Valerie Jarrett

by gamer20 on January 16, 2015

Time 100 Most Influential People in the World - Red Carpet Outside Arrivals

Birth Name: Valerie June Bowman

Place of Birth: Shiraz, Iran

Date of Birth: November 14, 1956

Ethnicity: African-American, smaller amounts of Creole (French and African), Scottish, and Native American

Valerie Jarrett is an American attorney, businessperson, and civic leader. She was Senior Advisor to the President of the United States, and Director of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, both from January 20, 2009 to January 20, 2017.

Valerie was born in Shiraz, Iran, to American parents, James E. Bowman (James Edward Bowman), a physician, and Barbara (Taylor) Bowman, an early childhood education expert/advocate, author, and professor.

Valerie’s parents were/are both black. In the program Finding Your Roots, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. it was found, through both DNA testing and genealogical research, that she also has smaller amounts of Creole (French and African), Scottish, and Native American heritage.

Valerie has a daughter with her former husband, late medical professional William Jarrett.

Valerie’s paternal grandfather was James Edward Bowman (the son of William Henry Bowman and Mary E.). William was the son of Nelson Bowman.

Valerie’s paternal grandmother was and Dorothy Peterson (the daughter of George Lee Peterson and Mildred Waddy). George was the son of Lee Peterson and Laura Tyler.

Valerie’s maternal grandfather was Robert Rochon Taylor (the son of Robert Robinson Taylor and Beatrice Francis Rochon). Valerie’s great-grandfather Robert was an architect, who was the first accredited African-American architect, and was also the first African-American student enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in 1888; he was the son of Henry Taylor and Emily Still. Beatrice was the daughter of Victor Narcisse Rochon and Leonora.

Valerie’s maternal grandmother was Laura Dorothy Vaughn Jennings (the daughter of Neros Jennings and Laura Smith). Valerie’s great-grandmother Laura was the daughter of Ella Vaughn.

A DNA test taken by the show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2014) stated that Valerie’s genetic ancestry is:

*49% European
——–approx. *28% Irish and Scottish
——–*16% Scandinavia
——–*3% Western Europe
——–*2% Ashkenazi Jewish
*46% Sub-Saharan African
——–*24% Nigeria
——–*8% Congo
——–*6% Ivory Coast and Ghana
——–*5% Senegal
——–*2% Southeastern Bantu
——–*1% Benin and Togo
*5% Native American

Valerie had once stated that one of her great-grandfathers was Jewish. No Jewish ancestry has evidently been documented for Valerie Jarrett, and none of her great-grandfathers were Jewish (at least in the traditional sense). However, her DNA test result did state that she has 2% Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, which means she likely had a Jewish ancestor several more generations back.

Sources: Genealogies of Valerie Jarrett –

Obituaries and genealogies of Valerie’s maternal great-grandparents, Robert Robinson Taylor and Beatrice Rochon –

Genealogy of Valerie’s maternal great-great-great-grandfather, Jean-Stéril Narcisse Rochon (focusing on his father’s side) –

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Ben Carson

by follers on November 7, 2014

Birth Name: Benjamin Solomon Carson

Place of Birth: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.

Date of Birth: September 18, 1951

Ethnicity: African-American

Ben Carson is an American author and retired neurosurgeon. He has been the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, since March 2, 2017.

He was a candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States in 2016.

Ben is the son of African-American parents, Sonya (Copeland) and Robert Solomon Carson, a Christian minister. In 1987, he became the first person to successfully surgically separate conjoined twins joined at the head. He is married to author and businessperson Candy Carson, with whom he has three children.

Ben’s paternal grandfather was Robert Carson (the son of Robert Carson and Amy Darden). Ben’s grandfather Robert was born in Georgia. Ben’s great-grandmother Amy was the daughter of Ethan Darden and Lettie Swan.

Ben’s paternal grandmother was named Anna/Amy L. Gordon. Anna was born in Georgia.

Ben’s maternal grandfather was John Martin Copeland (the son of John H. Copeland and Indiana Ash). Ben’s grandfather John was born in Georgia. Indiana was the daughter of Thomas Ash and Millie Gay. The 1870 U.S. Census lists a man named James Ash living near Indiana’s household, who was possibly her grandfather. James is then-listed as being 100 years old, and as having been born in Africa (c. 1770).

Ben’s maternal grandmother was Ruby Stanley (the daughter of Coleman Stanley and Lucy Smith). Ruby was born in Georgia. Lucy was the daughter of Green Smith and Emily.

