Famous Families in History

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Originating from the Latin root familia, meaning affiliation, a traditional family is comprised of a husband, wife and children. A family is the basic unit of a society. When it comes to knowing about families in their historical perspectives, there is a special branch of study known as genealogy, which traces family lineages through out their histories. Lineages of famous families are well recorded in history, and provide an opportunity to look into the past with a fair degree of clarity.  It is not only Royalty, or noble and elite families that became famous in history ,but there have been families through out history, that earned fame by virtue of excellence in  sports, earned wealth and net worth, intelligence and numerous other parameters.

1. The Curie Family

The Curie Family
The Curie Family

The Curie family was one of the most educated and famous families in history, consisting of many distinguished scientists. Marie Curie, born in 1867, was a Polish chemist and physicist and she is the only person in history to have won two Nobel prizes in two different disciplines. Marie Curie was the first female professor at the University of Paris now know as  ‘Paris Six’ or ‘Marie Curie University’. She is best known for her work on radiation and she actually died of exposure to radiation in 1934. Marie’s husband, Pierre Curie was an accomplished French physicist, and he too won the Nobel Prize.  Irene Curie, was the daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie, and she was also a Nobel Laureate in Physics. She won the Nobel Prize for discovering that an element could be produced in a laboratory. Irene’s Husband, Frederic Joliot-Curie was also a French physicist and a Nobel Prize winner. Pierre Curie’s brother was also a well known physicist. The second daughter of Marie Curie and Pierre Curie, Eve Curie was a famous French American Journalist and writer. She was a war correspondent and worked for UNICEF.

2. The Este, Vicars of Ferrara 

The coat of arms of the House of Este
The coat of arms of the House of Este

The Este family originated from the Roman Atti family, who migrated from Rome to Este to defend Italy against theGoths. The earliest known member of this family was Margrave Adalbert of Mainz, known for his son Oberto I, Count Palatine of Italy.  Oberto’s grandson Albert Azzo II, Margrave of Milan built a castle in Este. Albert Azzo II had three sons and two of them led two branches of the family known as ‘The House of Welf’ and ‘The House of Este’. The House of Welf produced the dukes of Bavaria, the dukes of Saxony, the dukes of Brunswick and Luneburg, and even a German King. Under Nicolo d’Este III, Ferrara was a cultural center and Nicolo received many Popes. Pope Eugene IV held a council of historic importance in Ferrara known as, The Council of Florence.

3. The Rothschild Family

Great coat of arms of Rothschild family
Great coat of arms of Rothschild family

The Rothschild Family originated in the late 18th century in Frankfurt, Germany. They were a famous banking family who were believed to possess the largest  private fortune in the world in 1800s and is still widely recognized as such today even though the Rothchild family is now much smaller compared to its stature during the 1800 to 1900s.  The Rothchild family owns businesses in various fields including: banking, mining, energy, farming and winery and is also well known for its charitable generosity.  The family won international fame under the Jewish Mayor, Amschel Rothschild, who was born in 1744 and died in 1812. He kept the fortune within the family through arranged marriages. In 1811 he extended a loan of £5M to the Prussian government,  and in 1825 he supplied enough cash to the Bank of England to save it from a market liquidity crisis.

4. The Coppola Family

The Coppola Family
Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola was born to Carmine and Italia Coppola on April 7, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.  He was born of Italian Immigrant ancestry as his paternal grandparents had immigrated to USA from Bernalda,  Basilicata. Francis Coppola directed great movies such as, The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. His daughter Sophia is known for producing, The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation. The Coppola family is sometimes referred to as cinema royalty on account of the family contribution to the movie industry. Exactly how talented the Coppola family is, is event through its cinematic lineage of achievement..  Coppola’s lineal descendants have together, have been nominated for a total of 23 Academy Awards, and won nine of them including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Original Score.

