James Garner

by follers on May 12, 2014

The Notebook Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals

Birth Name: James Scott Bumgarner

Date of Birth: April 7, 1928

Place of Birth: Norman, Oklahoma, U.S.

Date of Death: July 19, 2014

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California

Ethnicity: English, some German, remote Welsh, Irish, and Swiss-German

James Garner was an American actor, singer, producer, and comedian. He had English, some German, and remote Welsh, Irish, and Swiss-German, ancestry.

James was the son of Mildred Scott (Meek) and Weldon Warren Baumgarner. He was the brother of actor Jack Garner. He was married to Lois (Fleischman) Clarke, with whom he had two children.

James often stated that he had some degree of Cherokee Native American ancestry on his mother’s side. No Native American ancestry appears in family trees of James Garner. In their 2014 obituary of James Garner, The New York Times stated that James’s maternal grandfather, Charles Bailey Meek, was a “full-blooded Cherokee”. This statement is false. James’s maternal grandfather and his own parents, Thomas Jefferson Meek and Delilah Frances Bailey, were listed as “White” on United States Censuses, and James’s grandfather’s ancestry, which is fairly well documented, contains no evident Cherokee antecedents.

James’s paternal grandfather was William Wilson Bumgarner (the son of John H. Bumgarner and Catherine Landers). William was born in Arkansas. John was the son of Woodford Bumgarner and Rebecca C. Heffner. Catherine was the daughter of David Robert Landers, who was born in Ireland, and of Mary Jane Howard, who was born in England.

James’s paternal grandmother was Louella E. Briggs (the daughter of Levi Leander Briggs and Narcisus/Narcissus Bough/Baugh). Louella was born in Arkansas. Levi was the son of James C./Jefferson Briggs and Rebecca George.

James’s maternal grandfather was Charles Bailey “Charley” Meek (the son of Thomas Jefferson Meek and Delilah/Delila Frances “Fannie” Bailey). Charles was born in Arkansas. Thomas was the son of Franklin M. Meek and Martha Ann Harwell/Hartwell. Delilah was the daughter of Cincinnatus Ney Brooks and Mary Jane Bailey.

James’s maternal grandmother was Abbie Lillian Womack (the daughter of John David Womack and Minnie Glorietta/Gorietta Neher). Abbie was born in Texas. John was the son of John Crossley/Crosley Womack and Sarah Jane Williamson. Minnie was the daughter of John George Neher, who was German, from Württemberg, and of Mary Mazie Riggs.

Sources: Genealogies of James Garner – http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com

Genealogies of James Garner (focusing on his mother’s side) – http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com

James’s mother on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
James’s mother on the 1920 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

James’s maternal grandfather, Charles Bailey “Charley” Meek, on the 1880 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Information on James’s maternal grandfather’s Meek family – http://meekgenealogy.com

James’s maternal grandmother, Abbie Lillian Womack, on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Photo by PrPhotos.com

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Freerk July 21, 2014 at 4:40 pm

I had such a good time with him. :(

(Not personnally, of course … ;-) )

Rest in peace!

follers July 20, 2014 at 1:20 pm

The New York Times has just printed that James’s maternal grandfather was a “full-blooded Cherokee”.

This is blatantly false.

This is James’s maternal grandfather’s own great-grandfather, and there is more genealogical information on his grandfather’s family there:

ethnic July 20, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Typical of a big media company

follers July 20, 2014 at 2:48 am
fuzzybear44 July 20, 2014 at 6:45 am

Support Your Local Sheriff!, was always my favorite movie from him. R.I.P

Freerk July 21, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Yes! :)

Time to put it into my DVD player once again.

andrew May 13, 2014 at 4:45 am

no Cherokee?

follers May 13, 2014 at 8:33 am

Some of his mother’s family were born on Cherokee territory (like a lot of non-Cherokee people were at the time), but there are no documented Cherokee ancestors I can find.

andrew June 15, 2016 at 4:02 pm


He had an Ireland-born ancestor from 1600s:


About his relatives born in Cherokee territory, there’s some family history here: http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Bailey-7516

A daughter of Buck Bailey, Martha, married Thomas J. Harris, a “full blooded Cherokee”

follers June 15, 2016 at 4:55 pm

Thomas Jackson Harris.

But he wasn’t James’s ancestor.

andrew June 16, 2016 at 2:31 am

Yes. It looked like one of those fake Native Americans from western movies, I doubt he was a “full blooded” one.

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