The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, has passed away. Can you help connect her to our family tree?

+27 votes
One of the most influential voices in music, Aretha Franklin, passed away early this morning. I went to look at her profile to update it and found there wasn't one. I did her the honor this morning, but now she needs connected to our tree. I plan on continuing to improve her profile over the next few days. Do we have some folks here ready to show Ms. Aretha some R-E-S-P-E-C-T and connect her to the rest of us? Many thanks in advance. Rest in peace, Aretha.
WikiTree profile: Aretha Franklin
in Genealogy Help by Abby Glann G2G6 Pilot (559k points)

7 Answers

+24 votes
Got her father added. Working on his profile.
by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (967k points)
Thanks, Natalie!
Liz Marshall has it now. She already started a profile and has her mother's going too.
+10 votes

Go Abby! GO!!

Aretha needs a place at WT and deserves to be connected. Wish I could be of any help. 

Well I can give you some inspiring music at your research! What a women she was! May she RIP! 


by Astrid Spaargaren G2G6 Pilot (257k points)
+11 votes
I love Aretha Franklin. What an inspiration she was to so many people, and will continue to be.

Thank you Abby for thinking of this, and bringing RESPECT to Aretha, because she really was a NATURAL WOMAN, and I never heard that she was involved in a CHAIN OF FOOLS.

I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER for the loss of this DO RIGHT WOMAN, and THINK, that what everyone is doing here is not DAY DREAMIN, but ROCK STEADY sweet.

by Cheryl Hess G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
Well said Cheryl.  I love your answer.
Thank you, Karen. You are so sweet to say so!
Thank you, Karen, for selecting my answer!
+6 votes
Resurrecting this old thread...

I noticed she's still not connected, so I'm working on adding family. Could be a long road ahead, but hopefully it will end in a connection somewhere. So far I've started with her brother Vaughn, who was married to a Dunn (added that line), who one of them was married to a Green/Greene (added that line), who one of them was married to a Hall (working on adding that line). If anyone wants to jump in and help, I'm happy to share. You can either work on the same line I'm working on, or pick a similar approach with perhaps a different sibling. Just figured I'd pick a spot and go forward and hope that it leads to a connection.
by Scott Fulkerson G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
I have wanted to feature Aretha for a long time-I have been a huge fan all my life. I just managed to get Toni Morrison connected, so maybe some of that good juju can carry over here. If this week doesn't get crazy, I'll jump in and help!

Wow, thanks Abby for getting Toni Morrison connected! 

Aretha should have been featured the week after her death in August 2018 (I remember well as that would have displaced a profile the France project had been working on laugh), but she could not be connected in time. In the same line of thought, a few days ago I picked up the profile for Sara Martin and added a bit of family around her.

Scott - I'm trying to add to the Raine line (for the husband of another of the Dunn siblings).

I wanted to feature Aretha then, but the connection held us up. We'll see if we can't get her ready for a feature sometime in the near future!
Finally got the Hall line added. Looking at a Jackson line now.
Well, so far, I've got Aretha Franklin to Rufus Jackson - 10 steps.

Franklin-10478 to Jackson-38086

I'll get the rest of the Jackson line added and see where we go from there. I'm seeing an Adams and Pair line from here, and maybe a Clancy line. I've been leaving several behind as I've made my way along that could lead towards something, but so far no connection.

I went 10 steps away following another path, to Alice Compton Dixon. Or to Catherine Walker Marshall. Lost count of the number of profiles created and still have no idea where I'm going. Alice Dixon had a lot of other children. There may be interesting lines to explore from Vera A Williams, for instance. 

I was able to connect the Jackson line to a Richardson line that was already on WikiTree, but sadly, that segment was also not connected. But at least the two islands are together now. Thank you to the PM who hasn't had any contributions to WikiTree for 4 years, but was amazing in responding to a Trusted List request.
And most of the profiles on that island are red-locked, so while I can see many of them from the one that I've now got access to, I'm not sure how many of them might still be living (many born 1930-1950) so I'm a bit hesitant to press for private information, just in case. I'll see if I can bark up another tree or assist Nikki with the Mingo Lowe research below.

