Concerning Hobbits: The Lord of the Rings Family Trees

By Andrew Koch

Sign up for the Family Tree Newsletter Plus, you’ll receive our 10 Essential Genealogy Research Forms PDF as a special thank you!

Get Your Free Genealogy Forms

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
A model of the One Ring on text of The Fellowship of the Ring. Cropped from original, reproduced through Creative Commons 2.0. Uploaded to Flickr by user Rosana Prada

Famous for his world-building, author J.R.R. Tolkien created detailed genealogies for many of the epic’s major characters. Indeed, many versions of The Lord of the Rings include an appendix dedicated just to family trees.

Below are some highlights, simplified to include just major characters in the story.

The Hobbit Family Tree: Frodo, Bilbo, Merry and Pippin

Hobbiton and its neighboring villages are home to several prominent hobbit families, notably the Baggins, Bolgers, Brandybucks and Tooks. Like many real-life groups, hobbits intermarry often, resulting in a family tree that resembles a web.


Tolkien made a special point to highlight hobbits’ interest in genealogy, writing:

All hobbits were, in any case, clannish and reckoned up their relationships with great care. They drew long and elaborate family-trees with innumerable branches. In dealing with hobbits it is important to remember who is related to whom, and in what degree.

Prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring
Family tree showing how Bilbo and Frodo are related to each other and to Pippin and Merry. All descend from one or both patriarchs Gerontius Took and Balbo Baggins
A simplified family tree for the Baggins and Took hobbit families, including Frodo and Bilbo Baggins. Boxes in bold indicate major characters in the novels and films

Frodo and Bilbo

Frodo and Bilbo Baggins are the protagonists of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, respectively. After Frodo’s parents died, Bilbo essentially adopted Frodo and made him his heir.

How are Frodo and Bilbo related? It’s a common misconception that Bilbo is Frodo’s uncle, but the relationship is actually much more complex. Frodo and Bilbo are related on both their maternal and paternal lines, in a case that family historians might recognize as endogamy.


On their paternal line, the two share Balbo Baggins as a common ancestor and are descended from two of Balbo’s sons. Balbo is Bilbo’s great-grandfather, and Frodo’s great-great-grandfather. Thus, the two are second cousins once removed.

But looking beyond the Baggins family tree reveals the two are closer along their maternal lines. They’re both descendants of Gerontius Took, called “The Old Took.” Frodo’s grandmother (Mirabella Took) was Bilbo’s aunt; thus, Frodo and Bilbo are first cousins once removed on their mothers’ side.

Merry and Pippin

Family ties between hobbits don’t stop there. Frodo is also related to Merry (Meriadoc Brandybuck) and Pippin (Peregrin Took), two of his companions in the Fellowship of the Ring.

Frodo’s mother, Primula Brandybuck, is the sister of Merry’s paternal grandfather. That makes the two hobbits first cousins once removed. Frodo is thus a member of three notable Shire families: the Bagginses, the Tooks and the Brandybucks.

As with Bilbo, Frodo is actually related to Merry in multiple ways. The two and Pippin are all descended from Gerontius Took. Gerontius is Frodo’s great-grandfather and Merry and Pippin’s great-great-grandfather, making the three hobbits second cousins once removed.

Pippin says as much to fellow patrons of the Prancing Pony in The Fellowship of the Ring’s film adaptation: “Baggins? Sure, I know a Baggins! He’s over there. Frodo Baggins! He’s my second cousin once removed on his mother’s side.” (The company was trying to avoid attention at the time, but Pippin’s enthusiasm for genealogy was too strong.)

Merry and Pippin’s relationship to each other is more straightforward: first cousins. Merry’s mother, Esmeralda Took, is the sister of Pippin’s father. They’re also third cousins; their great-grandparents Hildigrim and Mirabella were siblings, children of Gerontius Took.

Bilbo is also related to Merry and Pippin along his Took line, as his mother was Belladonna Took (sister of Hildigrim and Mirabella). They’re first cousins twice removed.

Other Hobbits

Genealogists might find the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring to be especially interesting. It delves into the anthropological history of hobbits—their various clans and rivalries, settlement patterns, and even evolutionary history.

For example, Frodo and Bilbo have a dislike of their cousins the “Sackville-Bagginses,” a branch line to whom Frodo temporarily sells his home of Bag End when he goes on his quest. That branch descends from Bilbo’s paternal uncle and his wife.

