Martin Luther King Jr.: Biography, Family Tree, and Ancestry

Martin Luther King, Jr.

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day every third Monday of January, this year we will honor the life of the leader of the civil rights movement on January 18. We decided to make quick genealogical research to tell you more about one of the greatest activists in the history of the US. 

Early Life

Michael King Jr. was born in Atlanta, GA on January 15, 1929, to a reverend and a teacher and was the second child in a family. Later, Michael changed his name to Martin Luther. Martin was raised in a religious environment and was reading the Bible and told stories by his grandmother. 

In 1935, Martin started attending Younge Street Elementary School, a school for black children only, and changed his school for the Atlanta University Laboratory School 5 years later. At the time, the problem of racism in the US was not that widely raised and discussed as it is now. It is also known that Martin became friends with a white boy but the boy’s parents forbidden their son to play with Martin due to his skin color. King’s father was always against segregation and any type of discrimination and Martin has learned a lot from him. 

By the age of 13, King got a job in the Atlanta Journal newspaper delivery station and became an assistant manager. At the time, he studied at the only high school for African American students in Atlanta that was created by the city government only due to the activism of King’s father and other local leaders of the African American community. This is when Martin began improving his orator and public speaking skills. In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. He also later attended Boston University and Harvard University 

Martin’s activism began from his membership in the Birmingham African-American community when he was selected as one of the representatives for the committee on the “Montgomery bus boycott” case. As a result, King became one of the best-known spokespersons of the civil rights movement. By that time, he also became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. 

In 1957, King became the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and for the next 11 years has been attending thousands of demonstrations and giving over two hundred speeches across the US. He also published five books and numerous articles related to civil rights and the problem of racism. According to the records, King was arrested at least 25 times and assaulted 4 times for his actions. In 1963, Time magazine named King the Man of the Year and on October 14, 1964, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality. Four years later, on April 4, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray who was then sentenced to 99 years in prison. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (MLK Day)

Also officially known as the Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., MLK Day is celebrated every third Monday of January. The idea of accepting MLK Day as a holiday was introduced by labor unions in 1979 when the first bull related to this question was introduced to Congress. However, at the time the bill didn’t pass. The holiday was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan and became an official federal holiday only in 1983. However, not all of the states have accepted this holiday in the beginning. All 50 states observed MLK Day 17 years later, in 2000. 


Martin’s father, Michael King (later known as Martin Luther King Sr.) was born in Stockbridge, GA on December 19, 1899. He was a Baptist pastor and met his future wife Alberta while attending the Ebenezer Baptist Church. King’s mother, Alberta Christine Williams King was born in Atlanta, GA on September 13, 1904. She worked as a teacher before getting married in 1926. Together the couple had three children including Martin’s older sister Willie Christine King Farris and a younger brother Alfred Daniel “A.D.” King. Alberta helped her husband with the affairs in the Ebenezer Baptist Church when he became the leader of the church. In 1974, Alberta was shot and killed by the extremist Marcus Wayne Chenault during Sunday service. You may have a look at the Martin Luther King Jr. family tree that was created with the Treemily family tree generator.

Martin Luther King Jr Ancestors


Paternal Line

King’s grandfather, James Albert King was born in Ohio in December 1864 and was of African and Irish descent. He married King’s grandmother Delia Linsey (born in Henry County, GA in July 1875) in 1895. They both were sharecroppers and later moved together to Stockbridge, GA where their son Michael and their other eight kids were born. James and Delia died in 1933 and 1924, respectively. 

Maternal Line

King’s grandfather, Reverend Adam Daniel Williams was born in Penfield, GA on January 2, 1863. He was a preacher at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where his future son-in-law replaced him after Adam’s death in 1931. King’s grandmother, Jennie Celeste Williams (née Parks) was born in Atlanta, GA in April 1873. The couple got married in 1899. Adam and Jennie both died in Atlanta in 1931 and 1941, respectively. 

