DailyMailTV reveals Meghan Markle's family roots

Meghan Markle's American - and British - ancestors are revealed today in a DailyMailTV investigation.

The fascinating stories of her family's past can be disclosed amid mounting belief that the star of Suits is about to become engaged to her boyfriend Prince Harry.

The British royal's ancestors are well known, and traceable back many hundreds of years.

But for the first time DailyMailTV can reveal how Meghan Markle's ancestors have been in the United States since before the Declaration of Independence, how one appears certain to have witnessed the final moment of the Civil War and another was a pioneering black teacher in the Jim Crow South.

It can also be disclosed that she has a series of British ancestors, who arrived in the U.S. during the reign of Queen Victoria, Prince Harry's great-great-great-great grandmother.

Markle, 36, was brought up in Los Angeles, the daughter of Thomas Markle and Doria Loyce Ragland.

But an examination of both their family trees has revealed how on one side Markle is a descendant of members of the working and middle-classes of Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, while on her mother's side, her family is from the South - where it was caught up in the horrors of Civil War and Jim Crow segregation.

At least two of her ancestors - a father and son who were her great-great-great-great grandfather and her great-great-great-grandfather fought in the Union cause in the Civil War.

Family time: Prince Harry spent time with Doria Ragland, Megan Markle's mother, when she joined her daughter at the Prince's Invictus Games in Toronto in September. Now DailyMailTV can reveal his girlfriend's fascinating roots

Family time: Prince Harry spent time with Doria Ragland, Megan Markle's mother, when she joined her daughter at the Prince's Invictus Games in Toronto in September. Now DailyMailTV can reveal his girlfriend's fascinating roots

Getting closer: The Daily Mail revealed this month how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had met the Queen for tea at Buckingham Palace. The couple were last seen together at his Invictus Games in Toronto in September

Getting closer: The Daily Mail revealed this month how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had met the Queen for tea at Buckingham Palace. The couple were last seen together at his Invictus Games in Toronto in September

But a document found by DailyMailTV suggests it is also possible that her black great-great-great-great grandfather Joseph Betts enlisted in Alabama for a 'colored regiment' of the Union Army in 1864, suggesting he was a former slave who took advantage of his freedom to fight the Confederacy.

Markle has repeatedly spoken of her pride in her bi-racial heritage, describing herself as a 'strong, confident mixed-race woman' and saying that she is in awe of her past.

In a frank interview with Elle, Meghan said that her biracial identity created a 'grey area' and that it was a 'blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating'.

Prince Harry was last seen with her in September at his Invictus Games in Toronto, and she brought her mother Doria Ragland to the closing ceremony in a sign of their closeness. This month the Daily Mail revealed that Prince Harry had introduced her to his grandmother Queen Elizabeth over tea at Buckingham Palace.

The Prince will be in the United States later this month when he attends former president Obama's summit on urban renewal in Chicago. 

DailyMailTV asked Pennsylvania-based genealogist Doug Nicol, who was worked on the TV series Finding Your Roots, to search for ancestors on Meghan's father's side, and Georgia-based genealogist Margaret Eves to look into Meghan's mother's family history.

Here are our findings. 

BLACK PIONEERS IN THE JIM CROW SOUTH WHERE RACE HAUNTED EVERYDAY LIFE

Meghan Markle's great-great grandfather Jerry Miah - or Jeremiah - Ragland was born in 1883, in Jonesboro, Clayton County, Georgia. 

Although it is the county seat, Ragland's family were not urban-dwellers but were 'farmers' - in reality, probably sharecroppers, and certainly poor. 

His father's name appears only on Jerry Miah's death certificate, where he was named as Steve, while his mother was named as Texas.

DailyMailTV has been unable to establish the full story of Jerry Miah's family, but was able to find a Steve Raglan or Raglin in census records in Georgia.

He was a black farmer who in the 1880 census had a daughter called Texas, then 12,  and in the 1900 census an 18-year-old grandson called Jerry in an area close to what is now Clayton County, meaning it is possible that Jerry Miah Ragland's mother was Texas and his grandfather was Stephen Raglin.

