Pop Culture/Famous Families

Bob Marley’s Family Tree: A Look at Bob Marley’s Ancestry and Lineage

data icon 05.24.2024

Bob Marley is a name synonymous with reggae music, cultural revolution, and an enduring legacy that has touched generations around the world. Born on February 6, 1945, in Nine Mile, Jamaica, Marley created music that defined a whole genre and became a powerful voice for social justice and unity. 


But the story of Bob Marley’s impact doesn’t end with him. His family has carried forward his musical legacy, with many of his children and grandchildren becoming influential artists in their own right. In this article, we will not only highlight the achievements of his family members who have kept the Marley name alive but also explore the roots of Bob Marley’s family tree, delving into the familial influences that shaped his life and music. 

Early Roots: Bob Marley’s Ancestry

Bob Marley was born on February 6, 1945, in Nine Mile, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica. His father Norval was a white Jamaican, while his mother Cedella Malcolm was Afro-Jamaican, which meant that Bob was exposed to different sides of Jamaican culture from very early childhood. 


Cedella especially was known for ingraining the Afro-Jamaican traditions deeply into her son. Drawing from the rhythmic traditions rooted in Jamaica’s soil, Marley’s music became a potent expression of his cultural identity. Marley’s Rastafari views are thought to have been influenced by his ancestral connections as well. 


From the upbeat rhythms of ska to the soul-stirring reggae, his songs captured the essence of Jamaican life. His songs addressed issues of injustice, inequality, and the quest for freedom, echoing the struggles of his ancestors and contemporaries alike.

Bob Marley’s Parents and Ancestry

Norval Marley

Norval Marley, born in Clarendon Parish, Jamaica, brought a unique blend of European and African ancestry to Bob Marley’s family tree. Nicknamed “Captain”, he served for.the British Army, supervising a land subdivision for war veterans.


Norval was 64 years old when Bob was born, and his involvement in Bob’s life was minimal, as he provided little financial support and rarely saw his family before passing away when Bob was just 10. The lack of a strong fatherly figure left a void in Bob’s life, which would later shape his quest for identity and belonging, reflected in his music. 

Cedella Booker

Cedella Booker, born Cedella Editha Malcolm, was born in Rhoden Hall, Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica. At 18, Cedella married the 59-year-old Norval, and five years later she gave birth to Bob Marley. Following Norval’s death in 1955, Cedella and Bob moved to Trenchtown, a slum in Kingston, as it was the only place she could afford as a young woman transitioning from rural to urban life.


While residing in Trenchtown, Cedella gave birth to Claudette Pearl with Taddeus Livingston, the father of Bunny Wailer, who later formed the original Wailers trio with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh in 1963. She later married Edward Booker, an American civil servant, and moved to Delaware, where she had two more sons, Richard and Anthony. After Edward died in 1976, Cedella moved to Miami, Florida, and was present during Bob Marley’s final moments when he succumbed to cancer in 1981. Tragically, her son Anthony was killed in 1990 during a shootout with Miami police after a violent incident in a shopping mall.


Cedella Booker made Miami her home for the rest of her life. In 1993, she founded the 9 Mile Music Festival, an annual event held in Miami to honor Bob Marley’s legacy of peace, love, and unity. She passed away peacefully in her sleep in Miami on April 8, 2008. 

Creating Bob Marley’s Family Tree

Bob Marley Family Tree

Did you know you could recreate the famous family tree of Bob Marley? With Treemily, it’s very simple! 


All you need is to create a free account, choose your preferred family tree layout, and put in some basic information about the family members. 


Don’t be put off by the amount of effort it may take to have all of them listed – it is really quick and simple! And don’t forget to add pictures of each of the family members as well as some facts about them!


Once you’re done, you can export it to a stunningly looking PDF or even have it printed on paper of the size of your choosing.


Excited to embark on your first genealogical adventure? Feel free to find out more useful guidance in our “how to make a family tree” manual!

The Marley Lineage: Key Figures in Bob Marley’s Family Tree

Bob Marley’s Grandfather: Albert Thomas Malcolm

Bob Marley’s maternal grandfather, Albert Thomas Malcolm, also known as Omeriah, was a respected figure in the Jamaican Myal tradition, a spiritual practice with roots in West Africa. Omeriah’s influence on Bob Marley’s upbringing was profound; he introduced young Bob to the principles of Rastafarianism and instilled in him a deep appreciation for music, spirituality, and African heritage. 

Bob Marley’s Son: Ziggy Marley

Ziggy Marley


Ziggy Marley, born David Nesta Marley on October 17, 1968, is Bob Marley’s eldest son from his marriage to Rita Marley. Ziggy is a Grammy-winning musician and philanthropist known for his contributions to reggae music and advocacy for social change. He gained fame as the lead vocalist of the reggae band Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, releasing several successful albums, including “Conscious Party” and “One Bright Day”.

Bob Marley’s Son: Stephen Marley

Stephen Marley


Stephen Marley, Bob Marley’s son from his relationship with Rita Marley, is a Grammy-winning musician and producer known for his contributions to reggae music. Born on April 20, 1972, Stephen grew up immersed in his father’s musical legacy, learning from him and honing his own musical talents. Stephen has released several successful albums, including “Mind Control” and “Revelation Part I: The Root of Life”, earning acclaim for his soulful vocals and innovative production style. 