Martin Luther King Jr Chart

Marriage and Kids

Martin met his future wife Coretta Scott while attending Boston University. Coretta was born in Marion, Alabama on April 27, 1927, to Obadiah and Bernice McMurry Scott. Martin and Coretta got married in Coretta’s parents’ house on June 18, 1953. Together they had 4 children: Yolanda King, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott King, and Bernice King. King’s only granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King was born to Martin Luther King III and his wife Arndrea Waters on May 25, 2008. 

Martin Luther King Jr Descendants

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, Martin Luther King Jr. will always be remembered as one of the greatest leaders of the Civil Right Movement who put his life for making African-Americans lives better. His tactics of nonviolent protests proved that every community’s goals and success can be reached without the use of weapons or through pain and deaths. The Treemily team hopes that no violence will be used against any people and the entire world can live in peace.  

5 Indoor Winter Activities to Keep Your Kids Entertained


It’s not always possible to keep your kids playing outside when winter weather can go bad in a matter of seconds. None of the parents want their children to catch a cold and get sick especially during the Coronavirus pandemic when everyone is recommended to stay home as long as possible. We’ve come up with a list of indoor activities that can help your little ones stay entertained and active throughout the day. If you haven’t tried them yet, now is the best time to start. 




You can start a craft project with your kids no matter what age they are. From DIY Christmas ornaments to simple photo frames and wall decorations. Teach your little ones how to draw, use colored paper and glitter, and get creative! This will help you to keep your children entertained and develop their imagination.

Board Games

Toy stores currently offer a great variety of board games and puzzles that are interesting to play and can help your kids to practice logic, creativity, and simply let them spend time doing something fun. Figure out what your children love the most and find games related to this particular topic (whether it’s a card game like Uno or a board game like Scrabble that can teach your kids new words).

Family Tree

Family tree

Involve your kids in the family research to help them learn more about your ancestors’ past. Create a family chart with the names of your closest relatives. Use our premade family tree template to fill in the information together with your kids. Or you may also try our online family tree generator to create unique family history visualizations and share them with your loved ones. 

Family Performance

Does your kid love movies or want to be an actor/actress sometime? Put on a short family play and divide roles between your family members. Or plan a family karaoke evening singing your kids’ favorite songs and making your home look like a real stage for performances. 


Cooking can be very entertaining both for adults and their children. Let your kids mix the dough, shape cookies, or pour the batter in a tin to make a cake, and enjoy the final dish together with your family. Don’t forget to keep an eye on your youngest kids if you’re planning to bake something or cook with a stove. 

Take a Moment to Spend a Great Time With Your Family!

We understand that lockdown can get annoying and tiring for everyone. Try to stay positive and spend this time strengthening family bonds with your loved ones. Check with the family members to whom you haven’t talked for a while and bring up the best memories of your family’s past to teach your children about their origin. Keep safe and make sure to spend today’s evening with your family doing something fun!


McCallister Family Tree: How Not To Leave Your Relatives Behind While in a Christmas Rush

Christmas- tree

Watching the Home Alone movie became one of the most popular family traditions for Christmas in the 1990s when the first movie of the series was released. The music, sets and the overall festive picture made this movie a Christmas classic and you’re likely to meet a person who’s never heard of it. 


McCallister family picture


In case you haven’t seen the movie or don’t remember what it’s all about, let us briefly remind you about the plot. The McCallister family members are the main characters of the film. Peter and Kate McCallister together with their five kids Buzz, Jeff, Megan, Linnie, and Kevin are planning their Christmas trip to Paris. They were going to have a trip together with the family of Peter’s brother Frank. Together they were planning to visit their other brother Rob who lives in Paris with his own family. However, on the day of departure, the entire family overslept and, while in the rush to get to the airport in time, accidentally left their youngest son Kevin behind. Kevin stays home alone all by himself. 

If you look at the McCallister family tree you’ll see how big their family is. Peter’s brother Frank has five kids together with his wife Leslie. Rob and Georgette McCallister have a daughter named Heather, a son named Steffan, and two twin daughters. So the main character of the movie, Kevin, has four siblings and nine cousins. 


