Lisa Marie Presley’s ethnicity: The late singer-songwriter’s surprising heritage

Lisa Marie Presley

The news of Lisa Marie Presley’s sudden death on January 12, 2023, came as a shock to the entertainment world considering that the singer-songwriter just attended the 80th Golden Globes Awards not more than two days ago. Her mother, Priscilla Presley, wrote that Lisa was “rushed to the hospital” after experiencing a health emergency.

At 54 years old, Lisa Marie died from cardiac arrest, the very condition that also took her father Elvis Presley’s life in 1977. As the only child of Elvis and Priscilla, she was no stranger to the spotlight and was a well-known public figure. However, not many know that she came from a surprising heritage with diverse European and even Native American roots.

Lisa Marie Presley has German, English, Norwegian, and Scots-Irish ancestry with a little bit of Cherokee mixed in

On her mother’s side, Lisa Marie Presley had Norwegian, Scots-Irish, and English roots. This could be traced to Priscilla’s maternal grandfather, Albert Henry Iversen, who was born in Egersund, Norway.

He later immigrated to the United States and married Lorraine Davis, who was of English and Scots-Irish descent. Their daughter, Anna Lillian Iversen, married James Frederick Wagner, a US Navy pilot who hailed from Cherrytree Township, Pennsylvania. The couple gave birth to Priscilla in 1945.

As for the heritage on her father’s side of the family, Lisa Marie had Native American ancestry on top of Scottish, English, German and French roots.

To elaborate, Elvis Presley was born to Vernon Elvis and Gladys Love. Vernon had German, English, and Scottish ancestry while Gladys was of Scots-Irish and French-Norman origins. Moreover, Gladys and her family believed that their great-great-grandmother, Morning Dove White, was Cherokee.

In 2017, Lisa Marie’s daughter Riley Keough more or less confirmed that the family had Cherokee blood in response to a fan inquiry. She tweeted:

“I had one great grandma who was Creek [of the Muscogee tribe] and one who was full-blood Cherokee.”

Hence, it is not farfetched to say that Elvis Presley’s maternal family had Native American ancestry that was passed down to his daughter.

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