A DNA test whose results were displayed on the show African American Lives (2006) stated that Ben’s genetic ancestry is:

*80% Sub-Saharan African
*20% European

In his 2009 book about the show, In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote that Ben’s African DNA matches the Makua people of Mozambique (through his father’s line), and on his mother’s side, the Yoruba, Bassa, and Edo people of Nigeria, the Mende people of Sierra Leone, the Turkana people of Kenya, the Bamileke people of Cameroon, and the Bantu tribes of the Congo-Angola region.

Sources: Family background of Ben Carson –

Genealogy of Ben Carson –

Ben’s father on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Photo by Gage Skidmore


Angela Bassett

by ethnic on April 28, 2011

Birth Name: Angela Evelyn Bassett

Place of Birth: New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: August 16, 1958

Ethnicity: African-American

Angela Bassett is an American actress, director, and activist.

Angela is the daughter of Betty Jane (Gilbert) and Daniel Benjamin Bassett. She is married to actor Courtney B. Vance, with whom she has two children. Her middle name is in honor of her aunt Evelyn.

Angela’s paternal grandfather was Daniel Benjamin Bassett, Sr. (the son of William Henry Bassett, who was born under the surname Ingram, and of Martha Jane Price). William was the son of George Ingram and Jinney.

Angela’s paternal grandmother was Brownie Younger (the daughter of Henderson Younger and Harriet Snow).

Angela’s maternal grandfather was Leroy Gilbert (the son of Jimmie T. Gilbert and Annie Lee Bryant). Jimmie was the son of Louis Gilbert and Louisa Johnson.

Angela’s maternal grandmother was Emma Jean Stokes (the daughter of Slater Samuel Stokes and Miner/Mina/Minnie Lee Jackson). Slater was the son of Judge/Jordan Stokes and Henrietta Miller. Miner was the daughter of Bryant Jackson and Emma Michael.

A DNA test taken by the show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2014) stated that Angela’s genetic ancestry is:

*78% African
*21% European
*0.6% Native American

The DNA test stated that much of Angela’s African DNA was from Nigeria, with small parts from Benin and Togo, Cameroon and Congo, Mali, southeastern Bantu (Angola), Ivory Coast and Ghana, Senegal, and the South Central hunter-gatherers. Much of her European DNA was from Great Britain.

Source: Genealogy of Angela Bassett –

Featureflash /


Anderson Cooper

by tdomf_28006 on September 13, 2010

2013 CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute - Arrivals

Birth Name: Anderson Hays Cooper

Place of Birth: New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: June 3, 1967

Ethnicity: English, 1/16th Chilean [including Spanish and Indigenous], as well as Dutch, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Welsh, remote French Huguenot

Anderson Cooper is an American television journalist and author. He has hosted the show Anderson Cooper 360° since 2003. He also hosted the show Anderson Live from 2011 to 2013.

Anderson is the son of Gloria Laura (Vanderbilt), an artist, designer, writer, and heiress, and Waytt Emory Cooper, a writer and screenwriter.

Anderson’s maternal great-great-great-great-grandfather was businessman Cornelius Vanderbilt. Anderson has English, as well as 1/16th Chilean (including both Spanish and Indigenous/Native ancestors), small amounts (to varying degrees) of Dutch, Northern Irish, and Welsh, and remote French Huguenot, ancestry.

A DNA test taken by the show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2014) stated that Anderson’s genetic ancestry is:

*97.8% European
*1.3% Native American
*0.7% Sub-Saharan African

Anderson’s paternal great-great-great-great-grandfather, Solomon Cooper, was said to be of Native American (Choctaw and possibly other) ancestry. However, Anderson’s Native/Indigenous DNA result came from his mother. Anderson’s African DNA was southeastern Bantu in origin.

Anderson is a second cousin, once removed, of filmmaker James Vanderbilt, and a third cousin, once removed, of actor Timothy Olyphant. Anderson’s maternal great-grandparents, Cornelius Vanderbilt II and Alice Claypool Gwynne, were also James’s paternal great-great-grandparents. Anderson’s maternal great-great-grandparents, William Henry Vanderbilt and Maria Louisa Kissam, were also Timothy’s paternal great-great-great-grandparents.

Anderson’s paternal grandfather was Emmett/Emmet/Emmitt Debro Cooper (the son of William Preston Cooper and Roxieann/Roxanna/Roxana/Roxsine Safronia Flowers). Emmett was born in Alabama. William was the son of Burrell/Burwell C. Cooper and Laura Sophronia/Safronia Bull. Roxieann was the daughter of Willis Flowers and Anna R. Berry.

