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  • Updated 12 August 2009
  • Updates planned: 2

Baggins Family

An old and important family of Hobbiton

An old family of the Shire found mostly in the Hobbiton region of the Westfarthing. They had always been an important family in the Shire, and gave rise to the two most important Hobbits of the Third Age, Bilbo the Ring-finder and Frodo the Ring-bearer.

Heads of the Baggins Family

There were eight known heads of the Baggins family of Hobbiton from Balbo Baggins to Ponto Baggins.

Balbo Baggins Head to c. III 28581 (c.1258 by the Shire-reckoning)
The first recorded head of the Baggins family. It is unclear whether there were other important Bagginses before Balbo's time, but it is established that he was the ancestor of all the known members of that family.
Berylla Baggins (née Boffin)? By Hobbit tradition, if the wife of a family head survived her husband's death, she would inherit the headship in turn. Berylla's date of death is not recorded, but if she outlived Balbo, she would have been head of the family for a time, before passing the title on to her eldest son.
Mungo Baggins Head from III 28582 to III 2900 (1258 to 1300 by the Shire-reckoning, 42 years)
Mungo was head of the Baggins family at the approximately the same time that the famous Gerontius, the Old Took, was Thain of the Shire (though in fact the Old Took outlived Mungo by some twenty years). Mungo was succeeded by his widow, Laura.
Laura Baggins (née Grubb) Head from III 2900 to III 2916 (1300 to 1316 by the Shire-reckoning, 16 years)
Laura was seven years younger than her husband, and survived him by sixteen years, holding the headship of the family until she died at the age of 102. She was succeeded by her eldest son.
Bungo Baggins Head from III 2916 to III 2926 (1316 to 1326 by the Shire-reckoning, 10 years)
Bungo was a wealthy Hobbit, at least in part through his marriage into the Took family (he wedded Belladonna, a daughter of the Old Took). He was most famous for the building of the great smial of Bag End within Hobbiton Hill. He was succeeded by his widow, Belladonna.
Belladonna Baggins (née Took) Head from III 2926 to III 2934 (1326 to 1334 by the Shire-reckoning, 8 years)
Belladona's brief time as head of the Baggins family was spent in Bag End with her only son, Bilbo, who would succeed her.
Bilbo Baggins Head from III 2934 to III 3021 (1334 to 1421 by the Shire-reckoning, 87 years)
As well as the headship of the family, Bilbo also inherited Bag End. He had been the head of the family for seven years when he received an unexpected visit from Gandalf and a group of Dwarves that would propel him on the Quest of Erebor, during which he acquired the Ring. His disappearance from the Shire at this time caused legal difficulties, and with Bilbo presumed dead, Bag End (and presumably also the headship of the family) nearly passed to his natural heir, Otho Sackville-Baggins. Long afterwards, at his 111th Birthday Party, Bilbo disappeared again, but the Shire-hobbits were reluctant to presume his death for a second time, and so he remained the titular head of the family throughout his remaining time in Middle-earth.
Ponto Baggins Head from III 3021 (1421 by the Shire-reckoning)
Bilbo's departure across the Sea caused further legal complications in the Shire, as he was known to be still alive and thus strictly remained the head of the family. With typical Hobbit practicality, a law was created that established passage into the West as grounds for inheritance, and the title of the headship passed on to Bilbo's heir. This appears to have been3 Ponto the son of Posco Baggins, a rather distant cousin of Bilbo's, but the next in line to the headship.

Notes

1

The date of Balbo's death is not given in the family trees that accompany The Lord of the Rings. The date of 1258 given here is taken from earlier versions of those charts given in volume 12 of The History of Middle-earth, where the first head of the family is consistently dated as '1167-1258'. This matches 1167 as Balbo's birth date, which is given in The Lord of the Rings, but as these records are drafts (they name this character as 'Inigo Baggins' rather than 'Balbo Baggins') the date of 1258 cannot be treated as certain.

2

Lacking any dates for Mungo's mother Berylla, we cannot be sure whether or not she held the headship for a time after III 2858. For convenience this dating assumes that Mungo inherited the title directly from his father.

3

The line of inheritance after Bilbo is rather elaborate (and made the more complicated by the fact that he had outlived all his more direct heirs). Even Tolkien seemed less than certain on this point. He wrote: 'Presumably the title of 'head' then passed to the descendants of Ponto Baggins - probably Ponto (II)' (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, No 214, dated 1958-9). The double mention of the name 'Ponto' here will bear some clarification: 'the descendants of Ponto Baggins' is a reference to an early member of the family, Balbo's second son, whereas 'Ponto (II)' was one of that original Ponto's descendants, specifically his great-grandson.

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