5. The Kennedy Family

The Kennedy Family
The Kennedy Family

The Kennedy family belongs to the descendants of Irish Americans, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., and Elizabeth Fitzgerald.  It is one of the most influential families in America, sometimes referred to as the Royal Family of America, and known for their contribution to politics as Democrats. . Most of the family members are Harvard educated and have contributed notably in the University’s John F.Kennedy School of Government. The family is also famous for its wealth and its more ‘photogenic’ members. John F.Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States of America and served in the White House until his assassination in 1963. His younger brothers, Robert Kennedy and Edward Kennedy were also U.S. Senators. Alas, dispute all their good fortune and fame, The Kennedy family has been plagued by fatal accidents, illness,  and misfortune throughout their entire reign.

6. The Bhutto family

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

The Bhutto family have played a very dominant role in the Pakistani politics.  Zulfikar Ali Bhutto served as the fourth President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1977 and as the 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977. His Daughter, Benazir Bhutto served as the eleventh  Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms,  from November 1988 until October 1990, and from 1993 until November 1996. Her Husband, Asif Ali Zardari is the current President of Pakistan and their son Bilawal Bhutto is currently running against  the Prime Minister of Pakistan in the coming elections to be held on May 11, 2013.

7. Nehru-Gandhi family

Mohandas K. Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi

The Nehru-Gandhi family is an Indian political family who has dominated Indian politics since its independance but this family has no ancestral relationship with the founder of India,  Mahatma Gandhi. Three family members, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi,  and her son Rajiv Gandhi, have been Prime Ministers of India.  Rajiv’s wife, Sonia Gandi is currently the Head of Congress. Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi’s son, Rahul Gandhi is the youngest family member of the family and is likely to continue the family tradition.

8. Genghis Khan Family

Genghis Khan Family
Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan headed the Khan Family. He was known as the ‘Great Khan’, or ‘The Emperor of Mongolia’, where the people still regard him as the founding father of their nation. His name is synonymous to tyranny in history because of the large scale massacres he committed against the civilian populations during his invasions and the invasions expanded enormously beyond the boundaries of his regime.He unified the nomadic tribes of northern Asia and invaded Kara Khitan, Khanate, Caucasus, the Khawarezmid Empire, Western Xia and the Jin Dynasties until he nominated Ogedwei Khan as his successor.

9. Chauvelin Family

Germain Louis Chauvelin
Germain Louis Chauvelin, grand-father of Bernard Francois, Marquis de Chauvelin

The Chauvelin Family was a famous and influential French family. The earliest known member of the family was Toussaint Chauvelin, who was a public prosecutor. His eldest son François Chauvelin was an Attorney General. The great grandson of Toussaint, Bernard Chauvelin, was born in 1662 and died in 1755.  He was a counselor to the Parliament.  Bernard’s son was the abbot of Monieramey and counselor to the Parliament. Bernard Francois, Marquis de Chauvelin, followed his father’s footsteps and became the attendant to Louis XVI.


10.The Hatoyama Family

Yukio Hatoyama
Yukio Hatoyama

The Hatoyama Family is a famous Japanese political family and is sometimes referred to as Japan’s ‘Kennedy Family’. The family history is traceable to Kazuo Hatoyama, who was the Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1896 to 1897. His great grandson, Yukio Hatoyama was the Prime Minister of Japan from 2009 to 2010. Yukio’s grandfather was elected as Prime Minister of Japan, three times. His father,  Ichiro Hatoyama was the former foreign Minister of Japan and he served as Prime Minister from 1954 to 1956. In 2012 Hatoyama retired from politics.


The Genome, or the human genetic map, is one of the greatest all-time discoveries. Never before, has the role of genes been so well documented and clearly defined as it is today. Genes can be  transferred from one generation to the next and carry their inherent ancestral traits with them. This phenomenon seems to allow families to just keep on producing ‘living legends’. But on the flip side of that coin, this phenomenon also ensures that the poor souls at the bottom of the ‘gene pool’, never see a family member make it out of third grade or across the poverty line!

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