• Dr. Adina

#BravoGenealogy Blog Series: Tamra Judge

It's been quite awhile since I wrote a blog post about the family history of a Bravolebrity. My apologies! However, this one took me a little bit longer than usual because there was A LOT to (un)cover, and I've been jumping back and forth between projects (which hopefully means my next post will arrive much sooner!). In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed my Instagram and Twitter posts of yearbook photos of your favorite Bravo TV stars!


With the Real Housewives of Orange County in full swing, I wanted to feature another #RHOC housewife after focusing on Vicki Gunvalson. Based on your requests, I decided to highlight Tamra Judge.


What We Know

Tamra Sue (Waddle) Judge was born on September 2, 1967, in Glendale, California. Married to Eddie Judge, she has a son, Ryan Vieth, with her first husband, Darren, and Sidney, Spencer, and Sophia Barney with her second husband, Simon. She is also grandmother to Ava through Ryan. Her mother, Sandra, has appeared on the show regularly, and she has spoken about parent alienation with her father, although she doesn’t publicly name him (although that didn't stop me from identifying him). She also has mentioned roots in the Midwest, referring to cousins in Iowa.


Otherwise, not much else readily out there, so I had to do some digging. But what I found was quite diverse and interesting.


She has English, Irish, Scottish, German, Dutch, and possible French ancestry.

I was able to trace several branches in Tamra’s family tree, which mostly led to English and Irish ancestors, although a couple lines were German (including possible Swiss German), Scottish, and Dutch. Although the French ancestry might be family lore, Tamra is connected to the Dille family that played a prominent role in the early history of the Cleveland area. The Dilles claim Huguenot descent (think Thomas Ravenel!), although there has been no definitive proof that this is the case.

Excerpt from "The Pioneer Families of Cleveland 1796-1840. David and Mary (Wade) Dille were Tamra's 6th great-grandparents. David Dille, Jr., was her 5th great-grandfather.

Several ancestors were God-fearing and notably religious.

Although religion and religious documents in particular are no surprise when conducting genealogical research, I was really struck by the diversity of religious faiths in Tamra’s tree. Besides Puritans, Lutherans, and Presbyterians, to name a few, she also has a Church of Latter Day Saints ancestor, Martin Van Buren Follett, her 3rd great-grandfather (maybe he even knew Shane’s ancestors!). I also found several reverends in her family tree, showing that religion and God were deeply important to her ancestors as they have become for her.


Entry for Tamra's 3rd great-grandfather in the Membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1848 database on Ancestry.com

One particularly interesting ancestor was Tamra's likely 10th great-grandfather, Nicholas Street. A graduate of Oxford University, he was a teacher and minister at the Church in Taunton (Massachusetts) and pastor at Center Church on the Green in New Haven, Connecticut, until his death in 1674.

Headstone inscription for Rev. Nicholas Street found in the Connecticut, Hale Collection of Cemetery Inscriptions and Newspaper Notices, 1629-1934 at Ancestry.com.

Her ATV accident may have hit too close to home.

I know I can’t forget the April 2016 sand dune buggy accident that sent Tamra (and Vicki) to the hospital. Besides the physical injuries Tamra suffered from the accident, I wonder if her family history also came to mind as she dealt with the emotional aftermath as well. On August 6, 1971, Tamra’s grandfather, Lester James Waddle, died in a fatal car crash when he lost control “and plowed into a dirt bank and rolled over three or four times.”


Article on the death of Tamra's grandfather found in the Carrol Daily Times Herald.

She shares an ancestor with Real Housewives of Dallas’ LeeAnne Locken.

I was pleasantly surprised when familiar names from my work on LeeAnne Locken’s tree showed up on Tamra’s. George and Ann (Borodell) Denison, LeeAnne’s 10th great-grandparents, are also Tamra’s 9th great-grandparents, making LeeAnne and Tamra 10th cousins once removed! Not to mention, her ancestors likely also knew Sonja Morgan's!


Although the original burned down and was rebuilt, this is where the Denisons raised their family, and now is a "museum and memorial in the town of Stonington, CT as a testimonial to the Denison Family." Information and photo found at denisonhomestead.org.

She has connections to the Mayflower.

Another similarity to cousin LeeAnne is that Tamra has Mayflower ancestors. Her likely 10th great-grandparents were John and Elizabeth (Tilley) Howland, and Elizabeth’s parents, John and Joan (Hurst) Tilley, all sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. As the Howlands had ten children and 88 grandchildren, they have millions of descendants today, apparently including the Bushes, Roosevelts, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and now Tamra Judge!


Portrait of Captain John Howland. Credit: New Bedford Whaling Museum

Enjoy learning about Tamra Judge's family history? Genealogy is not just for Bravolebrities! Contact me at adina@myfamilygenie.com, and I can do the same for you!


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