Beyonce Family History

Overview

Beyonce Giselle Knowles was born on September 4th, 1981 to Mathew and Tina Knowles in Houston, Texas.  It was her mother who chose her first name for her so as to perpetuate her own family name.

Beyonce grew up in Houston and was singing at a young age.  At the age of fifteen, she became part of a girl band named Destiny’s Child which her father Mathew managed.  Destiny’s Child was to become one of the best-selling girl groups of all time.  Beyonce went solo after Destiny’s Child disbanded in 2005 and split with her manager and father Mathew in 2010.  Since that time she has been acclaimed as the decade’s defining pop star.  “No one has dominated music in the 2010’s like Queen Bey.”

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Knowles in Georgia and Alabama

The first sighting of this African American Knowles family was in the rural county of Chattooga in NW Georgia.  It used to be Indian territory.  However, the Government forcibly removed the Cherokees from the area in the 1830’s in what has been called “the Trail of Tears.”  White settlers, many of them Scots Irish, replaced them. The county population was 7,000 in 1860, of which around 30 percent were slaves.

John B. Knowles or Knowls (both spellings appeared) was recorded in Chattooga in the 1860 census as a slave-owner.  Henry and Elmira Knowls/Knowles may have taken their names from him.  Their first three children were born in Chattooga while slavery was still in place.  Henry’s fourth child James Issac (Ike) was born in Chattooga after emancipation in 1867.  When he was in his early twenties he made the move across the state border into nearby Cherokee county in Alabama.  Ike later migrated in the 1920’s to the industrial town of Gadsden.

His son Matthew and grandson Mathew (father of Beyonce) were both born in Gadsden.  They grew up poor.  Matthew was a truck driver and his wife worked days as a maid for a white family.  They had no indoor plumbing at home.  However, because of his mother’s civil rights’ activism, Mathew was one of the first black students to attend Gadsden High School in the 1960’s.  And he made it to college under a basketball scholarship.

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Beyonce’s Creole Heritage

When Mathew Knowles first started dating Tina Beyonce, he thought she was probably white.  In fact her lighter skin was due to her Creole heritage.  Their daughter Beyonce has identified more with her mother’s mixed Creole background.  Beyonce’s maternal grandparents were Lumis Beyince, a longshoreman, and Agnez DeRouen, a successful seamstress.  They lived in Galveston, Texas, although they were French-speaking Louisiana Creoles wth roots in New Iberia.

The maternal line here goes back to a Broussard family in Louisiana as follows:

  • from Tina Knowles nee Beyonce (b. 1954)
  • to Agnez Beyince nee DeRouen (b. 1909)
  • and to Odelia DeRouen nee Broussard (b. 1864).

Odelia had eighteen children, two of whom died.  She never attended school and was unable to read or write.  She and her husband Eugene, a farmer, were described in US records as “mulatto,” a term at the time to describe people with one black parent and one white parent or with two “mulatto” parents.

Odelia’s father Eloy Broussard may or may not have married Josephine Lesse his domestic servant with whom he had thirteen children.  Theirs was apparently an open and consensual relationship that continued through most of his adult years.  Josephine herself was the daughter of a marriage between a white merchant Joseph Lacey and a black slave Rosalie.  Their union probably accounts for the subsequent “mulatto” line.

The Broussards were descended from Francois Broussard who had come to Canada from France in 1672.  His son Joseph, born in Acadia in 1702, was a leader of the French resistance against the British there and of the French Acadians who were to make it all the way to Louisiana in 1765.  That was his last accomplishment.  He died in Louisiana six months after his arrival there.

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Beyonce Knowles’ Family Tree
  • Beyonce’s Paternal Line
  • Henry Knowles (b. 1837) m. Elmira (b. 1844) in Chatooga, Georgia
  • – Amanda Knowls (b. 1860)
  • – Martha Knowls (b. 1863)
  • – Nelson Knowls (b. 1865)
  • – James Issac (Ike) Knowles (1867-1949)
  • – John Knowles (1871-1928)
  • – Elizabeth Knowles (b. 1874) m. Mr. Nicholson
  • James Issac (Ike) Knowles m. Sarah Dixon (1881-1920) in Cherokee county, Alabama in 1898
  • – Taylor Knowles (1899-1975)
  • – Florence Knowles (1905-2003) m. Mr. Horton
  • – Exie Knowles (1908-2004) m. Chesley Clifton
  • – Josephine Knowles (1910-2008)
  • – John Knowles (1914-1991)
  • Taylor Knowles m. Girlie Miller (1904-1983) in Cherokee county, Alabama
  • – Taylor Knowles (1922-1987) m. Esta Mae Stone
  • – Martha Knowles (1925-1998) m. Rudolph Avery
  • – Matthew Knowles (1926-1996)
  • – Earnest Knowles (1929-2013)
  • – Warren Knowles (1933-2010)
  • Matthew Knowles m. Lue Helen Hogue (1922-1997) in Gadsden, Alabama
  • – Mathew Knowles (b. 1952)
  • Mathew Knowles m. Celestine (Tina) Beyonce (b. 1954) in Houston in 1980 (divorced in 2011); rem. Gena Avery
  • – Beyonce Knowles (b. 1981) m. rapper Jay-Z in 2008
  • – Solange Knowles (b. 1986)
  • Eloy Broussard (1824-1906) from New Iberia, Louisiana m. Rose Hebert (1827-1865) in 1845; m. Josephine (Tine) Lesse (1826-1922)
  • – Peter Broussard (1847-1925) m. Marcellienne Delcambre
  • – Eulinore Broussard (1855-1919)
  • – Jean (John) Broussard (1862-1921) m. Marie Collette
  • – Odelia Broussard (1864-1929)
  • – Edouard Broussard (1868-1930) m. Regina Gobert
  • – Ovide Broussard (1871-1899) m. Marie Olivier
  • Odelia Broussard from New Iberia, Louisiana m. Eugene DeRouen (1861-1937) in 1881
  • – Emma DeRouen (b. 1881) m. Mr. Ruffin
  • – Theresa DeRouen (b. 1883) m. Mr. Cole
  • – Abraham DeRouen (1894-1973) m. Clementine Sutton
  • – Lydia DeRouen (b. 1899) m. Mr. Tanner
  • – Ida DeRouen (b. 1903)
  • – Mandy DeRouen (b. 1905) m. Mr. Brown
  • – Agnez DeRouen (1909-1980)
  • Agnez DeRouen from Vermillion parish, Louisiana m. Mervin Marsh in 1926 (divorced in 1940); rem. Lumis Albert Beyince (1910-1982)
  • – three Beyince sons (Larry, Roland and Lumis) plus two Beyince daughters
  • – Celestine (Tina) Beyonce (b. 1954 in Galveston)
  • Celestine (Tina) Beyonce m. Matthew Knowles (b. 1952) in Houston in 1980 (divorced in 2011); rem. Richard Lawson
  • – Beyonce Knowles (b. 1981) m. rapper Jay-Z in 2008
  • – Solange Knowles (b. 1986)

 

 

 

 

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