Cissy Houston

US Open Tennis Tournament Opening Night Gala

Birth Name: Emily Drunkard

Place of Birth: Newark, New Jersey, U.S.

Date of Birth: September 30, 1933

Ethnicity: African-American, with a small amount of English, Irish, and Scottish

Cissy Houston is an American soul and gospel singer.

She is the daughter of Adelia/Delia/Dealyer Mae (McCaskill) and Nitcholas Auther Drinkard. Cissy has a son, basketball player Gary Garland, with her former husband, Freddie Garland; and two children, including singer and actress Whitney Houston, with her former husband, administrator and entertainment executive John Russell Houston, Jr. She is the maternal grandmother of Bobbi Kristina Brown. Cissy is the aunt of singer Dionne Warwick.

Cissy’s parents were both African-American, and she also has a small amount of English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry. Cissy stated in an interview that she also has Dutch and Native American ancestry. It is not clear if this ancestry has been verified/documented.

Cissy’s paternal grandfather was John T. Drinkard (the son of John Drinkard and Victoria Hansom). Cissy’s grandfather John was born in Georgia.

Cissy’s paternal grandmother was Susie/Susan Belle/Bell Fuller (the daughter of Moses Knox Fuller and Elizabeth Brown). Susie was born in Georgia.

Cissy’s maternal grandfather was Stephen McCaskill (the son of John Jett McCaskill and Annie). Stephen was born in Florida. John was likely white, of English, Irish, and Scottish descent. He was the son of Kenneth McCaskill and Mary Catherine Knight.

Cissy’s maternal grandmother was Emma Houston (the daughter of Oliver Houston and Rachel Hill). Emma was born in Florida.

Sources: Genealogies of Cissy Houston –

Cissy speaks of their ancestors –

Cissy’s mother on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Cissy’s maternal grandparents, Stephen McCaskill and Emma Houston, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

City’s maternal grandfather, Stephen McCaskill, on the 1880 U.S. Census –

Photo by prphotos

5 Responses

  1. savanna says:

    why does it say “distant English, Irish, and Scottish” when it refers to her grandfather?
    Shouldn’t it say “*English, Irish, and Scottish (maternal grandfather)” or something?

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