Keith Ellison

official U.S. Congress photo of Keith Ellison, Online Guide to House Members and Senators

Birth Name: Keith Maurice Ellison

Place of Birth: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.

Date of Birth: August 4, 1963

Ethnicity: African-American, along with some Louisiana Creole [African, French], Spanish, and Cuban, and 1.5/32 Dalmatian/Croatian

Keith Ellison is an American politician and lawyer. A member of the Democratic Party, he has served as Attorney General of Minnesota, since January 7, 2019. He was previously a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota, from January 3, 2007 to January 3, 2019, and Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee, from February 25, 2017 to November 8, 2018. He was the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress.

Keith is the son of Clida Cora (Martinez) and Leonard E. Ellison, a social worker and a psychiatrist. His father is African-American. His mother is of one eighth Spanish, one eighth Cuban, as well as African-American, Louisiana Creole, and 1.5/16 Dalmatian/Croatian, ancestry.

Keith was raised a Roman Catholic. He converted to Islam at the age of nineteen.

He has four children, including politician Jeremiah Ellison, with his former wife Kim.

Keith is a second cousin, once removed, of stand-up comedian and actor Brandon T. Jackson, through their shared Ellison line.

Keith’s paternal grandfather was Zollie/Zolly Crawford Ellison (the son of Zollie Crawford Ellison and Lula/Lucy Ann Striggles). Keith’s grandfather Zollie was born in Georgia or West Virginia. Keith’s great-grandfather Zollie was born into slavery, the son of Jacob Ellison and Jane Parris. Lula was the daughter of Archibald Striggles and Eliza Lovette.

Keith’s paternal grandmother was Marian/Marion Staley (the daughter of Samuel F. Staley and Flora Bellamy). Marian was born in Florida.

Keith’s maternal grandfather was Frank Maurice Martinez (the son of George A. Martinez and Clida/Clyda/Clydia Chester). Frank was born in Louisiana. George was born in Louisiana, to a Spanish father, Manuel Martinez, and a Cuban mother, and was listed as “Black” or “Mulatto” on censuses. Clida was African-American, from Texas, and her parents were from Alabama.

Keith’s maternal grandmother was Doris Felicia Balthazar (the daughter of Carroll Augustin Balthazar and Cora Marinovich). Doris was born in Louisiana. Carroll was the son of Francois Paul Balthazar, who was Louisiana Creole, of African (including Ewe Togolese) and French descent, and of Martha Jones, who was African-American. Keith’s great-grandmother Cora was the daughter of Antoine Marinovich and Felicite/Felicia/Felice Beaudoin; Antoine’s father, Antoine Marinovich, was a Croatian immigrant, and his mother, Marie Semelia Givanovich, was born in Louisiana, to a Croatian father, Marco Givanovich, from Prozura, Mljet, and a Creole American mother. Keith’s Croatian roots are Dalmatian, from Dubrovnik, a city on the Adriatic Sea, now in southern Croatia.

Sources: Family history of Keith Ellison –

Genealogies of Keith Ellison (focusing on his father’s side) –

Keith’s paternal grandfather, Zollie/Zolly Crawford Ellison, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Keith Ellison (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Keith’s maternal grandfather, Frank Maurice Martinez, on the 1920 U.S. Census –
Frank Maurice Martinez on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Keith’s paternal great-grandparents, George A. Martinez and Clida/Clyda/Clydia Chester, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Death record of Keith’s paternal great-grandfather, George A. Martinez –

Keith’s maternal grandmother, Doris Felicia Balthazar, on the 1920 U.S. Census –
Doris Felicia Balthazar on the 1930 U.S. Census –

14 Responses

  1. madman says:

    George Martinez was the son of Manuel Martinez.

    This census says both his parents were born in Louisiana, not in Spain and Cuba. Wonder what’s going on with that.

  2. andrew says:

    The Republic of Ragusa is officially known as Dubrovnik only since 1919.

    Ragusa was an independent republic governed since the Middle Ages by a Latin/Italian oligarchy, and considered the fifth Italian Maritime Republic (after Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi)

    Given his Dalmatian ancestor surnames, which sound Slavicized, I doubt they were “Croatian”.

    Keith’s Dalmatian roots are specifically from:

    Marie Givanovich’s mother was of “mixed Creole heritage”:

  3. andrew says:

    Dubrovnik was also known with the Italian name “Ragusa” (under Austria) back then:

  4. madman says:

    He isn’t 1/16th Croatian, his mother is.

    • bablah says:

      In his book Keith writes:
      ”On her father’s side, my mother is descended from Calise Martinez from Seville, Spain. She even has some relatives fom Croatia: Marco Givanovich and Antoine Marinovich, an uncle-nephew team who emigrated in 1835 from what today is Dubrovnik, a city on the Dalmatian coast. Records from the time list Antoine Marinovich as a bachelor, but he had several children none of whom was legally acknowledged because of mother’s African heritage.”

      One family tree has Msrie as the daughter of Marco Givanovich.

      Also from a facebook group:
      ”Marinovich was the unofficial son-in-law of Givanovich. Marinovich; and the Givanovich daughter with whom Marinovich lived out his years but could not legally marry would eventually own much of Givanovich’s property.”

      From a different source:
      ”Marco Givanovich, a bachelor not nearly the cultivated gentleman that his uncle had been, led a free rollicking life with the result that many in the vicinity claimed to be his descendants. He had made a fortune and also, in his spare time, raised a family of quadroon children. The Plantation, located on the Cane River, was a going concern until his death in 1896. The will showed that the entire estate was left to a nephew in Dalmatia with the nephew dying in 1926 and leaving the estate to seven children.”

      • madman says:

        Interesting, I wondered if Marie had Croatian ancestry too.

        Change to:
        Cora was the daughter of Antoine Marinovich and Felicite/Felicia/Felice Beaudoin; Antoine’s father, Antoine Marinovich, was a Croatian immigrant, and his mother, Marie Semelia Givanovich, a was born in Louisiana, to a Croatian father and a black American mother.

  5. madman says:

    If it is verified that Keith is a descendant of Antoine Marinovich, I’d change to 1/16th Croatian.

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