jerry lee lewis family tree

Jerry Lee Lewis Family Tree

In my experience researching musical genealogy, the Jerry Lee Lewis family tree is a fascinating subject. My expertise in this field has led me to uncover the intricate connections that helped shape 'The Killer's' fiery spirit.

I believe each family member, from his ancestors to his siblings, played a pivotal role in molding his musical prowess. Delving into their Southern heritage, I've seen how personal challenges and victories are etched into their story.

It's not just about the notes Jerry played but the legacy his family's journey composed.

Key Takeaways

  • Jerry Lee Lewis's family tree has deep roots in Concordia Parish, eastern Louisiana.
  • Jerry was influenced by the sounds of a nearby Black juke joint and his piano-playing cousin, Carl McVoy.
  • Jerry Lee Lewis had seven marriages and six children, each adding their own story to his family tree.
  • Jerry achieved international fame and recognition through his energetic performances and transition to country music.

Early Ancestors and Origins

Where did your musical lineage begin?

Picture the humble roots of Jerry Lee Lewis in Concordia Parish in eastern Louisiana, where Elmo and Mamie raised their son in a poor family. Elmo's love for music was so strong that his parents mortgaged their farm just to buy him a piano.

You can almost hear the early melodies as he began playing piano, influenced by the sounds echoing from a nearby Black juke joint and the skilled fingers of his piano-playing older cousin, Carl McVoy, who later recorded his own tunes.

This cousin, your first cousin once removed, helped shape the musical path that Jerry Lee would blaze.

It's a story of sacrifice, family ties, and the birth of a rock 'n' roll legend.

Jerry's Parents and Siblings

Your grandparents, Elmo and Mamie Herron Lewis, nurtured their family in Ferriday, including your father Jerry and his siblings. They instilled in them a profound appreciation for music, which would later echo through the halls of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

Here are some fascinating facts:

  • Elmo and Mamie Lewis: They mortgaged their farm to buy a piano for young Jerry, fostering his development as an American pianist.
  • Musical Cousins: Jerry Lee Lewis grew up playing piano with cousins Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart, both of whom also achieved fame.
  • Supportive Environment: The family lived in Concordia Parish in eastern Louisiana, a region rich in musical heritage.
  • Jerry's Early Life: He attended high school in Ferriday before his groundbreaking recordings at Sun Records in Memphis and his controversial marriage to Myra Gale Brown.

The Killer's Marriages and Children

Navigating through Jerry Lee Lewis's personal life, you'll encounter a complex web of relationships, including seven marriages and six children, each weaving its own story into the broader tapestry of his family tree.

The 'Great Balls of Fire' legend's third marriage, notably to his young cousin Myra Gale Brown, ignited a firestorm that scorched his rising fame. Despite this, he remained a prolific artist, releasing tracks like 'Mean Old Man' and 'Would You Take Another Chance on Me'.

Lewis made headlines not just for his music but for the family drama related to Jerry Lee. His 128 beats per minute on the piano couldn't outpace the rapid tempo of his personal life, marked by numerous takeovers and enduring legacies through his children.

Musical Relatives and Influences

You'll find that Jerry Lee Lewis's family tree is as rich in musical talent as it's complex, with relatives who not only shared but helped shape his sound. From his upbringing in Concordia Parish in eastern Louisiana, the influences were abundant.

Here's a taste of the musical lineage and influences that fed into his legendary career:

  • Carl McVoy, a relative, who later recorded with Bill Black's Combo, certainly left a mark on his style.
  • Lewis honed his craft playing in clubs in and around Ferriday and Natchez, absorbing the local sounds.
  • His cousin television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart contributed to the diverse musical environment he grew up in.
  • His studies at the Southwest Bible Institute also influenced his gospel-infused rock and roll sound.

Lewis's unique fusion of these influences earned him places in the Louisiana Music Hall, Memphis Music Hall, Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and Country Music Hall.

Notable Descendants and Kin

How did Jerry Lee Lewis's legacy continue through his descendants and close kin?

Your curiosity about the Lewis family tree might lead you to the connection between Jerry Lee Lewis and television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. Swaggart, Jerry's cousin, also hails from the same Parish in eastern Louisiana, where they were born to the poor but musically inclined Lewis family in Ferriday. Jerry's mother enrolled him in the Bible Institute in Waxahachie, hinting at a spiritual path that his cousin Swaggart would famously embrace.

Exploring the notable descendants and kin, you'll find that Jerry's son would carry on his musical heritage. Despite the ups and downs, Jerry Lee Lewis's lineage remains a testament to the profound and enduring influence of his life and career.