I also found a connection to another existing "island" of profiles, but it is also unconnected. Anyway... this leads me to a person with a linked father who is different from the one listed on census enumerations, so I'm a bit perplexed and hesitant to continue. I think there would be possibilities of a connection via the linked father, but I could see expanding his family by adding his other children causing problems down the road. See Celia Mae Mathis.

I think I've got her connected. We'll see in 24 hours if that shows up. The profile that got the connection is actually 20 steps from her.
Fantastic! Thanks for all of that work, Isabelle.
Very nice! The connection is showing up this morning!

Thank you, Isabelle!!!
+4 votes
I did some more work on her tree. Sometimes it is easier to connect African-Americans to the global wikitree by finding a connection to a white person. I was unable to find such a marriage in her family tree but did find a Mingo LOWE mulatto on the 1870 census ...

His father was probably a slave of Joseph Arrington and his mother was probably a slave of George Tankersley.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find documents to prove a mixed race relationship and it would probably take interested descendants to take dna tests.

I pretty much searched all possible trees for any possible sources for Mingo Lowe. Perhaps someone can find other sources from different repositories ? For instance, I am not an experienced FamilySearch user.
by N Gauthier G2G6 Pilot (204k points)
+7 votes
Aretha is connected, as of today. 44 degrees from Henry VIII, 45 from B.W.J. and 46 from Molly Pitcher, though.
by Isabelle Martin G2G6 Pilot (480k points)
And I see you've already seen it as well - Thanks!
I kind of fell into a large line that I'll probably finish even now that the connection is completed, since I found one that had a reasonable number of profiles to create that has the added bonus of connecting to the global tree.
Oh, thanks for adding more to that bunch, Scott. I've been marking several profiles as needing more family added too. If they are bringing a second connection, so much the better.
Scott, was it you that got her connected? Thanks! I tried for a while but never found anything good. Glad you got her done in advance of the connect a thon! Now there can be a ton more relevant profiles near the connection added too.
That is great Isabelle, that you were able to connect Aretha! I worked on it but was not able to connect her. Can you please share the name where you connected her to and I will look it up in the relationship finder. I would like to learn how you did it and gain a tip on how to link other African American connections. Thanks a lot.

Hi N, I have to admit I looked in all directions a bit haphazardly. I found a family cluster with a lot of obituaries on FamilySearch and on one of those I noticed the name of a son-in-law who I guessed could be white. This marriage was between the son of Bensen-84 and his wife, and the daughter of Sylvia Trenier and her husband. The connecting profile is Candebat-13, his father was already on WikiTree. That said, I believe every connection will be different, especially with African-Americans. The good news is that we can expand many of the black families who were started on the path to connect Aretha and thay may help connect others. 

Edit to add: Once the Bensen family was reached, I still had to find a connection (but I knew then that it was a matter of time). I looked for remarkable/ususual names in the marriages of siblings, uncles and aunts, and checked what existed on WikiTree. Those French names are tricky because they are often badly mangled in indexes. It helped that I'm French. (edited for privacy).

Thanks for replying and your hard work on Aretha's line. Great to have her connected and that all these connections everyone has made of other clusters will probably help us to connect up more African-American lines.

I've edited my answer above, and I'd like to add, along the way there was a family who could be easily traced to the 1860 census. I put a note about who I think their owners had been, and there's a possibility they were descendants of said owners, because they were quite fair-skinned. Perhaps someone with more experience with slavery resources could research that. The relevant profiles are Collins-26434 (you can see his picture here) and his father. 

Unfortunately I couldn't get the connection finder to search within 30 degrees. It looks like it has been changed from when I last used it. It keeps me returning to the relationship finder. Is there a direct link for the connection finder that will not send me back to the relationship finder ?

Does this work?

That's from the connection links at the bottom of Aretha's profile. Sylvia Trenier is on the path, Bensen-84 is not but his wife, Fortier-1998, is. 

yes that worked ... thanks!
+2 votes
Aretha was amazing.   She'll be missed.  Fortunately we have her films and records to be thankful for.
by Peggy McReynolds G2G6 Pilot (448k points)

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