Carrie Underwood Family History


Carrie Marie Underwood was born on March 10th, 1983 to Steve and Carole Underwood in Muskogee, Oklahoma, the youngest of three daughters.

Carrie was raised on her parents’ farm in the surrounding rural hamlet of Checotah. Her father was a paper mill worker and her mother was an elementary school teacher.

During her childhood, Carrie sang at First Free Will Baptist Church and participated in Robbins Memorial Talent Show. She went on to perform at local events such as Old Settler’s Day and the Lions Club in Checotah.

Her singing breakthrough came after she auditioned for American Idol and became its fourth winner in 2005.  Commercial success soon followed.  Her debut album Some Hearts was the best selling country album of 2006 and 2007.  Her vocal range has been acclaimed as enormous, with critics highlighting her ability to hold notes for an extended period of time.

Time listed her as one of the hundred most influential people in the world in 2014.  Outside of music, Carrie has ventured into fashion and writing, releasing a fitness clothing line in 2015 and the best-selling fitness and lifestyle book Find Your Path in 2020.

What Line and What Ethnicity?

There has been confusion about Carrie Underwood’s family tree.  This starts with her paternal grandfather.  Some have it as the Gerald Albert Underwood married to Mollie Smith, others as the Bryan Gladys Underwood married to Nell Green.  The latter appears the more probable and has been used here as the basis for the family tree shown.

Second, what is her ethnicity? There have been internet claims that, coming from Oklahoma, she has some degree of Muscogee Creek or Cherokee heritage.  But no proof has been offered.  In a 2013 interview Carrie herself seemed to say that she does not have Native American ancestry.

Then there is a story about Scottish ancestry.  Again denied by the Underwoods.  If anything, they think they have Irish ancestry.

The Underwood Family Line

If the Bryan Gladys Underwood connection is indeed correct, then the family line would have started in Pennsylvania with Benjamin and Mary Underwood who were listed as founding members of the Goshen Baptist Church in Greene county in 1773.  Benjamin was probably the son of the Quaker Samuel Underwood who married Anne Travilla in Chester county in 1738.

After Benjamin’s death in 1776, his widow Mary moved down the Ohio river to Kentucky with her five young children,  They settled in Shelby county.

In the 1840’s, Malachi Underwood left Kentucky for Arkansas where he farmed.  After the Civil War started, he and his son James both enlisted with the 3rd Regiment of the Arkansas Cavalry on the Union side in 1863.  They both returned.  Malachi lived until 1910, James to 1916.

In the early 1890’s, soon after the famous Oklahoma Land Run, James moved with his family to Sequoyah county in the eastern part of what was then still Indian territory.  Back in Arkansas, his sister Tennessee was already on the second of her four husbands.

James’s son Harmon (Harmie) married Myrtle Higgins in Oklahoma in 1905.  Bryan Gladys Underwood was their second son.  In 1906 Harmie lost his older brother Cisro who died in a horse-riding accident.  He was buried somewhere along the Arkansas river.  And in 1907 Oklahoma became a state of the Union.

Later Underwoods settled in Muskogee county, which was where Carrie was born and grew up.

Carrie Underwood’s Family Tree

  • Benjamin Underwood (1739-1776) m. Mary Crow (1742-1818) in Pennsylvania in 1762
  • – Mary (Polly) Underwood (1765-1840) m. George Yount
  • – John Underwood (1767-1830) m. Mary Teague
  • – Nathaniel (Nathan) Underwood (1769-1826) m. Betsy Wright
  • – Jacob Underwood (1772-1830)
  • Jacob Underwood from Pennsylvania m. Hannah Robinson (1776-1850) in Kentucky in 1793
  • – James Underwood (1795-1850)
  • – John Underwood (1798-1861) m. Rebecca Radford
  • James Underwood from Kentucky m. Ceria (Sarah) Box (1796-1860) in 1812
  • – Malachi Underwood (1813-1910)
  • – Reuben Underwood (1817-1868)
  • – William Underwood (1826-1867) m. Judia Burnham (Cherokee)
  • Malachi Underwood from Kentucky m. Louisa Trammell (1826-1898) in Arkansas in 1846
  • – Thomas Underwood (1847-1906)
  • – James Underwood (1848-1916)
  • – Nancy Underwood (1854-1936) m. John Ragsdale
  • – Tennessee Underwood (1858-1936) m. John Miller and three other husbands
  • James Gideon Underwood from Arkansas m. Eliza (Gertie) Allen (1847-1921) in Arkansas in 1865
  • – James Underwood (1870-1954) m. Rosa Lee Hamilton
  • – Charles (Cisro) Underwood (1876-1906) m. Frances Palmer
  • – Harmon (Harmie) Underwood (1888-1933)
  • Harmon Underwood from Arkansas m. Myrtle Higgins (1891-1969) in Oklahoma in 1905
  • – Attress Underwood (1906-1962) m. Evelyn Ray
  • – Bryan Underwood (1909-1990)
  • – Ivas Underwood (1915-1957) m. Fern Huggins
  • – Oleda Underwood (1921-1999) m. William Martin
  • – Herman (Shorty) Underwood (1928-2011)
  • – Jerril (Jake) Underwood (1930-2013) m. Marjorie Oldham
  • Bryan Gladys Underwood from Oklahoma m. Nell Green (1911-2006) in 1928
  • – Jerry Underwood (1929-2007)
  • – William (Dub) Underwood (1932-2021) m. Irene Bean
  • – David Underwood (1934-2015) m. Peggy Peden
  • – Stephen (Steve) Underwood (b. 1945)
  • Stephen Bryan Underwood m. Carole Shatswell in 1968
  • – Shanna Underwood (b. 1970) m. Martin Means
  • – Stephanie Underwood (b. 1973)
  • – Carrie Underwood (b. 1983)
  • Carrie Underwood m. Michael Fisher in Georgia in 2010
  • – Isaiah Fisher (b. 2015)
  • – Jacob Fisher (b. 2019)



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Written by Colin Shelley

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