Alicia Keys

Keys in 2007, stocklight /

Birth Name: Alicia J. Augello-Cook

Place of Birth: Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: January 25, 1980

*father – African-American
*maternal grandfather – Italian/Sicilian
*maternal grandmother – English, Irish, Scottish

Alicia Keys is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and record producer. She is also known as Lellow.

Alicia’s father, Craig Cook, is African-American, and Alicia’s mother, Terri (Augello), is white. Alicia’s maternal grandfather was of Italian/Sicilian descent, while Alicia’s maternal grandmother was of English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry, with several of her family lines leading back to Connecticut of the 1600s. Alicia is married to hip hop recording artist and record producer Swizz Beatz, with whom she has two children.

Alicia has stated that as she grew up in New York she never had to experience feeling “not Black enough” or “not White enough.” However, she became comfortable with her biracial heritage as it allows her to relate to different cultures. She has said, “A lot of people believe I’m part Jamaican, though I’m not. I’m definitely black and Italian and a little Irish or Scottish.”

Alicia’s paternal grandfather is named Michael Cook.

Alicia’s maternal grandfather was Joseph Lawrence Augello (the son of Michelangelo/Michael Angelo Augello and Mary Carmen Zaffina). Joseph was born in Pennsylvania, to Italian parents. Alicia’s great-grandfather Michael was from Sciacca, Province of Agrigento, Sicily. Alicia’s great-grandmother Mary was the daughter of Giuseppe Zaffina and Rosa Scardamaglia, from Nicastro and Sambiase, now Lamezia Terme, Province of Catanzaro, Calabria.

Alicia’s maternal grandmother was Donna Jean Smith (the daughter of Thad T. Smith and Irma Margaret Heald). Donna was born in Michigan. Thad was the son of Henry Harrison Smith and Mary S. Jordan. Irma was the daughter of George Webster Heald and Margaret Ruxton. Alicia’s grandmother Donna’s ancestry was largely English, with many roots in New England, going back to the 1600s, and some ancestors who lived in Canada. She also had Irish and Scottish ancestry.

Keys with husband Swizz Beatz in 2010, Debby Wong /

Sources: Genealogy of Alicia Keys –

Genealogies of Alicia Keys (focusing on her mother’s side) –

Notations about Alicia’s Italian background –

Alicia’s maternal grandfather, Joseph Lawrence Augello, on 1940 U.S. Census –

Passenger record of Alicia’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Giuseppe Zaffina –

Passenger record of Alicia’s maternal great-great-grandmother, Rosa Scardamaglia –

Obituary of Alicia’s maternal grandmother, Donna Jean (Smith) Augello –


Curious about ethnicity

265 Responses

  1. dlxzvs says:

    correction caucasian should be changed to white

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