Elvis Presley

Presley in 1970, by Ollie Atkins, chief White House photographer

Birth Name: Elvis Aron Presley

Date of Birth: January 8, 1935

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

Date of Death: August 16, 1977

Place of Death: Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.

Ethnicity: English, Scottish, along with some German and French, remote Dutch and Danish, possibly other

Elvis Presley was an American singer, musician, and actor. He was known as the “King of Rock and Roll.”

Elvis was the son of Gladys Love (Smith) and Vernon Elvis Presley. With his former wife, actress and businessperson Priscilla Presley, he was the father of singer and songwriter Lisa Marie Presley, and the grandfather of model/actress Riley Keough. Born with the middle name Aron, he later began using the spelling Aaron.

Much of Elvis’s ancestry was English. He also had Scottish, some German and French, and remote Dutch and Danish, ancestry, the latter two from ancestors born in the 1500s. Genealogical research usually indicates that Elvis was descended from a man named Andreas “Andrew” Preslar (later Presley), who was born, c. 1701, in Germany, the son of Valentine Preslar and Anna Christian Framse. Various reports that Elvis’s Presley line originates in Ireland and/or Scotland appear to be incorrect (see here and here).

Elvis’s paternal grandfather was named Jesse/Jessie Dunnan McClowell Presley (the son of an unknown father, possibly John Wallace, and of Martha Rosella Presley). Jessie was born in Mississippi. Martha was the daughter of Dunnan/Dunnin Presley, Jr. and Martha Jane Wesson.

Elvis’s paternal grandmother was Minnie Mae Hood (the daughter of William H. Hood and Mary L. Warren). Minnie was born in Mississippi. William was the son of Joshua Hood and Margaret Johnson. Mary L. was the daughter of William D. Warren and Minerva J.

Elvis’s maternal grandfather was Robert Lee Smith (the son of Mileage/Miledge Obediah “Obe” Smith and Ann Mansell/Mansel). Robert was born in Mississippi. Ann was the daughter of John Mansell and Elizabeth “Betsy” Gilmore.

Elvis’s maternal grandmother was Octavia Lavenia “Dollie” Mansell (the daughter of A. White Mansell and Martha Tackett). Octavia was born in Mississippi. Elvis’s grandparents Robert and Octavia were first cousins. A. White Mansell was the son of John Mansell and Elizabeth “Betsy” Gilmore. Martha was the daughter of Abner Tackett.

Elvis’s ancestor, Morning Dove White, who was his maternal great-great-great-grandmother twice over, is said to have been a Cherokee Native American woman. The story of Morning’s marriage to a caucasian man, William Mansell, Elvis’s great-great-great-grandfather, is known among family researchers. However, it is not clear if any documentary evidence has been produced that Morning Dove White was of Native American ancestry. At least one census entry for Morning Dove White’s son, John Mansell, describes him as “White.” Several other census listings of Morning’s other children list them as “White” as well. Research has shown that it is unlikely that Morning Dove White was a Cherokee, although it is possible that she had ancestry from another tribe. Background information on this can be found here.

There is a claim that Elvis’s matrilineal great-great-grandmother, said to have been named Nancy J. Burdine, was Jewish. It is possible that Elvis and his family believed this, as well. However, research has shown this claim of Jewish ancestry to be highly unlikely, and that Elvis’s matrilineal great-great-grandmother was almost certainly a different woman, Celia Anne/Ann Butler. It is not clear if Nancy Burdine actually existed, much less was Jewish and/or an ancestor of Elvis. Elvis’s great-great-grandfather, Abner Tackett, was not Jewish. Some background information on this can be found here (see “24. Blue Christmas”) and here (from Jim W. Tackitt, of the Tackett Family Association).

Some have also stated that Elvis had Romani ancestry. It is not clear if this claim has ever been verified/documented, either.

Elvis was a seventh cousin, once removed, of actress Britt Robertson. Elvis’s paternal six times great-grandparents, Andreas “Andrew” Preslar and Antje “Ann” Wells, were also the seven times great-grandparents of Britt Robertson. He was also a fourth cousin, twice removed, of professional football player Brock Purdy. Elvis’s paternal great-great-great-grandparents, Dunning “Dunnan” John Presley and Elizabeth, were also Brock’s paternal five times great-grandparents.

Sources: Genealogies of Elvis Presley – http://www.geni.com

Discussion of Elvis’s possible Native American ancestry – https://www.wikitree.com

Elvis’s maternal great-great-grandfather, John Mansell, on the 1850 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Marriage record of Elvis’s maternal great-grandparents, A. White Mansell and Martha Tackett – https://www.familysearch.org

Genealogy of Elvis’s maternal great-grandmother, Martha Tackett – http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com

Death record of Elvis’s maternal great-great-uncle (great-grandmother’s brother), Sidney Tackett – https://www.findagrave.com
Death record of Elvis’s maternal great-great-uncle (great-grandmother’s brother), Jerome L. Tackett – https://www.findagrave.com

Elvis’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Abner Tackett, on the 1870 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org


Curious about ethnicity

194 Responses

  1. Dannon says:

    Brock Purdy, not Brocky :3

  2. pookerella says:


    Snopes deeply investigates claims. Unless DNA says it’s not, this should be taken as correct. But remember Ashkenazi and RELIGION can be two different things. Someone who is not ethnically Jewish but converted is still Jewish. Someone who converts to Catholicism from Judaism is still Ashkenazi.

    • follers says:

      There’s no genealogical evidence that this particular Nancy Burdine existed, much less that she was Presley’s great-great-grandmother, or was Jewish. Snopes doesn’t offer any, either.

      They also list this humorous anecdote:
      “According to Max Wallace and Jonathan Goldstein, authors of “Schmelvis: In Search of Elvis Presley’s Jewish Roots,” Nancy Burdine “probably” came from a family that immigrated from Lithuania around the time of the American Revolution.”

      Other than army generals, were there a whole lot of people from Lithuania going to the U.S. in 1776?

    • drzaius21 says:

      Didn’t you read the profile information, they already have dismissed the genealogical connection for Elvis being Jewish.

  3. RamboJohnJ says:

    Elvis was proud of his Indian heritage this page is an insult to him. If he was alive he would say he’s part Indian and proud

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