The turn of the century was transforming the South, and Jerry made a move, quitting cultivating the land and moving with his wife Claudia Ritchie to Chattanooga, Tennessee which was booming. 

The city he moved to was part of the Jim Crow South, a place where race counted for everything.

His family's racial group was carefully documented in the census - as 'mulatto', biracial - and his children went to segregated schools, and if they went further afield the family used segregated streetcars and buses.

It is unclear exactly when Ragland and his wife left rural Jonesboro, Georgia, and they may have come back and forward, as in 1920 their two younger children, Paul and Lillie were recorded as having been born in Georgia, while the elder two, Steve and Dora, were born in Tennessee.

The family lived in poor housing in an area known as Tannery Flats. The home on 620 West 9th Street is now demolished, with a parking lot where it stood, but Ragland was on the up.

According to his draft card in September 1918 Ragland was a tailor and he may even had has his own shop, at 818 Chestnut Street, on the edge of downtown. The address is now a hotel.

Pioneering: Dora Cooper was a teacher at what was then the James A. Henry Elementary School in Chattanooga, TN. Despire segregation and Jim Crow, she had been able to achieve a college education in Nashville

Pioneering: Dora Cooper was a teacher at what was then the James A. Henry Elementary School in Chattanooga, TN. Despire segregation and Jim Crow, she had been able to achieve a college education in Nashville

The 1920 Census says that he had his 'own shop'. By 1930, the family had moved to better housing at 1021 Grove Street. Ragland was described as a presser in a tailor shop, working on his own account, meaning he appeared to still be running his own business.

His work paid off: in 1930 his daughter Dora was a teacher in public school. The school was the James A. Henry Elementary School, whose building still exists, and records show that she taught there for many years.

The last record uncovered by DailyMailTV shows that Mrs Cooper - Meghan's great-great aunt - was a teacher there in 1948.

And the 1940 census shows that Dora - by then a widow and back living at home as Dora Cooper - and her older sister, Lillie, had both been to college, despite the system being loaded against them.

Praised: Lillie Evans was included in Who's Who Among African Americans, which detailed her time at college in Nashville and at UCLA when she was 51

Praised: Lillie Evans was included in Who's Who Among African Americans, which detailed her time at college in Nashville and at UCLA when she was 51

DailyMailTV was able to establish that Lillie - who died Lillie Evans - attended Tennessee Agricultural & Industrial State College, known as Tennessee A&I, in Nashville, from 1931 to 1932. She had previously been working as a maid in a department store in the city.

It appears likely that Dora Cooper was there too, completing the full four years which allowed her to teach in public school. 

Like the rest of the education system in the South, the college was segregated - when it was set up it was called the Tennessee Normal School for Negroes - but for Ragland to have sent both his daughters to college was a remarkable step.

Sadly by 1940, he was out of work, and he died four years later of pneumonia. 

The school where Cooper taught was itself segregated, and is now a site for a new charter school. 

But Lillie Evans was to become a pioneer again, when she moved to Los Angeles some time after the war, with her second husband William.

In 1962, aged 51, she went back to college, studying for a year at the University of California, Los Angeles.

DailyMailTV was unable to determine what she studied, but at the same time she became a vice president and director of a realty firm in the city.

She was later included in Who's Who Among African Americans.

Mrs Evans died in 2004 in Los Angeles, leaving no children. Her step-son, William D. Evans III, had predeceased her. 

Meghan Markle's grandfather, Alvin Ragland, had been her conservator for much of her later life and was responsible for her will, public records show, suggesting that Meghan would have known her throughout her childhood.

Alvin had been born in Chattanooga too, in 1930, and was a hotel bell boy at 14. His uncle also worked in the hotel trade, which would inevitably have been segregated. He went on to serve in the military. 

THE FATHER AND SON WHO FOUGHT FOR THE UNION - AND ONE MAY HAVE WITNESSED LEE SURRENDERING

Meghan Markle can boast that at least two of her ancestors fought for the Union in the Civil War - and that they were father and son.