Anderson’s paternal grandmother was Rixie Annie-Jane/Jennie Almones Anderson (the daughter of William Michael Anderson and Sarah Ann/Annie Elizabeth Campbell). Rixie was born in Mississippi. Sarah was the daughter of Robert Fletcher Campbell and Rixie Ann Jane Lee.

Anderson’s maternal grandfather was Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt (the son of Cornelius Vanderbilt II and Alice Claypoole Gwynne). Reginald was born in New York. Cornelius was the son of William Henry “Billy” Vanderbilt and Maria Louisa/Louise Kissam. Alice was the daughter of Abraham Evan Gwynne and Rachel Moore “Cettie” Flagg.

Anderson’s maternal grandmother was Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt (born Maria Mercedes Morgan, the daughter of Harry/Henry Hayes Morgan, Sr. and Laura Delphine Kilpatrick Valdivieso). Gloria was born in Grand Hotel National, Lucerne, Switzerland, to American parents. Harry was the son of Philip Hickey Morgan and Beatrice Leslie Ford. Laura’s father, Anderson’s great-great-grandfather Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, was American, and was an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Laura’s mother, Anderson’s great-great-grandmother Luisa Fernández de Valdivieso/Valdives Aráoz, was Chilean, and had Spanish and Indigenous/Native ancestry.

Sources: Genealogies of Anderson Cooper –

Family histories of Anderson Cooper –

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Oprah Winfrey

by ethnic on June 5, 2009

Birth Name: Orpah Gail Winfrey

Place of Birth: Kosciusko, Mississippi, U.S.

Date of Birth: January 29, 1954

Ethnicity: African-American [including Kpelle, Bamileke, and Zambian]

Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. She is regarded as one of the most influential women in the world, and possibly the wealthiest African-American of the 20th century. She was the host of The Oprah Winfrey Show from 1986 to 2011.

Oprah’s parents, Vernon Winfrey and Vernita Lee, are both black. Her partner is author and public speaker Stedman Graham. Her birth name is Orpah, after the biblical figure, in the Book of Ruth. She uses the name Oprah, as people usually mispronounced it that way.

Oprah’s story is a rags-to-riches one. She was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to a single teenage mother. She herself became pregnant at the age of fourteen. Unfortunately, her baby died soon after birth. Despite her beginnings, Oprah finished school and received a scholarship into Tennessee State University, where she studied communications. At the age of seventeen, Oprah won the Miss Black Tennessee Beauty Pageant.

A DNA test whose results were displayed on the show African American Lives (2006) stated that Oprah’s genetic ancestry is:

*89% Sub-Saharan African
*8% Native American
*3% East Asian

“East Asian” may refer to more Native American roots. It is not clear if these lineages have been verified/documented genealogically. The same DNA test stated that Oprah has ancestry from the Kpelle people (from what is now Liberia), the Bamileke people (from Cameroon), and a Bantu-speaking tribe (from Zambia).

Oprah’s paternal grandfather was Elmore Winfrey (the son of Sanford Elias Winfrey and Ella Staples). Elmore was born in Mississippi. Sanford was the son of Constantine Winfrey, who was born a slave, in Georgia, and of Violet A. Nunn, who was also born a slave, in North Carolina. Constantine likely took his surname from a slave owner, Absalom F. Winfrey. Oprah’s great-grandmother Ella was the daughter of William Staples and Abigail Howard.

Oprah’s paternal grandmother was Beatrice Woods (the daughter of Thomas/Tom W. Woods and Hattie Ross). Beatrice was born in Mississippi. Thomas was the son of Monroe Woods and Henrietta. Hattie was the daughter of Simon Ross and Katie.

Oprah’s maternal grandfather was Earless/Earlist/Erlisst Lee (the son of Harold/Harry Lee and Elizabeth). Earless was born in Mississippi. Harold was born a slave in Mississippi. He was the son of John Lee and Grace.

Oprah’s maternal grandmother was Hattie Mae Presley/Pressley (the daughter of Nelson/Milton Alexander Presley/Pressley and Amanda Winters). Hattie was born in Mississippi. Amanda was the daughter of Pearce Winters and Henrietta.

A farmer named Noah Robinson, Sr. has stated that he is Oprah’s biological father. It is not clear if this claim has been investigated in any detail.

Sources: Genealogies of Oprah Winfrey –

The Guardian article on DNA tests among African-Americans, 2006 –

Helga Esteb /