Joan Crawford

publicity photo of Joan Crawford c. 1936, George Hurrell

Birth Name: Lucille Fay LeSueur

Date of Birth: March 23, 1905

Place of Birth: San Antonio, Texas, U.S.

Date of Death: May 10, 1977

Place of Death: Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Ethnicity: English, small amounts of French, Welsh, and Dutch

Joan Crawford was an American actress, dancer, and chorine. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Mildred Pierce (1945).

Joan was the daughter of Anna Bell (Johnson) and Thomas E. LeSueur. She was married to businessperson Alfred Steele, until his death. Joan had five children, that she adopted, two of them with her former husband, actor Phillip Terry. Her brother was actor Hal LeSueur.

Joan had English, and small amounts of French, Welsh, and Dutch, ancestry.

Joan is sometimes said to have had some degree of Swedish ancestry on her mother’s side. To date, no Swedish ancestry has been verified/documented for Joan Crawford.

Joan’s paternal grandfather was James Howell LeSueur (the son of Samuel Wesley LeSueur and Mary Ann Jane LeSueur). James was born in Tennessee or Virginia. Samuel was the son of James LeSueur and Mary Ann Ayres Wilkerson. Joan’s great-grandmother Mary Ann Jane LeSueur was the daughter of Charles LeSueur and Susannah Hales/Hale “Susan” Ayres. Her paternal great-grandparents were cousins.

Joan’s paternal grandmother was Parmelia D. “Amelia” James (the daughter of James J. James and Rhonda Ball). Parmelia was born in Tennessee. Joan’s great-grandfather James was the son of John M. James and Mary G. Poor.

Joan’s maternal grandfather was Jesse Sylvester/Silvester L. Johnson (the son of Jesse S. Johnson and Louisa Tinley). Joan’s grandfather Jesse was born in Georgia or Indiana. Joan’s great-grandfather Jesse was the son of Jesse Johnson, from Georgia, and of Lucretia Griffin, from North Carolina.

Joan’s maternal grandmother was Mary Ellen Searles (the daughter of Joseph Allen Searles and Harriet L. Rhoads). Mary Ellen was born in Illinois or Minnesota. Joseph was the son of William Searles and Sarah Ann Stevens. Harriet was possibly the daughter of Samuel Van Meter Rhodes and Frances Keele.

Joan was descended from Dr. Pierre Chastain, born c. 1659, in Chârost, Cher, Centre-Val de Loire, a French Huguenot immigrant who is the ancestor of likely millions of Americans, including professional football player Terry Bradshaw, actress Jessica Chastain, and entertainer Chris Hardwick, among others.

Sources: Genealogies of Joan Crawford –

Joan’s maternal grandfather, Jesse Sylvester/Silvester L. Johnson, on the 1860 U.S. Census –
Jesse Sylvester/Silvester L. Johnson on the 1870 U.S. Census –

Joan’s maternal great-grandparents, Jesse S. Johnson and Louisa Tinley, on the 1880 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

16 Responses

  1. Preservationist says:

    Joan’s real surname here is misspelled. It’s LESUEUR.

    And Joan was born in San Angelo, Texas, not San Antonio.

  2. Preservationist says:

    Joan always claimed to be “Swedish and French Canadian” when, in fact, she was precisely what you have here. This is expert genealogy. She was mostly English, a bit of Dutch, and the LeSueur is Huguenot French. Impressive work to whomever did this genealogy. I adore Lucille Faye LeSueur.

  3. andrew says:

    His paternal great-grandparents (LeSuer) were cousins. Joan descends from Dr. Pierre Chastain, a French Huguenot immigrant who is the ancestor of thousands of Americans, like Terry Bradshaw, Jessica Chastain, Chris Hardwick and others.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.