Bob Marley’s Son: Julian Marley

Julian Marley



Julian Marley, born on June 4, 1975, is the son of Bob Marley and Lucy Pounder. Like his brothers, Julian has made significant contributions to the reggae music scene, establishing himself as a talented singer, songwriter, and musician. He released his debut album, “Lion in the Morning”, in 1996, followed by several successful albums, including “Awake” and “As I Am”.

Bob Marley’s Son: Ky-Mani Marley

Kymani Marley


Ky-Mani Marley, born on February 26, 1976, is Bob Marley’s son from a relationship with Anita Belnavis. Raised in Jamaica and Miami, Ky-Mani pursued a career in music, drawing inspiration from his father’s legacy while incorporating elements of hip-hop, R&B, and dancehall into his music. He released his debut album, “Like Father Like Son”, in 1996, followed by several successful albums, including “The Journey” and “Maestro”. In addition to his music career, Ky-Mani has also ventured into acting, appearing in films and television shows.

Bob Marley’s Son: Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley

Damian Jr. Gong Marley


Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, born on July 21, 1978, is Bob Marley’s youngest son from his relationship with Cindy Breakspeare, Miss World 1976. Damian followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a Grammy-winning reggae artist known for his distinctive voice and socially conscious lyrics. He gained international recognition with his albums “Welcome to Jamrock” and “Stony Hill”, blending reggae, hip-hop, and dancehall influences to create a unique sound. 

Bob Marley’s Daughter: Sharon Marley

Sharon Marley


Sharon Marley, born on November 23, 1964, is Bob Marley’s daughter from his marriage to Rita Marley. Sharon is a singer, dancer, and entrepreneur who has played a significant role in preserving her father’s legacy. She co-founded the Bob Marley Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education, culture, and community development in Jamaica and beyond. Sharon has also contributed to various charitable initiatives, using her platform to uplift marginalized communities and advocate for social justice.

Bob Marley’s Daughter: Cedella Marley

Cedella Marley


Cedella Marley, born on August 23, 1967, is Bob Marley’s daughter from his marriage to Rita Marley. Cedella is a singer, author, and fashion designer known for her creative talents and entrepreneurial spirit. She has released several albums, including “Awake Zion” and “Country Living”, and authored children’s books inspired by her father’s music and legacy. Cedella is also the CEO of Tuff Gong International, a record label and merchandise company founded by Bob Marley.

The Enduring Legacy: Marley Family in Music

As discussed in our previous section, the Bob Marley lineage has continued his legacy in remarkable ways. Ziggy Marley, for instance, has not only won multiple Grammy Awards but also achieved the rare distinction of winning the Grammy for Best Reggae Album seven times. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, meanwhile, made history by becoming the first reggae artist to win a Grammy outside the reggae category, earning the Best Urban/Alternative Performance award in 2006 for his collaboration with Nas on the song “Road to Zion.”


Stephen Marley has also made significant contributions as a producer, winning numerous Grammy Awards for his work on albums by various artists, including his siblings Ziggy and Damian. In addition, Stephen is a talented musician and vocalist in his own right, with several critically acclaimed solo albums to his name.


Ky-Mani Marley, Bob’s son with table tennis champion Anita Belnavis, has also made waves in the music industry with his unique blend of reggae, hip-hop, and R&B. In addition to his musical endeavors, Ky-Mani is an accomplished actor, appearing in films such as “Shottas” and “One Love.”


Sharon Marley, Bob’s daughter with Rita Marley, has also played a pivotal role in preserving her father’s legacy as the head of the Bob Marley Foundation. She has worked tirelessly to promote reggae music and Jamaican culture through various educational and philanthropic initiatives.


How Many Children Did Bob Marley Have?

Bob Marley had a total of 11 acknowledged children. With his wife Rita Marley, he had three children: Ziggy, Stephen, and Cedella. He also adopted Rita’s two children from previous relationships, Sharon and Stephanie. Additionally, he fathered six children with other partners: Rohan, Karen, Stephanie, Julian, Damian (also known as Jr. Gong), and Ky-Mani.

Who Are Bob Marley’s Most Famous Children Musically?

Ziggy, a Grammy Award-winning artist, leads the family band Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. Damian, known as Jr. Gong, has won multiple Grammy Awards for his reggae and dancehall music. Stephen Marley is a successful musician, producer, and member of the family band. Ky-Mani Marley is also a respected reggae artist with several albums to his name.

Are There Any Other Descendants of Bob Marley in the Entertainment Industry?

Yes, apart from Bob Marley’s children, several of his grandchildren have entered the entertainment industry. Notably, Skip Marley, the son of Cedella Marley, has gained recognition as a singer-songwriter and is known for his hit single “Slow Down.” Additionally, Jo Mersa Marley, the son of Stephen Marley, is a talented reggae artist and musician.

What Was Bob Marley’s Impact Beyond Music?

He became a cultural icon and symbol of resistance, advocating for social justice, equality, and peace. Marley’s Rastafarian beliefs and commitment to Pan-Africanism inspired movements for liberation and empowerment worldwide. His music served as a voice for the oppressed and marginalized, spreading messages of love, unity, and hope.

How Did Bob Marley Contribute to the Global Spread of Reggae Music and Rastafari Religion?

Bob Marley played a pivotal role in popularizing reggae music internationally and raising awareness of the Rastafari religion. Through his captivating performances and iconic songs, such as “One Love” and “Redemption Song,” Marley introduced audiences worldwide to the sounds and messages of reggae music, infused with Rastafarian ideology.




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