McCallister family tree


Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year and no surprise everyone stays in a holiday rush the entire season. Especially when your family is as big as McCallister’s one, it happens sometimes that you might forget (not on purpose) to wish your aunt or cousins a Happy Christmas. To make sure you don’t leave any of your relatives behind, making a family tree including all of your relatives will be a great idea. Besides, you can also give this tree as a gift to your family members to make this holiday even more memorable. 

Use the Treemily family tree maker to create stunning visualizations and send them to all of your relatives as a nice Christmas gift. It will remind them how important a family is and that such a holiday is a wonderful time for the entire family to get together and celebrate.

Best of the Best: The Biggest and Most Famous Family Trees

Family library

It’s impossible to count the exact number of family trees that have been assembled over the years. From popular public figures and celebrities to individuals, people have been creating family visualizations to help them trace back the family lineage to past generations. In this article, we will share the largest, oldest, and most famous family trees of all time.

The Largest Family Trees

According to the Guinness World Record Book, the largest family tree ever assembled belongs to a famous Chinese philosopher and politician Confucius. One of the very first tree editions published in 1837 covered 80 generations and contained over 600,000 descendants. The tree currently contains more than 2 million names. It is now known that the descendants of Confucius live all over the globe, most of them reside in China and Taiwan. 

Confucius Family Tree

The Oldest Family Trees

While the Confucius family tree carries the title of the biggest one, the Lurie family is known as the oldest one in the world. Its history traces back to 1037 BC. According to the records, the family lineage starts from the 3rd king of the United Monarchy of Israel and Judah called King David. The information about King David is mainly described in the Hebrew Bible. Even though there is not that much evidence that David actually existed most of them are provided in the Lurie Legacy book written by Dr. Neil Rosenstein.

King David Family Tree

The Most Popular Family Trees

Some events in our lives make people want to search for more details on their favorite movie characters or public figures. For example, when the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban movie was released, everyone wanted to know more about Harry’s godfather Sirius Black and his family history. Here is a family tree of the house of Black hand-drawn by J. K. Rowling.

Sirius Black Family Tree

You might have seen this tree before in the ancestral home of the Black family in the movie. You may also remember that several members of this family were removed from the tree by Walburga Black, the mother of Sirius. According to her beliefs, Sirius was also no longer honored to be a member of this family when he decided to run away. 

Another event that makes people want to find out more about someone’s family past is the US Presidential Election. We’ve already compared the family trees of the two previous US presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. This year we’ve also decided to help you learn more about the recently elected President and the VP of the US Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. If you are interested in the past of the previous US Presidents, you can also check out the article on the Kennedy family tree.

With the recent release of the Crown series 4th season, the royal family tree has become extremely popular, especially the one that covered the family history of Princess Diana. Diana, Princess of Wales belongs to the Spencer aristocratic family that was founded by Sir John Spencer in the 15th century. 


Princess Diana family tree


Diana was born on July 1st, 1961 to Edward John Spencer and Frances Ruth Spencer (née Roche) and was the 4th child in a family. In 1981, Diana became officially engaged to Charles, Prince of Wales. The couple got married the same year on July 29th. Together they had two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. Diana and Charles got divorced after 15 years of marriage in 1996. A year later, Diana died in a car crash in Paris. She still remains one of the most popular members of the British royal family. 

Stay tuned with Treemily and be the first to know interesting facts about the most popular family trees. Try our family tree maker online to create your own visualizations and trace back your family’s past. 

The Key Differences Between the Treemily Ancestor, Descendant, and Dynasty Family Trees

Family tree

To make it easier for the Treemily community to choose one of the Treemily products, we’ve decided to make a simple guide describing the key features and differences between them. In this article, we’ll tell you more about the Ancestor, Descendant, and Dynasty family trees to help you pick the one for creating your own stunning family history visualizations. 

