The Ancestry of Henry Fonda

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Henry Jaynes Fonda (1905-82), American Actor

This article should be cited as:
"The Ancestry of Henry Fonda", by Will Johnson, professional genealogist wjhonson@aol.com, at CountyHistorian.com URL: http://www.countyhistorian.com/cecilweb/index.php/The_Ancestry_of_Henry_Fonda, copyright 2008, all rights reserved.

gal_Fonda_Henry_2.jpg A very young Henry Fonda (Credit afi.com)

This article focuses on the ancestry of Henry Fonda. For a highly detailed biography see my article Henry Jaynes Fonda. For a list of his films see Henry Fonda Filmography.

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Contents

William Brace Fonda

<<-- Return to the biography of Henry Fonda

William Brace Fonda was born 12 Feb 1879 in Nebraska to Ten Eyck Fonda and his wife Harriet, who had moved there from their native New York. In 1900 he was enumerated living with his parents in Omaha City, as a Salesman. He married Herberta Jaynes on 10 Jun 1903, probably in or near Omaha where they were both living.

They moved to Grand Island, Nebraska by 1904 where they rented a house and where their eldest son Henry Fonda was born 16 May 1905. William and Herberta had two more children: Harriet in 1907/8 and Jayne in 1909/10, both born in Nebraska. Between 1905 and 1910 the family had moved back to Omaha, where they are enumerated in the Federal Census that year. Many years later, a newspaper article in which Henry talks about his father states "when he was six months old the family moved to Omaha". It's not a direct quote from Henry however, so it's unclear what the source is for this fact.

Some biographers have given the impression that William Fonda moved to Omaha and opened a print shop; however, William's occupation in 1900 was "Salesman", and in 1910 it was "Salesman, Advertising Jobber". In addition, the 1910 enumeration states specifically that he was an employee, not working on his own account. When he registered for the WWI Draft on Sep 1918, William then lists his occupation as self-employed Printer. In 1920 still in Omaha, William Fonda is now a "Proprietor, Commercial Print Shop". However by 1930 William Fonda was a "Salesman" for "Oil Burner Company".

Henry's mother fell, broke her leg and developed a blood clot which killed her in October 1934. "I felt so bad that she didn't live to see me move ahead", he said in his biography. "...his father died two years later", states Sweeney.

Their daughter Harriet married a Mr. Peacock and stayed in Omaha. Peter Fonda mentions his aunt Harriet Peacock visiting him at the Barton School for Boys when he was six in 1946/7 (Don't Tell Dad, p22-25). He again mentions visiting he and his mother visiting Harriet, in Omaha the following year (Don't Tell Dad, p29).

Primary documents for 2

  • 1900 Census of Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska
  • 1910 Census of Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska
  • World War I Draft Registration Cards : "William Brace Fonda, 433 N-39 Omaha Douglas Nebr, age 39, born 12 Feb 1879, Printer, Self-Employed, at 306 Patterson Blk? Omaha Nebr; nearest relative Mrs Herberta Fonda, signed W B Fonda; Tall, Slender, L Brown eyes, D Brown hair, no disabilities, registered 12 Sep 1918"
  • 1920 Census of Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska : "William B Fonda, head, Owns Home, MW, 40, married, NE/NY/NY, Prop., Comm Print Shop; Herberta J Fonda, wife, FW, 40, married, WI/WI/NY, no occupation; Henry J Fonda, son, MW, 14, NE/NE/WI, Office Boy, Stocks & B; Harriett M Fonda, daughter, FW, 12, NE/NE/WI; Jayne H Fonda, daughter, FW, 10, NE/NE/WI"
  • 1930 Census of Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska 9 Apr 1930 "William B Fonda, head, owns home, worth $7000, married, white, age 51, married first at 24, NE/NY/NY, Sales Department, Oil Burner Company; Herberta J, wife, female, white, age 49, married first at 22, WI/WI/NY, no occupation; Henry J, son, male, white, age 24, single, NE/NE/WI, actor, stage, unemployed (see line 9 Unemployment Schedule); Jane, daughter, female, white, age 20, single, NE/NE/WI, stenographer, election commission"
  • "Henry Fonda on William B Fonda", 15 Jun 1975, News Journal (Mansfield, Ohio) : "The elder Fonda born in the mid-1880s, died in 1935. In 1905, when Henry was six months old, William and his wife Herberta moved from Grand Island, Neb., to Omaha, Neb., and set up a printshop

Herberta Jaynes

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Elma Herberta Jaynes was born 26 Jun 1879 in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, the daughter of Henry S Jaynes and his wife Elma Lamphere. Sometime between 1882 and 1889, the family moved to Nebraska, and by 1898 they had moved to Omaha. Elma married William Brace Fonda on 10 Jun 1903 probably in or near Omaha.

The family lived briefly in Grand Island, but by 1910 they were back living in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska.

Henry's mother Elma fell, broke her leg and developed a blood clot which killed her in October 1934. "I felt so bad that she didn't live to see me move ahead", he said in his biography. "...his father died two years later", states Sweeney. Her obituary states that Herberta (Jaynes) Fonda died in 5 Oct 1934, at her home in Omaha.

Primary documents for 3

  • Wisconsin Genealogy Index, birth certificate index entry for Elma H Jaynes
  • "Social and Personal", Dec 25, 1898, The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) :"Miss Alice Fuller will spend this week in Omaha as the guest of Miss Herberta Jaynes." - transcription courtesy of Will Johnson, wjhonson@aol.com, Professional Genealogist, from the original image on Ancestry
  • 1900 Census of Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska
  • The Lincoln Evening News, 18 Aug 1900, "Miss Herberta Jaynes receives scholarship"
  • 9 Jun 1903
  • 1910 Census of Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska
  • 1920 Census of Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska : "William B Fonda, head, Owns Home, MW, 40, married, NE/NY/NY, Prop., Comm Print Shop; Herberta J Fonda, wife, FW, 40, married, WI/WI/NY, no occupation; Henry J Fonda, son, MW, 14, NE/NE/WI, Office Boy, Stocks & B; Harriett M Fonda, daughter, FW, 12, NE/NE/WI; Jayne H Fonda, daughter, FW, 10, NE/NE/WI"
  • Obit, "Herberta Jaynes Fonda", 8 Oct 1934, The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska) :
    Services at Omaha for Herberta Jaynes Fonda — Funeral services for Mrs. Herberta Jaynes Fonda were held in Omaha Monday afternoon. Mrs. Fonda was a schoolmate of Mrs. E.C. Hardy at the University of Nebraska. She was a member of Delta Gamma sorority. Mrs. Fonda died Oct. 5 at her home in Omaha. She was 55 years old. Surviving besides her husband, William B., are two daughters, Mrs. John B. Peacock of Omaha and Mrs. John Schoentgen of Council Bluffs, and a son, Harry Fonda of New York City. Mrs Schoentgen attended the university in 1927.
    - transcription courtesy of Will Johnson, wjhonson@aol.com, Professional Genealogist, from the original image on Ancestry

Ten Eyck Fonda

Ten Eyck Fonda was born Dec 1839 in New York to native New York parents. He married, about 1864 to Harriet somebody also a New York native. They stayed in New York until at least 1871 when their son Ten Eyck Jr was born there, but by 1879 they had moved to Nebraska where their next surviving son William was born. Out of their six children, four were yet living in 1900 when they are enumerated in Omaha where Ten Eyck Fonda is a Railroad Ticket Agent.

Ten Eyck and Harriet are yet living in Omaha in 1920 so it's probable that they both died there.

Primary documents for 4

Secondary sources for 4

Harriet M

Primary documents for 5

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