Tori Amos

VH1 Big In 2002 Awards - Arrivals

Birth Name: Myra Ellen Amos

Place of Birth: Catawba, North Carolina, U.S.

Date of Birth: August 22, 1963

Ethnicity: English and Scottish/Irish/Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, remote French

Tori Amos is an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. She is the daughter of Mary Ellen (Copeland) and The Rev. Dr. Edison McKinley Amos. She has English and Scottish/Irish/Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, and remote French, ancestry. Tori is married to English sound engineer Mark Hawley, with whom she has a daughter.

Tori has stated that both of her maternal grandparents had a “full-blooded Cherokee” Native American grandparent of their own (i.e. Tori has stated that two of her maternal great-great-grandparents were Cherokee). It is not clear if there is any genealogical evidence that Tori has Cherokee Native American ancestry.

The first of Tori’s great-great-grandparents cited as Cherokee was a woman named Margaret Loraine Little. Margaret is listed as “White” on United States Censuses. Margaret’s mother’s name is sometimes cited as Elizabeth J. McAllister.

The second of Tori’s great-great-grandparents cited as Cherokee was a man named John Akins. John’s son, Tori’s great-grandfather, John Calhoun Akins, is listed as “White” on United States Censuses.

Tori’s paternal grandfather was James Washington Amos (the son of James Pleasant/Pleasants Amos and Elizabeth Jones Slayden). Tori’s grandfather James was born in Virginia. Tori’s great-grandfather James was the son of William Franklin Amos and Frances/Fannie Jane Faudree. Elizabeth was the daughter of George Washington Slayden and Sarah Wood Clark.

Tori’s paternal grandmother was Addie Brown Allen (the daughter of Charles Peter Allen and Martha Ida Carter). Addie was born in Virginia. Charles was the son of James M. Allen and Nancy M. Gilley. Martha was the daughter of James Craig Carter and Rhoda Sophia Allison.

Tori’s maternal grandfather was Calvin Clinton Copeland (the son of James Monroe Copeland and Mary Lenida Rice). Calvin was born in Tennessee. James was the son of Anderson Jackson Copeland and Dorcas Isabella Hammontree. Mary was the daughter of Calvin Harper Rice and Margaret Loraine Little.

Tori’s maternal grandmother was Bertie Marie Akins (the daughter of John Calhoun Akins and Ellen Ida Johnson). Bertie was born in Tennessee. John was the son of John Akins and Sallie. Ellen was the daughter of Andrew McRobert Johnson and Sarah Boyd.

Sources: History of the Amos family –

Genealogies of Tori Amos –

Genealogy of Tori’s paternal great-grandfather, James Pleasant/Pleasants Amos (focusing on his own father’s side) –

Genealogy of Tori’s father (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Tori’s maternal great-great-grandparents, Calvin Harper Rice and Margaret Loraine Little, on the 1870 U.S. Census –
Calvin Harper Rice and Margaret Loraine Little on the 1880 U.S. Census –
Calvin Harper Rice and Margaret Loraine Little on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Tori’s maternal great-grandparents, John Calhoun Akins and Ellen Ida Johnson, on the 1900 U.S. Census –
John Calhoun Akins and Ellen Ida Johnson on the 1910 U.S. Census –
John Calhoun Akins and Ellen Ida Johnson on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Tori’s maternal great-grandfather, John Calhoun Akins (“John Aiken”), on the 1880 U.S. Census –

Photo by Prphotos


Curious about ethnicity

32 Responses

  1. Sebastiane says:

    I can definitely see the Cherokee in her, that must be where she gets her beautiful cheekbones!

  2. ethnic says:

    Thanks for that Derek.

  3. Derek says:

    I don’t think there is much support that she is Jewish. Some surnames have been used by both Christians and Jews for years. Amos is one of them. Someone can have a surname like Edwards or Anderson and still be Jewish via descent. Some can also have names like Rosenberg but are simply German Christians. It is really hard to tell for sure just by a surname.

  4. ethnic says:

    She is said to have dual nationality.

  5. watkinsheat says:

    I got on this site to find out where she was from, very surprised to find out shes from the United States as in many of her songs, she sounds like she has an accent from somewhere in the UK

    • Carnes001 says:

      That would be her Scottish heritage coming through by way of Appalachia. Her dads family comes from French & Scottish backgrounds and lived in the Smokey Mountains of Virginia. The further south you go in App, the deeper Scottish, Irish and Welsh the roots get. Our dialect has been studied by linguists for some time. Of course we’ve traded our accents but a great many quirks are still the same. She may be Ulster, as many are, but I find people make many mistakes by assuming all are by way of Ulster alone.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.