Descendant Treemily

As it’s clear from the title, the Descendant tree features up to 5 generations of your descendants. You can create a Descendant family tree for an individual or a couple to include their kids, grandchildren, and further generations all the way to their great-great-grandchildren. One tree can include up to 11,222 names but if you have more members of your family, our team will be glad to work on a custom visualization just for you. We also believe that such a tree can become a great holiday present for your grandparents. Check out our walkthrough video to see how to make a Descendant tree with Treemily.

Ancestor Treemily

Our Ancestor family tree maker can be used for creating a tree that describes your family heritage all the way up to 10 generations. Just like the Descendant one, this tree can be made for an individual or a couple to describe their ancestors’ history. If you want to trace back your generation’s past, this is the best choice for you. You can also watch the walkthrough video to see how easy it is to make such a tree with the Treemily builder. 

Dynasty Treemily

Dynasty family tree was primarily designed for people willing to show their connection with famous people. No matter how far the connection goes, the tree will show exactly how you are related to a scientist, an artist, or any other luminary. The tree features your lineage of up to 150 generations.


What Do They Have in Common?

All of the above-mentioned trees allow placing pictures of your ancestors directly on the tree. You can also order any of your family history visualizations as a poster, a framed picture, or a canvas wrap, or download its digital version. 

What Product Should I Choose?

Your choice of the Treemily tree depends on your major purposes. If you want to show your connection to a world-known celebrity, go for our Dynasty family tree. If you want to trace back your family history, try out our Ancestor family tree maker. Or create a Descendant family tree to describe your family’s descendants known to date.

Join the Treemily community now and create your own dazzling family trees to keep the memories of your loved ones alive!

How Scents Can Evoke Distant Memories

capture your family history

Scents can revive certain memories from years ago and pull you back into past events. We all have scents that are associated with our childhood, and whenever we feel homesick, we can cook that dish to feel as though we are at home. Some of us share collective memories, for instance, the smell of roast turkey can remind us of Thanksgiving. You catch a whiff of newspaper or freshly cut grass, and you immediately get immersed in your childhood memories.

Continue reading “How Scents Can Evoke Distant Memories”

Can Siblings Have Different Ethnicity Breakdown?

track your family roots

It seems like siblings share the same family background, their ethnic background must be the same. After all, they both inherited half their DNA from each of the two parents. However, because of how DNA is passed on, siblings (not twins) with exactly the same ancestors can have different ethnicity breakdown. Culturally, they can say they are “1/8th Irish”, but at the DNA level, one may have no Irish genes at all.

It’s rather common for siblings to get different ethnic results from a DNA test, even though they have the same parents. There are several factors that can affect ethnic heritage.

Tracking Your Family Roots Through DNA Testing

To understand why people who share the same ancestors have different ethnicity results, you must have at least a basic knowledge of human genetics. We’re not going to delve deep into the science of DNA and genealogy, but there are some fundamentals you need to know.


Chromosomes consist of continuous thread-like molecules of DNA. Each cell normally contains 23 pairs of chromosomes. There are different types of genealogy tests, but we will focus on autosomal testing since it is responsible for ethnicity estimates. The autosomal testing explores the first 22 pairs of chromosomes that are called autosomes (no surprises here). The 23rd pair of chromosomes determines your sex.


Each chromosome represents a long double helix on which thousands of genes are encoded. Genes define how our bodies grow and operate, as well as our build, complexion, and even taste. Also, genes determine your ethnicity.

dna genealogy

Genetic Shuffle

DNA stores information about your ancestors and their place of living. However, because of the way genes are inherited by children, things get a bit complicated. The 22 pairs of autosomes that we have are not identical to your parents’ ones. Our reproductive cells take pieces from your parents’ chromosomes to create a new, unique configuration. The new DNA helices are very similar to those of your parents, yet not identical.

