Rosanne Cash

Cash in 2015, photo by kathclick/

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

Date of Birth: May 24, 1955

Ethnicity: Italian/Sicilian (maternal grandfather), English, smaller amounts of Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Scottish, Irish, German, around 1/32 African-American

Rosanne Cash is an American singer, songwriter, and author. She is the daughter of author Vivian Cash (born Vivian Dorraine Liberto) and singer, songwriter, musician, and actor Johnny Cash.

Rosanne is married to musician, producer, and songwriter John Leventhal. She has three children with her former husband, country music singer and songwriter Rodney Crowell; and a son with John.

A DNA test whose results were displayed on the show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2021) stated that Rosanne’s genetic ancestry is:

*92.3% European
*3.8% Western Asian
*3.3% Sub-Saharan African
*0.6% Unassigned

During their marriage, Rosanne’s parents were often the subject of racist attacks by people who believed that Rosanne’s mother Vivian was a black woman. Genealogical researchers for the show discovered that Rosanne’s mother was of approximately 1/32 African descent, unbeknownst to the family, with DNA research indicating that Rosanne’s father Johnny likely had a similar percentage of African ancestry.

Genetically, Rosanne was found to have a common ancestor with actress Angela Bassett.

Rosanne’s paternal grandfather was Raymond Cash (the son of The Rev. William Henry Cash and Rebecca Sara/Sarah Jane Overton). Raymond was born in Arkansas. The Rev. William was the son of Moses Reuben/Ruben Cash and Pheletia/Philisia/Phelitia White Taylor. Rebecca was the daughter of John Hubbard Woodson Overton and Susan Wilkinson Whorton.

Rosanne’s paternal grandmother was Carrie Cloveree Rivers (the daughter of John Lewis Rivers and Rosanna Lee Hurst). Carrie was born in Arkansas. John was the son of William Jasper Rivers and Lydia Jane Massey. Rosanne’s great-grandmother Rosanna was the daughter of Philip James Hurst and Mary Ann Gainey.

Rosanne’s maternal grandfather was Thomas Peter Liberto (the son of Rosario “Frank” Liberto and Angelina Rinaudo). Thomas was born in Texas, to Italian parents, from Cefalù, Palermo, Sicily. Rosario was the son of Salvatore Liberto and Venera Sesio/Serio. Angelina was the daughter of Salvatore Rinando and Rose Valenziana.

Rosanne’s maternal grandmother was Irene Robinson (the daughter of George Edgar Robinson and Dora Minnie Robinson). Irene was born in Texas. George was the son of Benjamin Franklin Robinson and Mattie E. Haynes. Dora was the daughter of Lafayette Carberson Robinson and Zereldia/Zeralda/Zerilda Ann Ewers.

Lafayette’s mother, Rosanne’s great-great-great-grandmother Sarah A. Shields, was born a slave, the daughter of William Bryant Shields, a white slave owner, and of his black slave. William freed Sarah in 1848, along with his eight other children, who were also born into slavery. Sarah married a white man, Anderson Robinson, in 1838, while she was still legally a slave.

Sources: Genealogy of Rosanne Cash –

Genealogy of Rosanne Cash (focusing on her father’s side) –

Genealogy of Rosanne’s father –

Genealogy of Rosanne’s mother –

7 Responses

  1. Mr. Postman says:

    I totally understand why Vivian’s family passed. But looking at her pictures, I’m shocked they were able to pull it off.

    • ashash says:

      Vivian and her family didn’t know they had any African ancestry. Her maternal great-great grandmother was mixed-race and decided to pass. Vivian was around 1/32 African.

      So was Johnny Cash, by the way. DNA testing found that Johnny, like his former wife Vivian, was also around 1/32 African. He also had an African-American ancestor who decided to pass.

      • andrew says:

        Who is this rumoured Cash’s non white ancestor. I found nothing.

        • ashash says:

          No rumored non-white ancestor. When Rosanne took her DNA test, they found that her father had about the same amount of African ancestry as her mother, both being about 1/32 SSA. Where did that come from on Johnny’s side? Who knows? But more than likely he also had an ancestor who passed.

  2. Ethnicity37 says:

    I knew it!!!!!!! Her mother is majority European. Her mother clearly does look like a black woman with mixed ancestries, however, some Italians and/ or Sicilians look that way as well.

  3. andrew says:

    In fact Cash’s wife did not look Sicilian at all but clearly mixed-race.

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