The Addams Family Tree Explained

The Addams Family has been a part of American culture for 84 years, starting with cartoons in The New Yorker and branching out into sitcoms, live-action features, and animated films. Their morbidly hilarious shenanigans and fierce loyalty to each other go hand in hand, and they continue to speak to freaks, outcasts, and fans of the macabre today. Though you probably have a good idea who the major players in the Addams Family are, some of the cobweb-covered branches of their family tree may surprise you.

For a fictional family that has been around since 1938, the Addams Family has a surprisingly straightforward canonical genealogy. Though there are countless aunts, uncles, and cousins that have accumulated over the years — most mentioned only in passing — the core group remains largely the same. Still, with a new series featuring the spooky family destined for Netflix, a refresher can't hurt. Here's a complete rundown of America's royal goth family.

Gomez Addams

The patriarch of the Addams family, Gomez is a devoted husband to Morticia and a doting father to Wednesday and Pugsley. He dresses like an undertaker for the mob, but he does it with such suave confidence that he makes it work. He has a fondness for toy trains (especially when they crash), swordplay, and hearing his wife speak French. Gomez is independently wealthy, keeping a keen eye on the stock market, but he is always generous with his money. He donates treasures to charity and then buys them back again at auction — not to boast, but because he enjoys both philanthropy and the lost art of dramatic living.

According to 1991's "The Addams Family," Gomez met Morticia at his Cousin Balthazar's funeral while he was still a suspect in his cousin's death. Though he and his brother Fester frequently tried to kill each other as children, cementing the Addams' fondness for murder, they are incredibly close.

Morticia Addams

Née Morticia Frump, Mrs. Addams is a loving wife to Gomez and caring mother to Wednesday and Pugsley. Known for both her killer style and her killer plants, Morticia comes from a long line of witches. Her trademark dress is form-fitting and features tentacle-like extensions that create the impression that she's floating across the floor when she walks. She has a greenhouse full of carnivorous and poisonous plants, where her beloved African Strangler Cleopatra lives and feasts on red meat. Whether she's using plant-based potions or her otherworldly beauty, Morticia is an expert spellcaster.

Gomez is completely enraptured by Morticia, who has a history of respecting women who place men under "strange sexual spells." She reveals as much to Fester's late wife Debbie, and she delightedly tells Wednesday's teacher a story about her great-aunt Calpurnia Addams, proudly saying, "They say she danced naked in the town square and enslaved a minister."

Wednesday Addams

Wednesday is Gomez and Morticia's eldest child, and sister to Pugsley. With her pale skin and long black hair, she takes after her mother. Great-Aunt Calpurnia is her hero, but according to Morticia, Wednesday has to wait until after college to enslave any ministers. She frequently recruits Pugsley to play games that seem guaranteed to kill him, and she enlists his help in "Addams Family Values" to murder their youngest brother, Pubert.

The Addams men tend to be more excitable than the Addams women, and Wednesday is no exception: Her wry monotone and refusal to smile (along with her intelligence and ability to cut to the bone with words alone) make her seem much older than her years. Though the modern Wednesday isn't one to dance (not until after college, anyway), the '60s sitcom version of the character is famous for the dance she tries to teach Lurch.

Pugsley Addams

Pugsley is the youngest child of Gomez and Morticia ... usually. The number of Addams children varies across the family's various incarnations, but most of the time, Pugsley and Wednesday are the only two young members of the family.

Pugsley can be just as gruesome and morbid as the rest of his clan, but he's also a bit of an outlier. He's usually blonder than his black-haired parents and sister, and he sometimes engages in "normal" activities, like playing with puppies and trying to join the Boy Scouts.

However, Pugsley may be responsible for resetting the canonical number of Addams siblings. In "The New Addams Family," the sitcom that followed the introduction of Pugsley's younger brother Pubert in 1993's "Addams Family Values," Wednesday tells a visitor to the Addams home, "Yes, there were three of us, but Pugsley ate the little one." While Pugsley might not always be as homicidally inclined as Wednesday, he's an Addams when it counts.

Fester Addams

In the original sitcom, Fester is Morticia's uncle. However, in all subsequent iterations, he is Gomez's brother. Fester is one of the most mysterious members of the Addams Family, and not just because of his shifting place in the family tree. He can conduct electricity, frequently popping a light bulb in his mouth to turn it on, though his power is never explained. Also, he once visited the Bermuda Triangle (the most mysterious place on Earth) only to emerge with amnesia.