Children receive half of their chromosomes from each of their parents. At first sight, you might think that if your maternal grandfather is 50% German and 50% Italian, and your maternal grandmother is 100% French, that your mother would be 25% German, 25% Italian, and 50% French, but that’s not necessarily true.

The maternal grandmother can only pass on 50% of genes, so half the mother’s genes are French (50%). But the maternal grandfather can pass on either German or Italian genes, but won’t necessarily be an exact half of each.

With each new generation, another set of genes from each ethnicity will be passed down. Even within two generations, there will major differences at the siblings’ ethnicity estimate.
Typically, siblings share half of their DNA, and the other 50% can vary. Only twins have identical DNA. This means siblings may have a different ethnic breakdown, too.

Determining the Ethnicity Breakdown

The ethnicity breakdown can be resolved through single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). In simple words, these are tiny pieces of DNA that vary depending on your ancestry.

People migrated significantly less than we do today and tended to marry within their own religious and ethnic groups, so these SNPs accumulated over time. If your DNA contains an SNP that appears solely in Greeks, then the odds are high that you have Greek ancestors.

Provided that DNA becomes increasingly mixed with each new generation, the siblings may get different ethnicity estimates. If you inherited many SNPs related to a particular ethnic group, your ethnic estimate for that group would be higher. On the other hand, if your sibling inherited less of it, their estimate will be lower.

One interesting consequence of this is that siblings can have different relative matches. Since they share only around half of the DNA, the relatives they are matched with won’t be exactly the same, either. You’re more likely to find more German and Italian relatives if these ethnicities dominate in your DNA. However, this mostly applies to more distant relatives. Close family members are more likely to see the same set of relatives.

Remember that genealogy testing companies use different methods to determine ethnicity estimate so the results may vary. This doesn’t mean the results are wrong or inaccurate. It just shows that if you want to get the most accurate results possible, you need several tests.
Though siblings share the same cultural and family roots, they can still have different genetic backgrounds. While at first glance this may seem strange, it’s actually a widespread phenomenon. This is the result of the complex relationship between genetics, ancestry, and ethnicity.

Don’t forget to visualize your ethnicity breakdown results! Use our genealogical tree builder and create detailed profiles for every ancestor you discover! Create amazing stories and share them with your friends and relatives!

Search Engines and Genealogy: How to Dig up Information Online

ancestry free online

When you start doing research, the first thing that comes to your mind is asking your family members about your family roots. Who else other than your parents and grandparents can tell more about your family history? However, completely neglecting online sources would be unreasonable.

Here are some tips on how to dig information online:

Continue reading “Search Engines and Genealogy: How to Dig up Information Online”

2020 Genealogy Research Guide

roots family history

Updated on June 3, 2020

Conducting a family history research can be an exciting journey, though difficult. Anyone who has ever dug into their family history knows how time-consuming (and even frustrating) the process can be, from data research to creating a genealogy visualization with the help of a family tree chart maker. The do-it-yourself approach to learning your ancestry may lead you down a series of blind alleys. We compiled advice to help you do your ancestry search – just keep reading and you will learn how to do the research like a pro!

Tips on the Correct Way to Research Family History

Make a Plan

To succeed in genealogy research, you need to have a clear plan of action. It is better to start off with smaller goals that can be changed over time rather than going at full speed and hit a brick wall. Spend time collecting information and documenting your family in small pieces as you work towards the larger goal of filling out your family tree.

Family history research

1. Set an objective. Focus on a particular story about an ancestor or a family you are interested in most of all. Aim to uncover any data relating to them.

2. List known facts. Make some notes during your search. This will help you organize information and rest assured you don’t miss anything important.

3. Identify sources. Once you have established your hypothesis, list all the data that can be potentially useful based on what you have learned during step 2.

4. Make a working hypothesis. Combine all the facts you have discovered about the ancestor in a single story. For example:

James Evans was born in London, the UK. In 1903, he got married to Emme Wilson and had two children, Megan and Harry. His first wife died in 1028. After a while, he married Laura Johnson and they moved to America. While in Denver, their daughter Emily was born. James and Laura both died in Denver. James’ children from first wife, Megan and Harry, settled in Florida. Emily moved to Canada.