Samwise Gamgee isn’t related by blood to any of the above. His daughter Goldilocks, however, marries Pippin’s son Faramir after the events of the main story.

Sméagol (better known as Gollum) was born a hobbit, though it’s unknown if or how he’s related to Frodo and his contemporaries. He killed his cousin for the One Ring.

The Royal Houses of Elves and Men: Aragorn and Isildur, Elrond and Galadriel

Family tree showing how Elrond and Aragorn both descend from an Elven couple
A simplified family tree showing Aragorn, Elrond and their kin. Boxes in bold indicate major characters in either The Lord of the Rings or Rings of Power

Aragorn (known abroad as “Strider” and later as “Aragorn II Elessar”) is the latest in a long-lost line of human kings. Like Frodo, Aragorn was orphaned at a young age and raised by a relative—in this case, the Elf lord Elrond. While in Elrond’s care, he fell in love with Elrond’s daughter, Arwen.

Aragorn has Elvish blood and is dozens of generations descended from Elrond’s brother, Elros. Elrond himself is of mixed human and Elvish heritage, though his full-Elvish ancestors were much more recent to him genealogically than Aragorn’s. Elrond chose to live as an Elf, meaning he is essentially immortal.

Elrond married Celebrian, whose parents are the powerful Elves Galadriel and Celeborn of Lothlórien. Celebrian no longer lives in Middle-earth as of The Lord of the Rings, having gone to the Grey Havens.

Legolas, though also an Elf and a prince, is not related to Aragorn, Galadriel or Elrond. He and his father, known in The Hobbit as “the Elvenking,” are from a separate lineage of Elves.

With Isildur’s line missing and presumed lost, rule of Gondor passed to a branch line. Denethor II rules as steward at the beginning of The Lord of the Rings. He and his sons Boromir (a member of the Fellowship) and Faramir (Captain of the White Tower) play important roles in the trilogy.

Dwarves, There and Back Again

Family tree showing how most major Dwarves in the Lord of the Rings franchise descend from Durin III
A simplified family tree showing some of “Durin’s Folk,” a royal house of Dwarves. Boxes in bold are either Bilbo’s traveling companions in The Hobbit or characters in The Lord of the Rings or Rings of Power. Not pictured are Dori, Nori and Ori, whose relationship to Durin’s line (and Thorin) are not specified

Tolkien’s appendices also include family trees for some notable groups of Dwarves. In The Hobbit, Bilbo travels with a company of 13 Dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield, who claims the throne of the Lonely Mountain. Nine of them are Thorin’s relatives:

  • Nephews Fili and Kili, who are sons of Thorin’s sister
  • Third cousins Balin and Dwalin, who are brothers
  • Third cousins Óin and Glóin, who are brothers (and first cousins to Balin and Dwalin)
  • Distant relatives Dori, Nori and Ori (Dori and Nori are brothers; Ori is their first cousin)

Glóin’s son, Gimli, travels with Frodo as part of the Fellowship of the Ring.

Rings of Power

The Amazon Prime series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power takes place thousands of years before the main events of the original trilogy. Some of the mortal characters in that series (notably Dwarf prince Durin IV and the various Harfoot families) are ancestors of characters in The Lord of the Rings. But documenting those relationships is difficult due to the large generational distance.

Isildur (as one of Elros’ descendants) is of the royal human house of Númenor. He, his father, and their descendants populated the Middle-Earth realms of Gondor and Arnor after Númenor is destroyed. Isildur cut the One Ring from Sauron’s hand, but gave in to its powers rather than destroy it. His story looms large in The Lord of the Rings, in which he’s redeemed by his descendant Aragorn. In Rings of Power, Númenor is ruled by Isildur’s distant relatives.

Galadriel and Elrond are main characters in Rings of Power, as is Galadriel’s brother, Finrod. Their more-distant relatives Celebrimbor (who forged the Rings of Power) and Gil-galad also feature in the series.

Curious for more? Matt Baker from UsefulCharts published a video on the Rings of Power family tree that goes into greater detail than we do here.

Last updated, May 2024.

Related Reads

Starks and Lannisters and Baratheons and Targaryens—who can keep track? Genealogists of course! Here’s a spoiler-free Game of Thrones family tree.
What do we know about the Boy Who Lived’s ancestors? We look at the Harry Potter family tree—and the surprising connections between his friends and enemies.
What is a second cousin? What does removed mean? We’ll explain the steps to calculating cousinhood!