Birth Name: Ava Lavinia Gardner
Date of Birth: December 24, 1922
Place of Birth: Brogden, Johnston, North Carolina, U.S.
Date of Death: 25 January, 1990
Place of Death: Westminster, London, England, U.K.
Ethnicity: English, as well as distant Scottish
Ava Gardner was an American actress and singer. She was the daughter of Mary Elizabeth “Mollie” (Baker) and Jonas Bailey Gardner.
Ava’s paternal grandfather was James Bailey Gardner (the son of William Gardner and Cynthia Eliza Batts). James was born in North Carolina. William was the son of William Gardner and Nancy Poteet. Cynthia was the daughter of Bailey Batts and Esther/Easter Jordan.
Ava’s paternal grandmother was Mary Elizabeth/Mollie Dildy/Dilda (the daughter of Benjamin/Benj Dildy/Dilda and Mathilda/Matilda/Mattie Cobb). Mary Elizabeth was born in North Carolina. Benjamin was the son of Jesse Dilday/Dilda/Dildy and Ivy/Avy Matthews/May. Mathilda was the daughter of Jonas Gray Cobb and Elizabeth Cherry.
Ava’s maternal grandfather was King David Baker (the son of James Baker and Temperance Ellis). King was born in North Carolina. James was the son of James S. Baker and Nancy Stillwell. Temperance was the daughter of Archelaus Ellis and Frances/Fannie Lewis.
Ava’s maternal grandmother was Mary Elizabeth Forbes (the daughter of Hiram/Hyrum Forbes and Millicent Ann “Milly” Harrell). Mary Elizabeth was born in North Carolina. Hiram was the son of Arthur Forbes and Beatrice Beaty/Beady. Millicent was the daughter of John Webb and Mary Polly Harrell.
Ava has sometimes been described as having had Irish and Scots-Irish/Northern Irish ancestry. It is not clear if these lineages have been verified/documented. The surname Forbes, which appears in Ava’s recent family tree, could indicate Scottish ancestry, although it is not clear if any of Ava’s family lines have explicitly been traced to Scotland.
It has also sometimes been claimed that Ava had African-American, Native American, or Melungeon ancestry. It is also not clear if any of these lineages have been documented/verified. No African-American, Native American, or Melungeon ancestry appears in publicly available family trees of Ava Gardner.
Ava’s paternal great-grandparents, William Gardner and Cynthia Eliza Batts, were also the paternal great-great-great-great-grandparents of actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead. This makes Eva and Mary Elizabeth second cousins, three times removed.
Sources: Genealogies of Ava Gardner – http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com
Genealogy of Ava Gardner (focusing on her father’s side) – http://www.geni.com
Ava’s paternal grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Dilda/Dildy, on the 1850 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Jonas used to be a very common name in southern US, especially among WASPs, Alonzo and Maria Louisa too, interesting…
According to most genealogies, Ava Gardner had 1/128 Scottish ancestry (on Cobb line) through Col. John Gray, born c.1691 in Barony, Lanarkshire:
Also her 2nd great-grandmother Nancy Poteet (daughter of James Poteet and Elizabeth Crabtree) carried this non-British surname. Though Ancestry.com believes it’s of French Huguenot origin (from “Petit”, various spellings), Geni.com and Familysearch traces this family back to Italy, making Ava 1/256 Italian.
Nancy tree: https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/G8PB-JFG
A few descendants here:
Yeah, well, that’s highly unverified.
And geni takes it back a few more generations. I don’t know if any books or scholarly research says Italy.
He possibly belonged to this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldensians
The fact that a descendant of the Poteet family described themselves as Italian in the mid 1700s in Maryland is discussed in the Mertz Genealogy link.
Whether you have one, which is your personal opinion about the origin of this surname?
Me, I think it’s a variation of Italian surname “Potito”.
Also reported here; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/249846432_Genealogical_Evidence_and_the_Americanization_of_European_Family_Names
These Poteets even use an Italian flag in their site: https://fortheloveofcambrie.weebly.com/italian-ancestry.html#