Her great-great-great-great grandfather Daniel Mangle and his son Thomas - her great-great-great grandfather - both served in Lincoln's Army for more than a year, as the war entered its final stages.

And Thomas Mangle may well have seen the very last act of the war, as his unit was present when Robert E. Lee, the Confederate commander, surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.

Daniel Mangle was an old man to go to war. He was 50 when he enlisted on September 20, 1864, and his first wife Catherine had already died after they had at least eight children together. 

In 1850 he was a limeburner in Liverpool, Pennsylvania, but by 1860 he had been widowed, remarried to Amanda, and moved to Susquehanna Township, in Juniata County, further north, and become a farmer.

Veteran: Thomas Mangle was 71 when he celebrated his wife Louisa Long's birthday. He had enlisted aged 18 in the Union Cause and was mustered into the 162nd Regiment, also known as the 17th Cavalry. The unit was deployed at some of the most notable battles of the last year of the war - and also at the Appomattox where it was outside the Appomattox Courthouse where Grant took Lee's surrender. His father was an artilleryman at the same time

Veteran: Thomas Mangle was 71 when he celebrated his wife Louisa Long's birthday. He had enlisted aged 18 in the Union Cause and was mustered into the 162nd Regiment, also known as the 17th Cavalry. The unit was deployed at some of the most notable battles of the last year of the war - and also at the Appomattox where it was outside the Appomattox Courthouse where Grant took Lee's surrender. His father was an artilleryman at the same time

Last days of the war: As Thomas Mangle's unit was deployed in the very last engagement of the war, which led to the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse (pictured), his father Daniel's artillery regiment's final actions were outside Richmond the Confederate capital which was besieged by Grant until early April 1865

Last days of the war: As Thomas Mangle's unit was deployed in the very last engagement of the war, which led to the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, his father Daniel's artillery regiment's final actions were outside Richmond (pictured) the Confederate capital which was besieged by Grant until early April 1865

Last days of the war: As Thomas Mangle's unit was deployed in the very last engagement of the war, which led to the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse (left), his father Daniel's artillery regiment's final actions were outside Richmond (right) the Confederate capital which was besieged by Grant until early April 1865 

Service remembered: Daniel Mangle was buried in Juniata County after his death in July 1873. He had finished his time in the Union Army just over eight years earlier

Service remembered: Daniel Mangle was buried in Juniata County after his death in July 1873. He had finished his time in the Union Army just over eight years earlier

Service remembered: Daniel Mangle was buried in Juniata County after his death in July 1873. He had finished his time in the Union Army just over eight years earlier 

His son Thomas was the first to enlist, joining up on February 16, and being mustered into a cavalry regiment, the the 17th Regiment, Pennsylvania Cavalry (162nd Volunteers) where he was a trooper in I Company.

That unit was to see engagement in some of the best-known - and bloodiest clashes - of the last year of the war.

After Thomas Mangle enlisted, aged 18, the regiment saw action at the Battle of the Wilderness. The three day battle left 28,000 dead between May 5 and 7, but by the end of the month the 17th were in action again at Cold Harbor on May 31 and June 1, and in other clashes such as the Battle of Todd's Tavern and White House Landing.

Back in Pennsylvania, his father signed up too - leaving behind his four young children with his second wife including one called Thomas who was born while his older brother of the same name was deployed.

Daniel Mangle became an artilleryman, a private in the 3rd Pennsylvania Artillery (152nd Volunteers), serving in Battery M.

His son was on horseback as the Union Armies stepped up their campaign scenting victory, with his regiment becoming in fall 1864 part of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign which included the battles of Smithfield Crossing, Berryville and Opequan, before in 1865 being in Sheridan's Expedition from Winchester, and then at the last battle of the war, Appomattox.

It is unclear if Thomas Mangle was there but I company was and its troopers were outside the home of Wilmer McClean as in the front parlor Grant gave Lee, in full dress uniform, the terms of surrender. Although there were skirmishes after that between units still to learn the war was over, it was effectively the final act of the Civil War.

