Tolkien was big on family trees, we know the names of the kings of Numenor all the way down through Gondor and Arnor up to Aragorn. But what was the longest tree we have of elves?

I'm trying to find out the maximum number of generations we know from the original awakening.

4 Answers 4


House of Finwë

We have the House of Finwë, which comprises 6 generations of Elves after him.

Finwë > Fingolfin > Turgon > Idril > Eärendil > Elrond > Elladan/Elrohir

Family tree of Finwë

Other than the House of Finwë (Noldor Elves), there doesn't seem to be enough information on the other Elven family trees, most notably the "pure" Vanyar and Teleri.

House of Thingol

The 2nd longest Elven family tree would be: the House of Thingol. It comprises 5 generations of Elves after Thingol (a Sindarin Elf).

Thingol > Luthien > Dior > Elwing > Elrond > Elladan/Elrohir

Family tree of Thingol

As a side note, both Finwë and Thingol were the "Elven-ambassadors" responsible for leading their people in(to) Valinor. None of the Elves who first awoke were ever named, save Imin, Tata and Enel, and presumably Cirdan. However, we don't even know if Imin, Tata, and Enel exist!1 Cirdan is noted to be the longest-lived Elf by the time of the Third Age, but he doesn't have any descendants. So it would seem that Finwë and Thingol have the oldest named family trees.


1 See the third bullet point in Jason Baker's excellent answer: 'They never existed in the first place.'

  • 2
    Small correction not worth the edit queue: 'comprises' shouldn't be followed by 'of'. The House of Finwe comprises 6 generations, etc. If you want to use 'of', say 'is comprised of', instead.
    – TylerH
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 16:04
  • 2
    Needs freehand circles.
    – ibid
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 0:10

The house of Finwe comprises 6 generations from Finwe down to Elrond and Elros, and a further 2 if we add in Arwen and Eldarion (by which time it's no longer an Elven family tree). I am intentionally omitting Elladan and Elrohir since Tolkien left their final fates ambiguous.

However Finwe was not one of the first awakened Elves. We know this for a fact because his first wife, Miriel, had a mother-name, therefore she cannot have been one of the first awakened, yet the first all awoke beside their spouses.

So what this means is that there is at least one generation, possibly more, before Finwe.

Of the 3 Elven kings who went to Valinor as ambassadors the only one who might have been one of the first was Ingwe, but we have no family tree for the Vanyar.

  • 2
    I don't see any consistent reason to count Arwen and Eldarion but not all the descendants of Elros. I think the best you can do is seven named generations (Finwe -> Fingolfin -> Turgon -> Idril -> Earendil -> Elrond -> Elladan/Elrohir)
    – Micah
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 6:01

Elrond's children were 31st generation elves from Awakening.

In c.1959, when working out the elvish population trends, Tolkien sketched out a series of generation schemes to calculate the size of each successive generation since awakening. While not providing the names of the individual elves, his final scheme goes through the dates, populations, and average family sizes of the first twenty-nine generations.

Not going to paste the full table here, but here are the last couple of rows.

enter image description here
The Nature of Middle-earth - "Generational Schemes"

In some notes on this scheme, Tolkien says that Finwë was from the 25th generation.

Ingwë was 24th gen., his children therefore 25th. Finwë was gen. 25, Elwë gen. 25.
The Nature of Middle-earth - "Generational Schemes"

If Finwë is of the 25th generation, than Arwen would be of the 31st.

  1. Finwë
  2. Fingolfin
  3. Turgon
  4. Idril
  5. Eärendil
  6. Elrond
  7. Arwen/Elladan/Elrohir

Of course, the last couple of those generations are only half-elves.

If we were to limit ourselves to full elves, the latest named characters we'd find are Gil-galad and Finduilas, both 29th generation descendants since awakening.

  • Gil-galad (25 Finwë, 26 Finarfin, 27 Angrod, 28 Orodreth, 29 Gil-galad)
  • Finduilas (25 Finwë, 26 Finarfin, 27 Angrod, 28 Orodreth, 29 Finduilas)

I think you can go one step further: Ingwe -> Indis -> Fingolfin -> Turgon -> Idril -> Earendil -> Elrond -> Arwen -> Eldarion

  • 1
    Can you provide a source for this?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 3:46
  • 3
    Eldarion is not an Elf.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Dec 5, 2021 at 23:25
  • @OrangeDog - That's true, and neither is Arwen. She exercises her option not to be an Elf.
    – Lesser son
    Commented Mar 18, 2022 at 23:50

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