Elvis Presley -- Native American Ancestry?

+16 votes
It's come to the attention of the Native Americans project that there is disagreement about the Native American origins of Elvis Presley.  His profile is still connected to at least two supposed Native Americans.   

What will it take to confirm or debunk this ancestry? Is the lineage correct but the claims about his ancestors' heritage incorrect? Or is there a place in his line that needs disconnecting?

I bet a number of folks would be interested in improving the sourcing in this line. Can you help? Thanks!
WikiTree profile: Elvis Presley
in Genealogy Help by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (781k points)

Found this:


I don't like the leaps in conclusions it makes while at the same time questioning the various claims. 

I'm yet to be convinced of ANY of the Native American ancestry claims. I'm also so very surprised that no solid Genealogical research has been done on this very very famous man. 

I have checked all but one of the references on Wikipedia that "support" the Native American ancestry.  NONE of them cite their source.  I'm surprised that the Wikipedia editors have allowed such crummy references on such a highly visible and trafficked profile. 

The one reference I haven't checked. Elaine Dundy 's 1985 book. I found a cheap used copy and ordered it. 

By the way, I've opened a separate thread to focus on William Mansell/Manscil. https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/982332/elvis-ancestry-who-were-the-parents-of-john-mansell

Elijah Isaacks aka Cherokee Indian aka Cherokee Man White White/ Presley -Relationships List


5th–8th cousin

8 cM across 1 segments

Half 5th cousin 1x removed

View relationship


Jessica Palmer

5th–8th cousin

8 cM across 1 segments

Half 6th cousin


View relationship

Elaine Presley


Elijah Isaacks aka Cherokee Indian aka Cherokee Man White White/ Presley is your 5th great-grandfather

I can answer all your questions, just give me a list.


William Mansell

Mourning Flowers White, Mother

Edward Green Mancill, son of mourning

Is there anyone familiar with DNA sourcing who can explain to Elaine what's needed here please ?
The William Mansell who was the son of Richard Mansell was born in JacksonCounty, TN about 1812, married a woman named Arena Carr in 1834, moved to Illinois and lived there until he died in 1876  Not the William connected to Elvis.  He is Mansell-90 on Wikitree.

Hello Elaine,

Which DNA testing company is showing your match with Elijah Isaacks and Jessica Palmer?  Are Elijah or Jessica in WikiTree?  Who are their ancestors back to the shared ancestor(s) you have with them?

Thank you and sincerely, Peter


The DNA segment matches you suggest are quite small and need to 'triangulate' to confirm they are coming from the same ancestor.  Can you tell us which chromosomes they match on and the segment position?  

For relationships beyond 3rd cousins, you need at least 3 descendants (from different descent lines) to all overlap in the same location on the same chromosome to confirm the relationship, referred to as triangulation.  The overlap needs to be at least 7cMs.  

Ideally the individual segments would have been 'walked back' from closer cousin matches to ensure that 'triangulated' segment for each of the testers is confirmed up the right ancestral line for each of them.

Refer https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Triangulation


Dear Veronica,

I realize that now,  I am just learning the rules. Thank you for assisting me. 

