China Forbes

Forbes in 2004, photo by Prphotos

Place of Birth: Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.

Date of Birth: April 29, 1970

*father – Scottish, French, English
*mother – African-American

China Forbes is an American singer and songwriter. She is the lead singer for band Pink Martini. She is the daughter of Peggy Woodford and Donald Cameron Forbes. Her sister is writer, director, and producer Maya Forbes.

China’s father was white and China’s mother is black. China’s father had Scottish, French, and English ancestry. All of China’s maternal grandparents and great-grandparents were black.

A picture of China’s mother can be seen here.

China is a fifth cousin, once removed, of politician John Kerry. China’s paternal five times great-grandparents, The Rev. John Forbes and Dorothy Murray, were also John’s maternal four times great-grandparents. China is also related to singer Ed Droste, of the band Grizzly Bear.

China’s paternal grandfather was Gordon Donald Forbes (the son of Gerrit Forbes and Marthe De La Fruglaye). Gordon was born in Hendon, Middlesex, England. Gerrit was American, from Milton, Massachusetts, and was the son of John Malcolm Forbes and Sarah Coffin Jones. Martha was French.

China’s paternal grandmother was Faith Fisher (the daughter of Richard Thornton Fisher and Georgina Paine). Faith was born in Massachusetts. Richard was the son of Edward Thornton Fisher and Ellen Bowditch Thayer. Georgina was the daughter of Charles Jackson Paine and Julia Bryant. China’s great-great-grandfather Charles was a railroad executive, soldier, and yachtsman. He was a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Through Charles, China is a great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Robert Treat Paine, who signed the United States Declaration of Independence.

China’s maternal grandfather was Hackley Elbridge Woodford (the son of Thomas Elbridge Woodford and Bessie/Bassie Agnes Hackley). China’s grandfather Hackley was born in Michigan. Thomas was the son of Thomas Woodford and Mary A. Bennett. Bessie was the daughter of Jerome Irenious Hackley and Molly Burnett.

China’s maternal grandmother was Mary Imogene Steele (the daughter of Percy Howard Steele and Mary Imogene Lavenia Waring). China’s grandmother Mary was born in Maryland. Percy likely was the son of James Campbell Steele and Mary Johnson. China’s great-grandmother Mary was the daughter of James Henry Nelson Waring and Caroline/Carrie Alexine Brown.

Sources: Profile of China’s family –

Obituary of China’s paternal grandmother, Faith (Fisher) Forbes –

China’s maternal grandfather, Hackley Elbridge Woodford, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

China’s maternal grandmother, Mary Imogene Steele, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

2 Responses

  1. Akwaba says:

    Her mother does not look African American, she looks more Eurasian

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