5. Start your online family tree. Start building an online family tree to organize your results. As you continue to find new details it is important to store your research data. Enter important information in your family tree chart maker, including names, dates, and places to build a solid foundation as you continue exploring your ancestry.

Note: Remember to re-evaluate your goals sometimes. If you have hit an inevitable brick wall, don’t stare at it but rather take a step back and think. In this case, it is better to switch focus to nearby relatives.

How to research family history

Mom-And-Pop Investigation

Every journey starts at home. Start the research about your ancestors by having a conversation with your relatives. This will help you learn about your ancestors more closely.

Your older relatives are living libraries and can save you so much time and effort. Even if you have heard your family stories and legends for many times already, taking time to interview your relatives and asking specific questions can help reveal new details. Quiz them about your grandparents and, if possible, beyond. Ask them to identify people and places in old photos and don’t forget to learn all basic information like ethnic background, occupations, addresses, military service, where relatives are buried, and other important clues.

Treasure Hunt at Home

At this stage, you can start searching for records, personal correspondence, and old photos somewhere in the attic, basement or drawers. Documents with dates are especially helpful. Some clues may be hiding in plain view at home – just keep your eyes open.

You may involve your relatives in the process of discovering your roots. Explain what you are doing and why guide each other. This can save you a great deal of research time.

Research at Archives

Archives are the number one place to go if you want to learn about your past. However, before visiting an archive or record office for family history research you need to discover what you really need to know and the types of records that may hold that information.

Some archival material may not be cataloged beyond the title and asking information on a specific ancestor may be unfruitful. Contact the archive to find out of they are likely to hold the material you need or any other relevant material.

How to research your family history

Go Online

Use the information you have collected to search online. There are websites that collect genealogy records and resources from around the world. They provide various books, online records, and publications to ease your mission. Look for local history centers or go to a library – there you can get access to various online databases, like immigration and emigration books, border crossings and passports information, citizenship and naturalization records, and many others.

If you don’t know where to look for records and other data, you may want to check out our list of best genealogy websites. There, we have collected the richest and the most reputable online databases where you could find information about your ancestors.

Get a DNA Test

A DNA test can help you determine deep ancestry and lead you to people and places you would never find simply by doing some paperwork. DNA tests are immensely popular today, both among seasoned and novice researchers. However, there are some things to consider.

Genetic testing is an extremely powerful tool, but you need a clear understanding of what to expect and how to use the results. Don’t expect that a genetic test will help you avoid routine paperwork. DNA tests are definitely worthwhile but be prepared that you will still have to conduct traditional documentary research.

Don’t Neglect Social Media

Through social networks like Facebook and Twitter, you can connect with people with the same ancestral surnames and look for organizations, archives and libraries, and other services in your ancestor’s birthplace. Besides that, you can find people who live in your ancestor’s hometown and contact them to ask some questions.

Besides that, you can join various networks of family historians and make new connections to gain insight into how to expand your family history resources.

Genealogy research

What’s Been Done Before?

It is worth checking if anyone else had been doing genealogy research into your family before. There are social networks where people can register their research interests and this can be a way of finding information. The Society of Genealogists library maintains published and unpublished family histories notes. However, you should never copy information from someone’s online tree without proper verification. Instead, use this data as a helper only. Take the time to make sure every piece of information is backed by a source document.

Get Organized and Keep Going

The first weeks of your journey might be tedious since it is not that easy to collect facts about relatives. Plus the amounts of data you have gathered may be difficult to process and systematize. To organize everything you have discovered, choose an online genealogical database to help you keep the data.

Beginning genealogists often wonder how long it will take to finish research. The truth is that genealogy is a never-ending challenge, since the farther back you go, the more ancestors you are likely to discover. However, there is something enticing about genealogy – though you never know where your family roots will lead you, the search can be both intriguing and enlightening.