Elon Musk Family History
Elon Reeve Musk was born on June 28th, 1971 to Errol and Maye Musk in Pretoria, South Africa.
He grew up in Waterkloof, an upmarket suburb of Pretoria. His parents divorced when Elon was eight and he stayed with his father, something he later regretted. He was, according to his later accounts, repeatedly bullied at school. He said that having Asperger’s made him very bad at picking up social clues.
After finishing high school in Pretoria, Elon left for Canada in 1989, followed by his younger siblings Kimbal and Tosca and by his Canadian-born mother Maye.
Elon studied at the University of Pennsylvania and briefly at Stanford before leaving in 1995 to launch an internet startup. He began a web software company which was sold for $300 million in 1999 and an online bank which became Paypal and was sold for $1.5 billion in 2002.
He now had serious money to invest in new ventures, of which there were many. His best-known businesses today are Tesla, the electric vehicle manufacturer, and SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company. These companies made him the richest man in the world. In October 2022 he raised $44 billion to acquire the social media platform Twitter.
He has been a workaholic in his businesses and required that employees showed equal dedication. He has also been married twice, had other relationships, and is the father of eleven children.
Walter Isaacson’s biography Elon Musk was published in 2023.
Musks in England
Musk is not a common English surname. There were just 650 Musks recorded in the UK 1881 census. Suffolk accounted for 21% of these Musks, followed by Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and London. It may have been that Musk was an abbreviation of Muschet or Musket, first recorded with William Muschet who held the Bishopric of Ely in Cambridgeshire in 1165.
Elon Musk’s ancestors in England reportedly started with John Musk who married Maryann Edwards in Tuddenham, Suffolk in 1791. Their son Harry, born in 1797, was a farm laborer. He and his wife Charlotte lived at Exning in Suffolk and had a large family. Their numbers included Henry who emigrated with his young wife to America in 1858 and Eliza who had three sons born out of wedlock, her eldest son Harry being born in 1862.
Eliza’s two other sons died young. She moved to London, working as a servant there, but returned to Exning to marry in 1884. Her son Harry had remained in Exning during this time with relatives. He married and then moved to London himself. However, his marriage fizzled out and Harry departed for South Africa sometime in the 1890’s.
Reader Feedback: My paternal grandfather was Herbert Ernest Musk. I have traced his line back to Nicholas Musk, born in 1535 in Suffolk, and his wife Eme Suckling. I believe they are also the ancestors of Elon Musk. Margaret Cottrell (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Reader Feedback: Was there any connection in the ancestry of Elon Musk with Edmund Musk, born in 1609, or Nicholas Musk in 1651 or Edward Musk in 1694? Brian Musk (email@example.com).
Reader Feedback: I have a Brooks family from Brinkley in Cambridgeshire and also from Exning in Suffolk who married Musks and emigrated. Sheila Wood (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Musks in Pretoria
Harry Musk found a new wife, Lucy Champion, in South Africa and they made their home first in Cape Town where he was recorded as a bricklayer and then in Pretoria where he was a mason. He and Lucy raised five children, three boys and two girls. Harry died in 1917, one month after the birth of his youngest son Walter. Lucy remarried.
Walter became a sergeant in the South African army, said to have been “quiet” and “grumpy” and rather outmatched by his more outgoing British wife Cora. They had two sons who both made their mark in the professions – Errol as an engineer and Michael as a dermatologist.
Errol’s career was the more flamboyant. His engineering nous reportedly made him a millionaire by the time he was thirty. His business was involved in large projects such as office buildings, retail complexes, residential subdivisions, and an air force base. The rumor was that he had a share in an emerald mine in Zambia.
He was regarded by his peers as a brilliant engineer. But at home he could be abusive and manipulative. He was all his life a philanderer. Indeed at the age of seventy-two he fathered a child with his step-daughter.
Maye Musk the Matriarch
Maye Haldeman and her twin Kaye had been born in Canada to Joshua and Winifred Haldeman, but their parents moved to South Africa in 1950 when they were toddlers.
Maye met Errol Musk in Pretoria at high school and married him in 1970. Their first son Elon, born in 1971, was named after her American grandfather John Elon Haldeman, a descendant of Swiss Haldemans who had immigrated to Pennsylvania in the 1750’s.
Maye returned to Canada in 1989, ten years after her divorce. In Toronto, she combined a modelling career with a business as a dietitian and with successfully raising Elon’s two younger siblings Kimbal and Tosca as a single mother.
Her modelling career has in fact spanned fifty years. She became Covergirl’s oldest spokesmodel in 2017 at the age of sixty-nine. And as the glamorous supermodel mother of the world’s richest man, she made a stunning appearance with him at the Met Gala in New York in May 2022.
Elon Musk’s Family Tree
- Musk in England
- John Musk (1767-1834) from Suffolk m. Maryann Edwards (b. 1772) in Suffolk in 1791
- – Henry Musk (1797-1871)
- Henry Musk from Cambridgeshire m. Charlotte Lane (1801-1885) in Cambridgeshire in 1824
- – John Musk (1826-1916) m. Melinna Brooks
- – Edward Musk (1827-1847)
- – William Musk (1831-1887) m. Ann Levett
- – Henry Musk (1833-1921) m. Harriet Parr, emigrated to America
- – Richard Musk (1838-1900) m. Sophia Gaine
- – Eliza Musk (1843-1914)
- Eliza Musk and unknown; m. William Bridgeman later in 1884
- – Harry Musk (1862-1917)
- – Arthur and Ernest Musk (b. 1870, died young)
- Musk in South Africa
- Harry Musk from Suffolk m. Mary Wyman (divorced); rem. Lucy Champion (1880-1946) in South Africa
- – Louis Musk (1904-1956) m. Florence Channon
- – Harry Musk (1906-1974) m. Helen Hartogh
- – Mabel Musk (1909-1980) m. Arthur Mason
- – Joan Musk (b. 1911) m. Hendrik van Malsen
- – Walter Musk (1917-1986)
- Walter Henry Musk m. Cora Robinson (1923-2011) from England (Lancashire) in Johannesburg in 1944
- – Errol Musk (b. 1946)
- – Michael Musk (b. 1952) m. Anne Frazer
- Errol Graham Musk m. Maye Haldeman in 1970 (divorced in 1979); rem. Heidi-Mari Bezuidenhout in 1992 (divorced in 2010)
- – Elon Musk (b. 1971)
- – Kimbal Musk (b. 1972) m. Jen Lewin (divorced); rem. Christiana Wyly
- – Tosca Musk (b. 1974)
- – Alexandra (Ali) Musk with Heidi-Mari
- – Asha (Rose) Musk with Heidi-Mari
- – Elliot Musk (b. 2017) with Jan Bezuidenhout
- Musk in Canada/America
- Elon Musk m. Justine Wilson (b. 1972) from Canada in 2000, divorced in 2008; rem. Talulah Riley (b. 1985) from England in 2010, divorced in 2016
- Nevada Musk (2002-2012), died from SIDS
- twins Griffin Musk and Vivian Wilson (b. 2004)
- triplets Kai, Saxon and Damian Musk (b. 2006)
- plus two sons and one daughter with girlfriend Grimes
- plus twins with girlfriend Shivon Zilis
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