The older man's service was less mobile, reflecting how his unit was the sort of heavy artillery which were used in sieges.

That left him, like his son, in a key place in Civil War history, as his unit was part of the siege of Richmond, the Confederate capital. Grant had surrounded Petersburg, close by, and used heavy artillery like that manned by Daniel Mangle, to bombard the Confederate position.

Eventually the Confederate government of Jefferson Davis fled Richmond on April 2, 1865, meaning that Daniel's war was over a full week before his son's.

The 17th Cavalry was among those regiments which were part of the Grand Review of the Armies in Washington D.C. just a few weeks later at the end of May.

Daniel Mangle's company was in the seven miles of cavalry which processed down Pennsylvania Avenue on May 23 on horseback in front of Andrew Johnson - the president who had only taken office on April 15 after the assassination of Lincoln.

Daniel was to live until July 1873, but his son married Louisa Long, four years his senior, and aged 71 was photographed with his family as they celebrated her 75th birthday. He had outlived both his eldest daughter Mary-Jane and then outlived her husband George Markle - Meghan Markle's great-great-grandfather.

He was to die in 1925 aged 89, one of the fading generation who could remember the horrors of the civil war.

DID MEGHAN'S ANCESTOR BECOME ONE OF THE CIVIL WAR'S BLACK SOLDIERS? 

A document uncovered by DailyMailTV raises the tantalizing possibility that one of her African-American ancestors became a part of the Civil War too.

Markle's great-great-great-great-grandfather was Joseph Betts. Public records about him are limited but in 1870, he was living in Madison County, Alabama, according to that year's federal census and was said to be a 51-year-old 'farmer' in an area close to the town of Gurley.

He had a wife Catherine, 45, and five children: Sarah, 19; Thaddeus, 17; Jacob, 14 (who was Meghan Markle's great-great-great-grandfather); Isaac, 11; and Genesse, eight. All but the eight-year-old were recorded as working as 'farm laborers' and none could read or write. 

It appears to be the first time the Betts family were enumerated in a census; there is no record of them in the 1860 Census. But that one, taken under slavery, simply enumerated how many slaves there were, not their names or family relations. 

Document: Joseph Betts is the name of one of Meghan Markle's great-great-great-great-grandfathers - and also of a black man who enlisted in the Union Army not long after slaves were emancipated in the area where her ancestors lived. Although it is not definitively clear if her ancestor was a member of the 'colored troops' like 'Gordon, a slave' who was the subject of a woodcut at the time, it is a tantalizing possibility

Document: Joseph Betts is the name of one of Meghan Markle's great-great-great-great-grandfathers - and also of a black man who enlisted in the Union Army not long after slaves were emancipated in the area where her ancestors lived. Although it is not definitively clear if her ancestor was a member of the 'colored troops' like 'Gordon, a slave' who was the subject of a woodcut at the time, it is a tantalizing possibility

Document: Joseph Betts is the name of one of Meghan Markle's great-great-great-great-grandfathers - and also of a black man who enlisted in the Union Army not long after slaves were emancipated in the area where her ancestors lived. Although it is not definitively clear if her ancestor was a member of the 'colored troops' like 'Gordon, a slave' who was the subject of a woodcut at the time, it is a tantalizing possibility

Encouragement: The Union actively recruited for African-Americans to join the army and while this posted from the north survives, they also enlisted newly-freed slaves as Confederate territory fell

Encouragement: The Union actively recruited for African-Americans to join the army and while this posted from the north survives, they also enlisted newly-freed slaves as Confederate territory fell

The first reference to Joseph Betts was in 1867, which describe him as 'colored' and registered in Madison County on July 1, 1867.

He was hardly the only Betts man in the area - others were James, Giles, Taylor, and William, but none of their ages had been recorded.

The records do not say if the Betts had been slaves, but their sudden appearance is suggestive that they may have been. 