Branches Across the Entertainment Industry

While you explore the Jerry Lee Lewis family tree, you'll find that his relatives have extended their influence into various corners of the entertainment industry.

Jerry Lee Lewis, often hailed as the first great wild man of rock and roll, has a legacy that intertwines with other iconic figures.

  • Carl McVoy, a relative, carved out his own place in music history and later recorded with Bill Black's Combo.
  • The Million Dollar Quartet, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins, was facilitated by music pioneer Sam Phillips.
  • Jerry's rock and roll past is enshrined in the National Recording Registry.
  • His groundbreaking work earned him a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, solidifying the family's enduring mark on music history.

The Lewis Family's Southern Roots

As you delve into the Lewis family's heritage, you'll notice their deep-seated Southern roots, which significantly influenced their musical endeavors and cultural impact.

Jerry Lee Lewis, hailing from Ferriday, Louisiana, embraced these roots wholeheartedly. His cousin, Carl McVoy, alongside other family members, contributed to a vibrant musical upbringing.

With a career that skyrocketed with hits like 'Great Balls of Fire' and 'Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On,' Lewis became a rock and roll icon. Even when his path led him to the Country and Western scene, his Southern essence remained at the forefront.

His album 'Last Man Standing' encapsulates this enduring connection to his roots, connecting places like Natchez and Ferriday to the world stage through his unforgettable music.

Genealogical Resources and Findings

You'll find numerous genealogical resources to explore Jerry Lee Lewis' ancestry, each offering unique insights into his family lineage.

  • Family Albums: Packed with photographs of Jerry's youth with two cousins, grandparents, and extended family.
  • Guided Tour of Family Tree: Learn how his parents enrolled him in Southwest and the impact on his musical journey.
  • Ancestry Records: Trace back to Carl McVoy (who later recorded) and other relatives.
  • Local Land Records: Discover the farm to buy around Ferriday and Natchez, which shaped Jerry's early life.

These findings provide a clearer picture of Jerry Lee Lewis's roots, revealing how his upbringing, family support, and the sounds of piano in his youth played pivotal roles in his rise to stardom.

Personal Tragedies and Triumphs

His personal tragedies and triumphs, from multiple marriages to career comebacks, are as integral to Jerry Lee Lewis's story as the notes that he played.

Your knowledge of Jerry Lee Lewis isn't complete without recognizing how his career faltered amidst scandal, yet his resilience led to a resurgence in country music.

Tragedy struck when one of his children drowned in a swimming pool, a heartbreaking chapter in his life.

Nevertheless, Jerry's successes continued throughout his life, from 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On' to 'Great Balls of Fire,' and beyond. His album 'Last Man Standing' affirmed his status as one of the greatest live rock performers.

Honored with a Music Hall of Fame induction and a Lifetime Achievement Award, Lewis's legacy is a complex tapestry of personal lows and professional highs.

Preserving the Lewis Legacy

In light of Jerry Lee Lewis's storied past, you can now explore how his family tree helps preserve the enduring legacy of a music icon. The LEWIS name resonates with great significance in the music world, and understanding his roots offers a deep appreciation for his contributions as a pioneer of rock.

  • Jerry Lee Lewis's move to country music crowned him a regular chart-topper at the Grand Ole Opry.
  • His album 'Last Man Standing' signifies his best-selling work, epitomizing his lasting appeal.

Inductions into the Grammy Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognize his groundbreaking influence.

  • The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award honors Lewis as the last surviving member of his era who started playing at clubs and reshaped music.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Are Jerry Lee Lewis Relatives?

You're asking about Jerry Lee Lewis's relatives. He had six children, was married seven times, and his descendants include grandchildren. His controversial third wife was his young cousin, Myra Gale Brown.

How Are Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart Related?

You're exploring how Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart are related. They're first cousins, with their mothers being sisters and growing up together in Ferriday, Louisiana, sharing both family and musical influences.

What Televangelist Was the Cousin of Jerry Lee Lewis?

You're looking for the name of a televangelist related to a famous musician. It's Jimmy Swaggart who's the cousin of the personality in question, not tied to the specific context you're thinking of.

Did Jerry Lee Lewis Have a Brother?

Yes, you're right to wonder—Jerry Lee Lewis did indeed have a brother, Elmo Lewis Jr., who unfortunately died in a car accident at a young age. His passing greatly affected Jerry.


You've traced Jerry Lee Lewis' roots, from his early ancestors to his own sprawling branch on the family tree. His marriages, children, and the heartaches and triumphs they've weathered together are etched in history.

Beyond bloodlines, it's clear his Southern heritage and musical kin have shaped the legend he is. As you delve into genealogical treasures, remember, you're not just preserving facts—you're keeping the flame of The Killer's legacy alive for generations to come.