Bill Cosby

by ethnic on April 29, 2011

Esquire Magazine and Harlem Village Academies Honor Bill Cosby

Birth Name: William Henry Cosby, Jr.

Place of Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

Date of Birth: July 12, 1937

Ethnicity: African-American

Bill Cosby is an American comedian, actor, author, and musician.

Bill is the son of Anna Pearl (Hite) and William Henry Cosby. Most of his recent ancestors lived in Virginia, where all sixteen of his great-great-grandparents were born, and where his family were slaves.

Bill is married to producer, author, philanthropist Camille Cosby, with whom he has five children.

Bill’s paternal grandfather was Samuel Russell Cosby (the son of Zachariah “Zach” Cosby and Louisa Daniel Johnson). Zachariah was the son of Sam Thomas Cosby and Jane.

Bill’s paternal grandmother was Gertrude A. Thornhill (the daughter of William Ansel Thornhill and Zabria Sabra Linthicum). William was the son of James Thornhill and America Mary Sanders. Zabria was the daughter of Caleb Linthicum and Jane West.

Bill’s maternal grandfather was William Sidney Hite (the son of Tobias Hite and Henrietta Field). Henrietta was the daughter of Henry Field and Permelia, or of Grandison Field and Anna Jane.

Bill’s maternal grandmother was Martha Alice Rice (the daughter of Asa Rice and Anne Johnson). Asa was the son of Rufus Rice and Betsey/Betsy/Elizabeth. Anne was the daughter of Martha Williams.

Sources: Genealogies of Bill Cosby –

Photo by PrPhotos

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

andrew January 26, 2017 at 12:58 pm
cdonorab October 24, 2016 at 10:36 am

Correction. Looking at the trees other people put here he is also English and welsh.

andrew October 22, 2016 at 7:40 pm
follers October 24, 2016 at 4:34 pm

I don’t know about that. These trees seem to be assuming that Cosby’s great-great-grandfather, Sam Thomas Cosby, was the son of a white slaveowner, John Cosby.

Is there any evidence for that? Neither this genealogy nor this book biography seem to suggest that.

andrew October 25, 2016 at 5:04 am

Agree. It’s unclear if those are Bill’s direct ancestors, or that’s just the genealogy of John Cosby’s family.

andrew October 22, 2016 at 7:35 pm

Bill’s patrilineal line can be traced back to John Cosby, Sr., born c. 1623, in England, and died in Yorktown, York County, Virginia, U.S.

fuzzybear44 June 16, 2013 at 4:03 am

Cosby one of the best t.v. dads ever,ans a great comedic actor.

fuzzybear44 June 16, 2013 at 8:08 am
multiethnic April 22, 2012 at 8:07 am

He is definitely an African-American with admixture.

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