Hidden Link between Michelle Obama and Meghan Markle in Jonesboro, Georgia
Damn, Jonesboro, Georgia! What’s in your water?
I used to be impressed with the sprawling and highly intertwined French-Canadian family tree that leads to all those one-name women — Hillary, Madonna, Celine, Alanis, and Angelina, among others. But you, Jonesboro — you gave us Michelle and Meghan!
In 1870, just slightly post-Emancipation, Michelle Obama’s 3rd great-grandmother, Melvinia Shields, was living in Jonesboro with her children. Residing in that same town was 10-year-old Martha “Mattie” Henderson, who would eventually become Meghan Markle’s 3rd great-grandmother.
All told, about 4,677 people lived in Jonesboro at the time, and while it’s not possible to say exactly where Melvinia and Martha lived, the census record provides a clue. If you look at the two entries above, you’ll notice that they’re both in the same handwriting — that of enumerator William C. Leak. So they were close enough that the same census taker visited both of their households to note their names for posterity. We’ll never know for sure, but I’d like to think that Martha played with Melvinia’s children.
Fast forward a little less than a 150 years, and their remarkable descendants include First Lady Michelle Obama and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle. That’s what you call a legacy.