5 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
I have not found any evidence that Elvis has Native American. We share the same 5th Great Grandfather, Christopher Overton Harris, through my Mother (Music)
by Anonymous Porter G2G3 (3.4k points)
selected by Amanda Phillips
+4 votes
I and Lisa Marie, have Cherokee heritage DNA, in contact with many Cherokee Cousins, it's true, Elvis is Cherokee.
by Here Noone G2G1 (1.1k points)
We look forward to seeing documentation that confirms this.  Thanks.
Sorry, but “Elvis as Cherokee” is a myth.  None of his ancestors appears in any Cherokee record.
DNA facts overrule myths.
I shall certainly work on this, Ma'am,  an important task for our family, to keep the records correct.
No DNA test can identify a specific Native American tribe in the United States.  A documented paper trail to a person who is documented as a Cherokee is the only way to make that connection.
True and is why we based the valuation of our heritage on DNA, records, locations, family, history. We realize no DNA can determine Native American yet, simply is not enough data.
Where is the documentation?  Records that seem to be for the William Mansell who died in Marion, Alabama in 1842  place in him Franklin County, Tennessee in 1820 with a wife and two children, all white.  Franklin is in what was then called Western Tennessee, on the Alabama border, 100 miles from the Cherokee Nation.  There is also no record of William Mansell in any unit at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend - Tennessee, U.S., or Cherokee.  I also cannot find him in the available Tennessee State Militia muster rolls 1812-1836. He next appears on the 1840 census in Marion, Alabama with six children and possibly a second wife (the age on the census is too young to be the 1820 woman), although the age might just be an error.
I am working on this for you, Ma'am.
+5 votes
by Veronica Williams G2G6 Pilot (147k points)
Thanks, Veronica. I wish I had the time and mental bandwidth to get my head around DNA, but I long ago chose to leave DNA genealogy research and sourcing to others.  I appreciate that there are folks like you who I can turn to for help.
+2 votes
In https://www.quora.com/To-Sam-Morningstar-Have-you-ever-investigated-a-non-tribal-Americans-claim-of-Native-heritage-and-found-it-to-actually-have-a-kernel-of-truth/answer/Sam-Morningstar, Sam Morningstar, a Native American that has debunked many Native American ancestry claims, says that there's very strong evidence that Morning Dove White was, indeed, Native American. However, she couldn't have been Cherokee and was more likely Creek.
by Paulo Canedo G2G Crew (820 points)
Unfortunately, the author cites absolutely nothing to support the statement that Elvis' ancestress was Native American. He doesn't even say what evidence exists.

Sorry, Paulo, I found that article very disappointing-- it shed absolutely no new light on our dilemma here.
Thing is, Sam Morningstar has debunked several Native American ancestry claims and is skeptical of such stories. However, he finds this one case very likely. Here's an article on this, BTW, https://www.voanews.com/archive/southern-genealogy-yields-surprises. It also concludes that she was a Native American but more likely Creek.
I've seen copies or variations of that same article. Again, no sources. And little discussion of the evidence. It starts from the premise that William Mansell partnered/had children with a Native American. This is the premise that we seek to find evidence of.

Julian Riley's book appears only available through amazon. It's not in any library, nor submitted to the Library of Congress. Unless one wants to spend over $50 for it, there's no way to check its sources.
+3 votes

Hi Ya'll,

I'm not even sure I want to jump into the middle of this but (selfishly) any research done could help me jump a brick wall I've looked at for years. (My 4th g-grandmother's name maybe?) 

No one seems to have brought up the subject, but there's evidence that Elvis may have had Tuscarora ancestry. I have an extensive DNA database of the descendants of my 4th g-grandfather [Dunning Casiah|Casiah-2] (bc 1729) and several of his siblings, plus my family and other members of the Tuscarora and Lumbee Tribes. 

I descend from Dunning Casiah's daughter [Elizabeth Casiah|Casiah-28] b 1787, who married Enoch Smith in Rowan Co. NC in 1805. She appears to have been living with Charles Presley and Mary "Polly" Casiah Presley in Rowan Co. at the time, as both of her parents died by 1800. 

I match a descendant of [Charles Presley|Presley-363] & Mary "Polly" Casiah, and a descendant of [John Presley|Presley-353]'s. Charles and John were both sons of Andrew Presley. The Casiahs and the Presleys were next neighbours in Camden, Kershaw/ Lancaster Co. SC. 

John married Elizabeth Hall in 1779, but there is suspicion that he 1st married one of the Casiah daughters - possibly Nancy or Margaret - and that [Dunning John Presley|Presley-3 ] was the child of that marriage. Otherwise, there should be no reason I would match his descendants.  

