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/Italian

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/Italian, ancestry.

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

He has four children, including politician and artist 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, possibly with Italian ancestry. Antoine’s 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 –

15 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    This record of Pearl Rosa Marinovich (Antoine Marinovich sister) states her father (Antoine Marinovich sr.) was born in Italy (Dubrovnik was known as Ragusa in fact ) and spoke Italian.

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