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 records country, folk, pop, rock, blues, and Americana. Her songs include “Seven Year Ache,” “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me,” and “A Feather’s Not A Bird;” the latter is part of her “The River & the Thread” album, with her husband and collaborator, musician, producer, and songwriter John Leventhal. She has written fiction and essays across major magazines and publications.

She is the daughter of author Vivian Cash (born Vivian Dorraine Liberto) and singer, songwriter, musician, and actor Johnny Cash. She has three children with her former husband, country music singer and songwriter Rodney Crowell; and a son with John Leventhal.

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’s father –

Genealogy of Rosanne’s mother –

39 Responses

  1. noonedropclowns says:

    The One Drop Clowns on here are very uninformed. It’s also closer to 1/64 Black ancestry for Rosanne. The enslaved woman who had children with the white slave, master william shields, wasn’t fully African. And Vivian’s other THIRTY ONE great great great grandparents were ALL WHITE/EUROPEAN. Truly insignificant. I know the sound out of you ever explore her for deeper German roots!

  2. Ethnicity37 says:

    Vivian’s dad was 100% Sicilian and many of them have indirect African ancestry. Add on, Vivian’s mom had some African -Vivian is most likely a genetic throwback. Vivian’s family was accepted as white-they weren’t passing. Her father was well-known in his community. It was only until Vivian’s picture was on display that it caused her some problems. In colored photos, she looks Italian/Sicilian. In black and white photos, she looks like a mixed or black woman.

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