Birth Name: James Scott Bumgarner
Date of Birth: April 7, 1928
Place of Birth: Norman, Oklahoma, U.S.
Date of Death: July 19, 2014
Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Ethnicity: English, Irish, German, remote Welsh and Swiss-German
James Garner was an American actor and producer. James was the son of Mildred Scott (Meek) and Weldon Warren Baumgarner. He was the brother of actor Jack Garner. He was married to Lois (Fleischman) Clarke, with whom he had two children.
He had English, Irish, German, and remote Welsh and Swiss-German, ancestry. The surname Bumgarner traces back to German ancestors.
James often stated that he had some degree of Cherokee Native American ancestry on his mother’s side. No Native American ancestry appears in family trees of James Garner. In their 2014 obituary of James Garner, The New York Times stated that James’s maternal grandfather, Charles Bailey Meek, was a “full-blooded Cherokee.” This statement is false. James’s maternal grandfather and his own parents, Thomas Jefferson Meek and Delilah Frances Bailey, were listed as “White” on United States Censuses, and James’s grandfather’s ancestry, which is fairly well documented, contains no evident Cherokee antecedents.
James’s paternal grandfather was William Wilson Bumgarner (the son of John H. Bumgarner and Catherine Landers). William was born in Arkansas. John was the son of Woodford Bumgarner and Rebecca C. Heffner/Hefner. Catherine was born in Arkansas, to Irish parents.
James’s paternal grandmother was Louella E. Briggs (the daughter of Levi Leander Briggs and Narcisus/Narcissus/Nora Bough/Baugh). Louella was born in Arkansas. Levi was the son of James C./Jefferson Briggs and Rebecca George.
James’s maternal grandfather was Charles Bailey “Charley” Meek (the son of Thomas Jefferson Meek and Delilah/Delila Frances “Fannie” Bailey). Charles was born in Arkansas. Thomas was the son of Franklin M. Meek and Martha Ann Harwell/Hartwell. Delilah was the daughter of Cincinnatus Ney Brooks and Mary Jane Bailey.
James’s maternal grandmother was Abbie Lillian Womack (the daughter of John David Womack and Minnie Glorietta/Gorietta Neher). Abbie was born in Texas. John was the son of The Rev. Dr. John Crossley/Crosley Womack and Sarah Jane Williamson. Minnie was the daughter of John George Neher, who was German, from Württemberg, and of Mary Mazie Riggs.
James was a fourth cousin of actress Vivian Vance, through their shared ancestors John Thomas Bumgarner and Nancy Rockett. Professional baseball player Madison Bumgarner is also descended from John, and his wife Nancy Schaefer.
James’s maternal grandfather, Charles Bailey “Charley” Meek, on the 1880 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Information on James’s maternal grandfather’s Meek family – http://meekgenealogy.com
James’s maternal grandmother, Abbie Lillian Womack, on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org