Canadian PM Justin Trudeau a descendant of Raffles Institution's first headmaster

SINGAPORE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has another family tie to Singapore – his great-great-great-great-grandfather is John Henry Moor, the first headmaster of Raffles Institution (RI).

This lesser-known nugget of Mr Trudeau’s ancestry was pointed out to the school by a Canadian researcher Heather Greene, who had sent a family tree chart by e-mail.

Mrs Cheryl Yap, head of Raffles Archives and Museum, told The Straits Times on Friday (Nov 16 ): “We were surprised to receive an e-mail from a Canadian researcher about two years back informing us that John Henry Moor was related to their Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“We were really excited to find out about this connection as we continue to research and expand the school’s history to share with our students.”

John Henry Moor was brought in to head the school, known in the 1800s as the Singapore Institution Free School. He was its headmaster from 1837 until his sudden death in 1843. One of the houses at RI, Moor, is named after him.

According to records, he had married Christina Elisabeth Stecher, and their daughter Elisabeth Antoinette Moor had married Alfred George Farquhar Bernard, a grandson of Major-General William Farquhar, the first British Resident and Commandant of Singapore from 1819 to 1823.

Mr Trudeau, 46, had spent some time tracing his lineage when he was in Singapore as a guest of the Asean chair for the Asean Summit this week.

On Thursday, he visited Fort Canning Park to see a memorial plaque of his great-great-great-great-grandmother Esther Farquhar Bernard.

She is the daughter of Maj-Gen William Farquhar and Antoinette “Nonio” Clement, a Malaccan woman of French-Malay descent.

Mr Trudeau’s mother, Mrs Margaret Trudeau, had found the historical connection and made it a personal mission to learn about her past. She made a trip to Singapore in 2007 as part of her research and this was captured in a 2008 Canadian television programme.

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