Monday, September 24, 2007

Genealogue Challenge #42

On what date were Mariah Carey's paternal grandparents married?

Extra extra credit: In a recent interview, Mariah said that she may be related to a certain other famous singer because of a shared family name. Can you prove her right or wrong?


Addie Cole and Robert Carey were married in Manhattan on Aug 16, 1928. They are on St. Nicholas Ave. in NY in 1930 with their son Alfred, Mariah's father.

Drew Smith

Mariah Carey's father was Alfred Roy Carey. According to his Find A Grave entry, he was born 23 October 1929.

The African American Registry refers to him as "Alfred Roy Carey (Nunez)".

A Marian Carey fan club site says that Alfred's father was Roberto Nunez. Other sites indicate that his name was changed to Roberto Carey.

The 1930 census for Manhattan shows Robert Carey, wife Addie, and son Alfred.

Using the Steve Morse site, a search for marriages finds certificate 24824, with groom Robert Carey, bride Addie Cole, and a marriage date of 16 August 1928.

Drew Smith

Is Mariah related to Nat King Cole?

According to the 1930 census, Addie Cole was born in North Carolina, with a North Carolina father and an Alabama mother. She is listed as 24 in that census, suggesting a birth year of about 1906.

The problem arises when we learn that Nat King Cole was the son of Edward James Coles (who was born in Alabama of an Alabaman father). Although the spelling and geography differences don't rule the relationship out, they make it far less likely.


Grandparents Robert Carey and Addie Cole were married 16 Aug 1928 in Manhatten NY, Cert# 24824.

Robert Carey was supposedly a Nunez before changing his name. The census record shows him as Cuban, but articles have Mariah saying he was Venezuelan. She also said her grandmother was Irish, but the grandmother married to Robert was from NC with parents from NC and AL according to the census, so the Irish part would have to be the Patricia Hickey side,which I didn't follow.

I don't know the singer she's thinking might be related. I saw several Nunez singers on the net.



Aug 16 1928.

(She's related to Elvis, right?)


Found the interview where she thinks she might be related to Nat King Cole.

In the 1920 Montgomery AL Census, Nathaniel's father, Edo Cole, shows AL as the birthplace for himself, his father and his mother.

In the 1930 Manhattan NY Census, the grandmother of Mariah, Addie Cole Carey shows NC as her own birthplace and that of her father. She shows that her mother was born in AL, so that might be a connection, but it wouldn't be a COLE CONNECTION.



In the September issue of Interview, Mariah wonders if she's related to Natalie Cole (and her father Nat) through her "Nana Addie." As Drew and Deb noted, the 1930 census suggests that Addie (Cole) Carey's paternal line came from a different Southern state.

There were about 1,700 African-American heads of household named Cole in 1900, so there is little reason to assume a relationship between the families.


Nat King Cole’s father’s obit gives his name as Edward Coles. In 1920, he is listed as Edo Cole. In 1910, he is Eddie Coles. His 1918 draft card has him as Ed Cole, with a signature with that spelling. So I would not rule out a relationship based on spelling of Cole/Coles.

According to Interview, Mariah had a great-grandmother named Emma Cutright and pictures of her grandmother Addie in Alabama. There is an Emma Cutright who died in Manahattan in 1948 who would have been born about 1880. In the 1910 census for Crenshaw county, AL, there is an Addie Cole, 5, with a widowed mother named Emma, 30.

I don't know where to go from that but my bet is that Addie is from Alabama and the 1930 census taker got it wrong, though a relationship to Nat would be a stretch.



Thanks for the extra details, Sharon. I'll add a couple of my own:

Will Cole married 5 Feb. 1902 in Crenshaw County, Alabama, Emma McQueen. Emma's brother Gus was living with her in 1910. The 1900 census for Luverne, Alabama, states that Emma was born in March 1881 (the 1880 census suggests that Emma was born closer to 1877-8, but this may have been another child of the same name).

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