Halle Berry

Ancestry of
Halle Berry

TV and Movie Actress

Who is Halle Berry?

Halle Berry is an American actress and former fashion model. She was the first African-American woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Monster's Ball. She has also won an Emmy and a Golden Globe award for Best Actress. In the 1986 Miss USA pagent, she was the 1st runner-up competing as Miss Ohio.

Family Facts

The Boer Wars

During the late 19th century and into the 20th, the United Kingdom fought two wars in Africa against the Boer Republics. The term Boer referred to the descendants of Dutch farmers who settled in South Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries. The second of these wars led to the Boer Republics becoming British Colonies and eventually part of the Union of South Africa. One British Army veteran of this second Boer War was Henry Dickin who was born in Chesterfield, England but then emigrated to the United States and settled in Elyria, Ohio. Henry was a great-grandfather of Halle Berry.

A Pirate in the Family

Another ancestor of Halle Berry was Andrew Peabody, a 5th great-grandfather. Andrew was a privateer serving the American cause during the American Revolution. A privateer was basically the same as a pirate with one main exception, a privateer carried a Letter of Marque from their government that gave them permission to raid enemy ships and keep the spoils so long as the government also received a share.

Many privateers also had investors who supplied the capital that outfitted a new privateer. One such firm was J. & A. Cabot which in 1780 fitted out a new privateer, the Essex. The Essex was a 200 ton ship carrying 20 six-pound cannons and a crew of 140 men. Among that crew was Halley Berry's ancestor Andrew Peabody, age 20.

By the summer of 1781, the Essex had been successful enough to send back a number of prizes. On June 10 1781 another sail was spotted and the Essex gave chase. However the prize proved to be the heavier Queen Charlotte, a ship of 32 guns. The prey turned into the hunter and the Essex was forced to surrender. Andrew Peabody was captured and sent to the infamous Old Mill prison in Plymouth, England. But Andrew survived his ordeal in prison and later settled in Vermont. He would marry three times with his third wife, Hannah Beadle, becoming Halle Berry's 5th great-grandmother.

Dublin Massacre

In October of 1641, Irish nobleman Sir Felim O'Neill of Kinard, Ireland, lead what was known as the Irish Rebellion of 1641. Humphrey Potter, of Coventry, England, and his wife were ancestors of Halle Berry. Humphrey Potter's family was part of a group of English Protestant families that were living near Kinard when Sir Felim O'Neill, a Catholic, started the rebellion. About two weeks after the start of the rebellion, the Catholic rebels pillaged and murdered the English settlers including Humphrey Potter and his wife. A witness to the murders of one of the English families described the scene as follows:

“Edward Boswell, who was come over but a year before from England, upon the invitation of the said Sir Phelim, his (Boswell's) wife having nursed a child of the said Sir Phelim's in London, was killed together with his wife and child at their own house, at Kinard, about Christmas time, after the rebellion; Boswell being stabbed in divers [sic] places in his body, with skeans, and thrown into a well at the back of his house, his wife had fourteen wounds with skeans in her body, and was left dead on the threshold of her door, their child being about a quarter year old, had a skean stuck through its body and heart, and was thrown and hid in a turf stack, with the skean sticking from its body. The same night Humphrey Potter and his wife were murdered in the said town of Kinard.”

Famous Kin

Halle Berry has a number of famous kin through her mother. One of the more interesting is Mary (Perkins) Bradbury who was convicted of witchcraft at the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. She has a number of presidential kin including Millard Fillmore, Franklin Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge (also his wife and First Lady Grace Goodhue), and others. Fellow thespian kin include Mark Wahlberg, Humphrey Bogart and Lucile Ball.


One of Halle Berry's ancestors is John William Hawkins, a 2nd great-grandfather. John was born in Vermont and married to a German immigrant Catherina “Katie” Drescher. John's parents are currently unknown, but his father is said to have died in the Mexican War about 1846 when John was just 6 years old.

The names of many of the soldiers killed in battle during the war are known. One is Private Owen Hawkins, age 29 from Ireland, who died on May 9, 1846 at the Battle of Resaca de la Palma in Texas. Perhaps Owen Hawkins is the father of John William Hawkins. More research is needed to see if this is correct.

Please note: The ancestor reports on this website have been compiled from thousands of different sources, many over 100 years old. These sources are attached to each ancestor so that you can personally judge their reliability. As with any good genealogical research, if you discover a link to your own family tree, consider it a starting point for further research. It is always preferable to locate primary records where possible. FamousKin.com cannot and does not guarantee the accuracy and reliability of these sources.