Additionally, at least two slave owners with the surname Betts are enumerated in the 1860 Census, and a record at the Freedmen's Bureau mentions 'Betts Plantation'. It was common for slaves to take the surnames of their former masters, simply because they had been deprived of the chance to have a proper name.

But it is the record of the Union Army's muster rolls which provide a suggestion that Joseph Betts may have fought in the Civil War.

The records show that a Joseph Betts Alabama at Athens, Alabama, enlisted on August 22, 1864, and was transferred to the 40th United States Colored Infantry regiment.

The age of the solider is 24, which is far younger than the age the Joseph Betts in the Census of 1870 would have been in 1864, but there are other reasons to believe that it could be the same man.

Firstly, there were no official documents for slaves to establish their age, a cruel fact of life in the slave states, so the accuracy of any of the records is open to question. It is also possible that someone keen to sign up would lie about their age, and an army in need of men may not have questioned him too hard.

Athens, Alabama, is close to Madison County, where the Betts lived, and the 1870 Census shows no other black Joseph Betts in Alabama likely to have have served in the Army - the other two were 20 and 17 in 1870, making them 14 and 11 in 1864, less likely candidates to have been part of the regiment.

The area around Hunstville, Alabama, had been taken by the Union first in April 1862, but that occupation ended before the Emancipation Proclamation, and then in fall 1863, which meant that if Joseph Betts was a slave, he would have been freed by the time of his enlistment.

It appears impossible to tell definitively if Joseph Betts was Meghan's ancestor - but it cannot be easily ruled out.

The 40th U.S. Colored Infantry was used to guard railroads in Tennessee, and had first been raised on February 29, 1864. Its men ended their service in April 1866.  

The 'colored regiments' were first authorized by Lincoln in the Emancipation Proclamation, and in May 1862, burgeoning numbers of volunteers led to the establishment of the Bureau of Colored Troops. As Confederate territory fell, newly-freed slaves joined up.

But there was a limit on their new freedom; the entire army was segregated, and the African-American troops could never rise from the ranks, as all officers were white. 

MEGHAN'S BRITISH FOREBEARS WHO WANTED A NEW LIFE IN THE UNITED STATES (TWO OF THEM CALLED MARY)

British ancestors: Prince Harry's great-great-great-great grandson was Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor of India. But among Meghan Markle's ancestors are two great-great grandmothers and a great-grandfather who left her reign for the United States

British ancestors: Prince Harry's great-great-great-great grandson was Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor of India. But among Meghan Markle's ancestors are two great-great grandmothers and a great-grandfather who left her reign for the United States

If Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were looking for a topic of conversation with his grandmother Queen Elziabeth when they met they could have covered how the actress can trace her roots to England and maybe also the British colonies.

DailyMailTV's genealogists unearthed relatives of Meghan's that could be traced back to England and were part of the waves of immigration to the US in the 19th Century.

English people moved to America at first to flee religious persecution, but by the Victorian era it was for the chance at a new life.

Among them was George Sanders, one of Meghan's second great grandparents who was born in 1841.

He emigrated to America somewhere between the years of 1858 and 1860 - official records are inconsistent - and was originally born in Essex, a county in England just east of London. In official documents, he named his mother as George Sanders and Elizabeth Raynor.

His wife was Maria Ellsworth who was born in Wentworth, New Hampshire. They married in 1869 in Wentworth and had five children. 

The American dream may not have been consistently successful for him: when he married he was recorded as a laborer, for much of the late 1800s he worked in a dye house according to the census returns, but one of the couple's son's certificates in 1907 says that George was working as a laborer and by 1910 he was unemployed.

He was the only one of Meghan's British ancestors traced by DailyMailTV to cross the Atlantic as a single man.

One appears to have made a far more daring crossing: as a mother of young children.

Mary Ann Short , Meghan Markle's great-great-great grandmother was born, according to US documents, on October 30, 1835.