Fester has a high, goofy voice, but he looks like a deranged monk, with his dark robe and sunken eyes. He is a study in contradictions — he is fun-loving but murderous, childlike but terrifying — which likely explains his enduring popularity among audiences. Regardless of his place on the family tree, Fester is a supportive and loyal uncle who knows a lot about different weapons and types of fungus, which only makes him an even more beloved member of the Addams Family.

Ophelia Frump

Ophelia is Morticia's lovesick sister. Constantly searching for a man (including Cousin Itt, who quickly rejects the idea), Ophelia is another outlier in the family. With blonde hair, a fondness for flowers and light colors, and a "moldy ballerina chic" approach to fashion, Ophelia stands out amongst her black-clad family. Though one of the lessons of "The Addams Family" is that you should never judge a book by its cover, the fact that Ophelia is a black sheep amongst both the Addamses and "normal" society does make it hard not to see her as an odd duck.

Shakespeare jokes abound with Ophelia — in "Ophelia Finds Romance," an episode of the original sitcom, she talks about "slings and arrows" and falls in love with a man named Horatio. Knowing what happened to Shakespeare's Ophelia only makes Ophelia Frump that much more of a wild card, which ensures that, despite her differences, she still fits in with the rest of the family.

Debbie Jellinsky

Debbie — or "Debbie," since she uses many aliases — is Fester's murderous late wife. A famous black widow who goes through rich husbands as quickly as she goes through costumes, Debbie poses as Pubert's nanny to get close to Fester, who, as Gomez's older brother, is heir to the Addams fortune.

Debbie got her start in murder when her parents gave her the wrong Barbie doll, and her bloody pursuit of riches snowballed from there. An expert in manipulation, Debbie earns this rebuke from Morticia: "You have gone too far. You have married Fester, you have destroyed his spirit, you have taken him from us. All that I could forgive. But, Debbie ... pastels?"

Though Morticia herself is a style icon and her criticism of Debbie's taste in home decor is valid, it's hard not to root for the greedy murderess. Debbie meets her demise thanks to a timely intervention by baby Pubert and appears only in "Addams Family Values," but her legacy lives on in Addams Family lore.

Grandmama Addams

Interestingly, the Addams children always have one or two living grandmothers, but their grandfathers are always out of the picture. Grandmama is Gomez's (and sometimes Fester's) mother. She is present and living in the '60s sitcom, "The New Addams Family," and the 2019 animated film. However, in the '90s live-action films, she resides in the Addams' family graveyard, having been murdered along with her husband by an angry mob, who presumably killed them for being too different.

Grandmama is a witch just like those on Morticia's side of the family, which sometimes causes friction between her and Morticia's mother, particularly when they attempt to share the kitchen for potion-making purposes. Whether living or dead, Grandmama is an important presence in the lives of the Addamses, who have a touching reverence for their ancestors that underscores their loyalty and commitment to their altogether ooky family.

Granny Frump

Granny Frump is Morticia and Ophelia's mother. Similar to Grandmama, she often switches between the worlds of the living and the dead. She is alive and present in each 20th-century iteration of the franchise, but she is deceased in the 21st-century animated films. But death can't stop an Addams or a Frump, and she communicates with Morticia via crystal ball in 2019's "The Addams Family."

Just like Grandmama, Granny Frump is a witch; however, her appearance is more frightening and more stereotypically "witchy" than Grandmama's. Granny Frump is also quite the questionable cook, serving gloopy, sentient meals to the family in 1991's "The Addams Family." She keeps the family together, though, helping Morticia and Gomez figure out why Pubert is sick in "Addams Family Values." Grandmama and Granny Frump have distinct personalities, showing that no two witches are the same, while their frequent resurrections also prove that you can't keep a good witch down.

Lurch and Thing

Lurch is a tall, mostly silent, Frankenstein-esque figure. His deep voice and "You rang?" catchphrase quickly made him a pop culture icon. Thing, meanwhile, is a disembodied hand. In the '60s sitcom, it usually emerges from behind boxes, but — thanks to CGI — it became a free-roaming spider-like hand starting with 1991's "The Addams Family."

