1863) was their firstborn. He died of pneumonia at the age of 16. James Edson (1849-1928) became a Seventh-day Adventist minister and is most remembered for his pioneering evangelistic and educational work among African Americans in the Southern United States. William Clarence (1854-1937) also became a Seventh-day Adventist minister. After James's death in 1881, William became his mother's chief editorial assistant and publishing manager. John Herbert (1860) died at the age of three months from erysipelas.

Was Ellen White the only Seventh-day Adventist in her family? What about her brothers and sisters?

Of the eight Harmon children, two became active Seventh-day Adventists: Ellen and her older sister Sarah, whose son was hymn-writer F. E. Belden. Both of Ellen White's parents died Sabbathkeepers and believers in the Advent message, as did her brother Robert, who died a little more than 10 years before the church officially organized in 1863. Mary, six years older than Ellen, considered herself a Seventh-day Adventist, although there is no record of her formally joining the church.

Ellen White maintained close relationships with her remaining three sisters and older brother, John, corresponding and visiting with them, and sending them copies of her books and subscriptions to Adventist journals. At one time she wrote of her sisters, "Although we were not practically agreed on all points of religious duty, yet our hearts were one" (Review and Herald, Apr. 21, 1868).

What is Known Regarding Ellen White's Genealogy?

Documented evidence supports the conclusion that Ellen White's ancestry is of Anglo-Saxon origin. In 1920 Ellen White's lineage on her father's side was set forth in the publication of The Harmon Genealogy, by Artemas C. Harmon. Many years later, in the early 1980s, the White Estate contracted with a professional genealogist to specifically trace Ellen White's lineage on her mother's side-Eunice Gould Harmon. The results were printed in 1983 in the form of an ancestral chart reaching back five generations to John Gold, son of Jarvis Gold and Mary Gold, who came to Massachusetts from Kent County, England, in 1635.

More recently, the White Estate contracted with another professional genealogist to study in even more detail Ellen White's direct maternal Gould line. The results of this second study were published in a genealogist's report, completed in 2002. It harmonized with the conclusions of the previous professional genealogist twenty years earlier, namely, that Ellen White's Gould ancestors came directly from England to New England in 1635.

Thus, the White Estate's position that Ellen White's ancestry was of Anglo-Saxon origin is based upon two professional genealogical studies, plus Artemas C. Harmon's genealogical book.


TODO: Link to http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/genealogy.html