The Whitaker family tree: How are they related to each other?

The Whitaker family tree: How are they related to each other?

The Whitakers, also called Whittakers, are members of an inbred family from West Virginia. Considered America's most inbred family, they communicate in grunts while living in a squalor overrun by animals. Moreover, they often run away when people try to speak to them. Here is what we know about the Whitaker family tree, its unique inbred lineage, and the strong bonds between their family members.

whitaker family
Due to inbreeding, most of the family members have physical and mental abnormalities. Photo: @Soft White Underbelly (modified by author)
Source: UGC


The Whitaker family's history dates back several generations and is characterised by geographical isolation and limited interaction with the outside world. This has resulted in increased intermarriages within the family, leading to consequences associated with inbreeding. So, how are the Whitakers all related?

The Whitaker family tree

Whitaker's inbred family tree began with the marriage of William and Abigail Whitaker in 1819, and they had three children: George, Rachel, and Joseph. William and Abigail are considered the Whitaker family's parents and the family's first generation.

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  • George married his cousin Elizabeth in 1840, and they had seven children, namely Thomas, Sarah, John, Mary, Rebecca, William Jr., and Joseph Jr.
  • Thomas married Sarah in 1871, and they had two children, Charles and Annabelle.
  • Charles married his cousin Martha in 1895, and they gave birth to four children: Henry, Emily, Robert, and Clara.
  • Clara married her first cousin Roy Whitaker in 1925, and they had a son named Paul, who was born in 1927.
  • Paul married Elsie, his first cousin, in 1953, and they had six children: Susan, David, Martha, Mary Anne, Richard, and Stephen.

Although some Whitaker family members have branched and married outside their unit, the family remains significant, and most of the original branches remain intact.

whitaker family tree
Considered America's most inbred family, they communicate in grunts. Photo: @Soft White Underbelly (modified by author)
Source: UGC

How did the Whitaker family become famous?

The Whittakers made it to the spotlight after photographer Mark Laita snapped them for his book Created Equal in 2004. The Whitaker family lives in West Virginia, in the village of Odd, 75 miles south of Charleston. The photographer revisited them and compiled a 12-minute video titled Inbred Family-The Whittakers.

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The video, with over 40 million views on YouTube, highlighted the family's way of living and how they struggled to make ends meet in their house in the Appalachian region. It also formed the basis for Laita's GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to support the family.

Who are the Whittaker family members today?

They are British by descent and initially included John Whitaker, Gracie, Ray, Timmy, Betty, Kenneth, Lorraine, Freddie, and an unnamed sister. Sadly, Freddie succumbed to a heart attack. It is also believed the family has more members who have not been addressed.

Whitaker family's parents
William and Abigail are considered the Whitaker family's parents and the family's first generation. Photo: @Soft White Underbelly (modified by author)
Source: UGC

What disabilities does the Whitaker family have?

Due to inbreeding, most of the family members have physical and mental abnormalities. They also have difficulties speaking, and a few communicate through grunts. They are also known for walking around with their eyes facing different directions.

The Whitaker has faced threats and challenges from outsiders who ridicule and may not understand or accept their unique background. However, their neighbours protect the family and do not encourage people to taunt or photograph them.

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GoFundMe campaign

A lot has happened since Laita documented the Whitakers. Besides the assistance he accorded them every time he visited, he also established a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to assist the family.

The money raised went towards renovating the family house and their basic needs. They also used part of the money towards medical expenses for some of the family members. The campaign continues, and Laita is dedicated to transforming their lives and making their living conditions more habitable.

Although the Whitakers are considered the most inbreeding family, they are not the only ones. There are other such cases, only that they have not been documented.

According to Laita's latest documentary, The Whittakers-Spring 2022, he reveals their newly-renovated home. The campaign has enabled the family to own a bed, a refrigerator, a car, and other home amenities.

whitaker inbred family tree
Whittakers are members of the inbred family from West Virginia. Photo: @Soft White Underbelly (modified by author)
Source: UGC

What nationality is the last name Whitaker?

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Whitaker is a masculine name of Old English origin. It is an occupational surname derived from the Middle English word "whit," meaning "white, or wheat", and the Old English word "acor," meaning "acre" or "field." The name likely originally referred to someone who lived or worked in a wheat field or a place with light-coloured soil.

Above is an extraordinary exploration of the Whitaker family tree, whose roots run deep and hold an enduring strength of kinship. They gained viral attention on the internet due to their unique story and the documentary made about them by filmmaker Mark Laita. He shed light on their plight in a compelling and informative manner.

READ ALSO: Top 20 interesting facts about the Aztecs: empire, culture, civilisation recently published an article about the Aztecs, a Mesoamerican civilisation that existed in Mexico from the 14th to the 16th century. They are also known as the Mexica. The Aztec culture reached its height between the 14th and 15th centuries, particularly during the reign of the emperor Moctezuma II.

The capital of the Aztec Empire was the city of Tenochtitlan, located on an island in Lake Texcoco, where modern-day Mexico City is situated. The society was structured hierarchically, with an emperor at the top, followed by nobles, priests, and commoners. Religion played a significant role in Aztec life, and they practised polytheistic worship with a focus on gods such as Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun and war.

Source: Briefly News

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