Lurch is the Addams' butler and Thing acts as a servant, but they are both cherished members of the group. The Addams are very egalitarian people, and they treat the people who work for them with kindness and respect. The 2019 animated film suggests that Lurch is a "criminally insane" escapee, while the '60s sitcom shows family photos of Thing that prove that it descended from other hands. Though neither Lurch nor Thing actually have a place on the Addams' biological family tree, they are still very much members of the family.

Cousin Itt and Margaret Alford Addams

Itt is Gomez's cousin. A short man with floor-length hair that obscures his entire body, Itt speaks in high-pitched gibberish that the other characters can, somehow, understand. Though he usually only makes brief appearances, Itt has become a pop culture fixture for his cheery obliviousness to his own strangeness. Itt is very friendly and rumored to be quite the ladies' man, as seen during Ophelia's attempt to marry him and his seduction of Margaret, the former wife of Gomez's lawyer in 1991's "The Addams Family."

Itt is a frequent visitor to the Addams' home, even living in their chimney at times, but in "Addams Family Values," he lives elsewhere with his wife, Margaret, and their baby, What. Margaret and What are not present in the later animated films, suggesting that — along with Pubert — they may have been excised from the canonical family tree. Fan favorite Itt always remains, though.

Pubert Addams

Pubert is Gomez and Morticia's second son and youngest child, appearing only in "Addams Family Values." He is the spitting image of his father, with slicked-back black hair and a pencil-thin black mustache, even as an infant. Though he turns "normal" when he becomes sick over the stress of Debbie's "enslavement" of Fester — that means sprouting curly blonde hair, having a cherubic, mustache-free smile, and favoring "The Cat in the Hat" over grimmer storybooks — Pubert is usually just as macabre as the rest of his family. He has an eerie knack for escaping certain death, foiling all of Wednesday's plans to murder him, and has the ability to produce flaming arrows out of thin air.

As mentioned above, Pubert may have been eaten by Pugsley, according to "The New Addams Family," which is a highly appropriate way for the mysterious and spooky Addams clan to dispose of family members who are inconvenient to continuity.

Wednesday Jr., Pugsley Jr., and Pancho Addams

The 1977 TV movie "Halloween with the New Addams Family" saw three additions to the Addams clan, all of whom were forgotten as quickly as they arrived. In the film, Pugsley and Wednesday are grown and out of the house, and Gomez and Morticia have two more children: Pugsley Jr. and Wednesday Jr., who appear to be clones of their namesakes. In this version of the family, Fester is still Morticia's uncle, and new arrival Pancho is Gomez's brother.

Just like Pugsley Jr. and Wednesday Jr., Pancho is a mirror image of his sibling. He looks, dresses, and sounds like Gomez, and he delights in Morticia speaking French, just like Gomez does. In fact, he even attempts to woo Morticia away from his brother. Though Henry Darrow does his best as Pancho, he's no John Astin, and the real Gomez emerges victorious as Pancho fades away into obscurity.

The extended family

One of the most delightful things about the Addams Family is their hilariously morbid collection of extended family members. An exhaustive rundown of everyone hiding in the Addams and Frump family trees is impossible, but here are a few standouts. 

In one of the best gags from 1991's "The Addams Family," Morticia pulls three garment bags out of an armoire, which contain Uncle Niknak's winter wardrobe, Uncle Niknak's summer wardrobe, and Uncle Niknak himself. Cousin Balthazar and Great-Aunt Calpurnia have already popped up on this list; the former was murdered, possibly by Gomez, and the latter was burned as a witch in 1706. Continuing the tradition of Addamses and Frumps meeting grisly ends, Morticia tells us that Great-Aunt Lavinia was beheaded by her own children. The '60s sitcom didn't shy away from such macabre fates for the family members, either. There's a picture in the hallway of Cousin Grisly facing a firing squad, and viewers learn that Cousin Clot was electrocuted.

There are so many more creepy and kooky members of the Addams Family — including Gomez's ancestor, who burned down the Library of Alexandria — that it would be impossible to list them all. As seen in the séances and games of Wake the Dead, there is little difference between living and dead for an Addams. America's creepiest family is a role model for us all, because death is no match for the strong bonds between its members. They may be altogether ooky, but they revere their ancestors for being true to their wildly macabre selves, and they try to emulate their combination of individuality and family loyalty. Perhaps that loyalty is why the Addams Family tree has remained relatively unchanged throughout the decades.