I will say as a caveat that the segment matches are between people who are 12 generations apart, so they are not large. Looking at Gedmatch's 'Q' segments for the descendant of Dunning John Presley's they range from 26 to 40. I'd like to analyze all of that data again but my Tier 1 sub has run out and I messed up my Paypal account. blush I will do the analysis as soon as I'm able to get Paypal working again. I'm also willing to post the results of this analysis, with images, once I get my Tier 1 issues straightened out. 

On my spreadsheet, all my Presley descendant matches fall into runs of much larger segment matches of more recent relatives in the same family. I began doing  genealogy in 1971, and my documentation on this line extends from my father's generation back to before the Tuscarora assumed European-style surnames. 

I work with genetics as part of my job as director of a non-profit which supports and advocates for people with a group of ultra-rare genetic disorders, and I've worked with genetics teams from Harvard, Howard Hughes, and Ulm (Germany), so I'm fluent in medical genetics, which has been a great help. 

While analyzing the results of DNA tests done at our family reunion in 2016 I found a segment pattern unique to descendants of one man who lived appx 1630 - 1700. He was foundational to today's Tuscarora Nation. There was a population bottleneck in the early and mid-1700s caused by war, European diseases, and aggressive slave-raiding, so about 50% of today's Tuscarora share one male ancestor and one, or both, of his two wives. This segment persists for appx six-seven generations before disappearing. I haven't found it in *anyone* who does not have Tuscarora ancestry. There are several other places on the genome where identical segments of shared Native DNA can be seen, but this one segment is unique to all his descendants to the sixth generation. 

Both the Presley descendants I match have it. With Charles and Polly's descendants it is almost certainly because Polly passed it on. But there is no reason John Presley's descendants would have it unless he married a daughter of Dunning Casiah and Dunning John Presley Sr. was her son. If that is true then Elvis inherited Native American ancestry through that line. 

DNA aside, it would be very helpful if we could locate a marriage record or any documentation referring to that marriage. I am in Canada and have no access to records that are not online. The American cousins I worked with for 40+ years have all passed away. 

Is there anyone willing to tackle marriage records for SC for the period? (1778-1785)  Assuming there are any! frown The last name, Casiah, can be spelled almost any way. Our research group found 45 different spellings of it since they appear to have adopted the Skarù·ręʔ word for "my nuclear family" (Kčę’heh) as a surname in the 1740s and there's simply is no way to render the Skarù·ręʔ pronunciation into English. 

Happy rooting, or as we say in Skarù·ręʔ 

Oneh - I go


by Deb Cavel G2G6 Mach 1 (14.5k points)
edited by Deb Cavel
The FREE site www.familysearch.org lists (UNDER ID: L64M-357 and there maybe multiple listings for Elvis) Elvis' Great X4 Grandfather Andrew Presley marrying an Elizabeth Caroline Casiah in 1791 in South Carolina. Robb

Hi Robb,

Thank you! I can't find that reference under any search parameter, but the information is inaccurate, as far as I can determine. The pivot I'm looking at is the marriage of John Presley [Presley-353]  bc 1748, who is said to have married Elizabeth Jane Hall. 

The Presleys and the Caziahs were next neighbours, and Andrew Presley's son Charles married Dunning Caziah's daughter Mary "Polly" Caziah. My 3rd g-grandmother Elizabeth Caziah (b 1787) appears to have been living with Charles and Mary "Polly" after her parents both died by the time she was 12-13. 

So, it's clear that John's wife Elizabeth Hall was not a Caziah, but it's also quite possible she may have been his second wife, and that his 1st son, Dunning, was the child of a 1st wife, almost certainly a Caziah (probably Nancy), because those of us who descend from Dunning Caziah have DNA matches with numerous descendants of Dunning Presley Sr.  

I'm not into proving a link to the 'King of Rock and Roll', I'm trying to identify Dunning *Caziah's* wife - they are my 4th g-grandparents, and the wife of their grandson Lawson Henderson Smith, a Priscilla b 1811, probably in SC. I'm working it from every direction. smiley 

Happy Rooting!

Deb Cavel [Cavel-3]


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