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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Are Taylor Swift and John Mellencamp Related?

I know this is a bizarre-sounding question, but is there a possibility that Taylor Swift (my celebrity crush) and John "Johnny Cougar" Mellencamp (one of my favorite singers) could be distant relatives?

My Apologies to John Who Probably Hates this Picture

Here's how this even came up:

I was curious to know whether Taylor was really a sweet little down-home country girl or if she might possibly be a little hard to deal with on a personal level. I have not only heard that the latter was true but I have surmised it based on the trail of high-profile ex-boyfriends she has created by the tender age of 22. So, I looked her up on Wikipedia.

Sure enough, while Taylor lived on a Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania for a while, both of her parents were executives in the financial world. She summered at a vacation home in Stone Harbor, New Jersey and spent a good bit of her childhood riding horses.  English style. That's the kind where you wear a helmet and funny pants - not jeans and boots and a cowboy hat. Hardly the life of a Tennessee country girl.

What's more, her mother was raised at least partly in Singapore and her mom's father was an oil company petroleum engineer who worked overseas. (That means he made a boatload of money, in case you didn't know that.) Mr. Swift, Taylor's dad, comes from a long line of bank presidents (three generations' worth, to be precise). The Swifts are not your average American working class family and never were. Not that any of that matters. I still think she's totally gorgeous, but I was curious.

Anyway, among the tidbits I found on her extensive Wikipedia page was this: One of Swift's earliest musical memories is listening to her maternal grandmother, Marjorie Finlay (née Moehlenkamp), sing.[8]

Did you catch that? Taylor Swift's grandma's last name was "Moehlenkamp."

Now, I'm no expert - and it's a little hard to tell where Granny is from (she was an opera star in Singapore and a recording star in Puerto Rico) - but Moehlenkamp and Mellencamp look awfully similar to me. They also sound very similar if you say them out loud.

Just made me wonder if there's a family connection somewhere back in history.



    1. Hmmm. I may be on to something here. . . I'll pursue this question when I visit Seymour. (I pass through there a few times each year - but never knew about this tour. Thanks!!)

  2. The ancestors of John Mellencamp came from Germany and the name of them was "Moehlenkamp". In the United States his family changed the name in "Mellencamp". This is all what I know!!

    Best wishes from Germany


    1. Thanks for reading and for the background info!

      You know at first his producer had him go by the name Johnny Cougar because he said Mellencamp would never sell records! Guess he was wrong about that!

  3. I know this article is ridiculously old, but if you still check your email perhaps you'll see it. Taylor's grandmother Marjorie was born in Tennessee, but the family moved to Missouri where she lived until moving abroad. Later on during her daughter's high school years Marjorie and Robert settled in Texas and later moved to Pennsylvania upon Andrea's marriage to Scott Swift.

    1. Very interesting! Thanks. (And, yes, I still check in periodically.)