Evidence of tragedy: Mary Sykes - born Mary Short - was recorded in the 1900 census as having had 11 children, but just four were then living. She had immigrated from England aged 34 and her husband had died less than ten years later

Evidence of tragedy: Mary Sykes - born Mary Short - was recorded in the 1900 census as having had 11 children, but just four were then living. She had immigrated from England aged 34 and her husband had died less than ten years later

But she was not to travel to the United States for another 34 years, arriving in 1869, according to the 1900 Census.

She arrived with her husband Thomas, and at least two children - Martha Jane, known as Mattie, Meghan Markle's great-great grandmother, and Sally - and they appear to have settled quickly in coal country, in Tower City, Pennsylvania.

But public records show that the family was no stranger to tragedy, with Thomas Sykes - Meghan's great-great-great grandfather - dying aged just 43 in 1878, leaving Mary Ann to bring up their four children alone. In the 1880 census she was the head of the family and 'keeping house', raising the question of where the family's income was coming from.

And in the 1900 census, when the family were living in Greenwood, Juniata County, a new question in the census asked how many children mothers had given birth to, and how many survived on the day of the census. The response for Mary Ann: 11 children, of whom just four survived.

Mattie Sykes, Meghan's great-great grandmother was to marry Adam Arnold, a successful farmer, and herself have seven children. She had been naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1871, and records show that she and Adam gave a home to their mother in her later life.

Mary Ann died on July 28, 1907, by when she was already grandmother to Meghan's great grandmother Ruth Ann Sykes, who was born in November 1892.

Also born in England - or one of Queen Victoria's then colonies - was another of Meghan's second great grandparents, Mary Bird. She was born in May 1862, the daughter of Thomas Bird and his wife, also, Mary.

Where she was born is unclear, as it was recorded differently in official documents in the U.S. public record mention England, the Isle of Man and Malta, which was then a British colony. Her mother was Mary Smith, born in Ireland - and possibly a native Irish speaker - and her father was Thomas Bird, born in England.

British-born: Mary Bird, Meghan Markle's great-great grandmother, was born in 1862 either in Britain or its colony of Malta, as as claimed on her death certificate. She immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager and married George Merrill, living the rest of her life in New Hampshire

British-born: Mary Bird, Meghan Markle's great-great grandmother, was born in 1862 either in Britain or its colony of Malta, as as claimed on her death certificate. She immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager and married George Merrill, living the rest of her life in New Hampshire

British-born: Mary Bird, Meghan Markle's great-great grandmother, was born in 1862 either in Britain or its colony of Malta, as as claimed on her death certificate (right). She immigrated to the U.S. as a teenager and married George Merrill, living the rest of her life in New Hampshire

She immigrated to the U.S. in 1881, and married soon afterwards, aged 18, to George Merrill, in Meredith, New Hampshire. 

What is more intriguing is a family legend of a royal link - one which DailyMailTV is so far unable to verify.

One family legend claims that Mary Smith had in fact worked for the royal family before her daughter's birth.

Intriguingly, the Mail on Sunday reported last month, a database of Royal Household staff reveals a worker called M. Bird, who appears in the Windsor Castle Weekly Disbursement Book in 1856, which fits with the time that Mary would have been there if the legend is true.

The family belief was that she then migrated to New Brunswick, Canada, with her husband, and that her daughter then moved to the United States. So far however, no official records have emerged to back the suggestion.

British-born Mary Bird went on to marry George Merrill, a carpenter and make a life in New Hampshire, giving birth to nine children, of whom eight survived: Arthur, Hattie, Gertrude - who was born in June 1887 and became Meghan Markle's great grandmother - Nellie, Fred, David, Edgar and Helen.

 

AMERICANS BEFORE WASHINGTON LED THE STATES TO FREEDOM  

Ancient: The Newbury Elm in the Massachusetts town was already almost 30 when Jacob Merrill was born, long before the Revolutionary War. He and his wife Sarah True are the oldest ancestors traced by DailyMailTV

Ancient: The Newbury Elm in the Massachusetts town was already almost 30 when Jacob Merrill was born, long before the Revolutionary War. He and his wife Sarah True are the oldest ancestors traced by DailyMailTV

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