Senator Strom Thurmond's Granddaughter Engages RecordClick for Genealogy Research

Share Article

Wanda Williams-Bailey - whose mother is Essie Mae Washington-Williams, the biracial daughter of the late Senator Strom Thurmond - has engaged the genealogy services of Ms. Bailey seeks answers to genealogical mysteries surrounding her enigmatic maternal grandmother Carrie Butler, and will reveal the research findings in her upcoming book.

RecordClick genealogical research services
I chose RecordClick genealogy services because I can be involved in the discovery process – as a writer, I like that.

RecordClick announces that Wanda Williams-Bailey, the granddaughter of the late South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, has engaged its genealogy services to find information about her grandmother Carrie Butler. Ms. Bailey's mother, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, who died earlier this year, was the secret, biracial daughter of the segregationist Senator Thurmond and Carrie Butler, a black housekeeper in the Thurmond home. Ms. Bailey, who is honoring the 10-year anniversary of her grandfather's death, as well as her mother's historic announcement, will disclose RecordClick's genealogical research results in her upcoming literary project and possible television tie-in.

Ms. Bailey was aware of her famous grandfather's identity from an early age, but kept her lineage a secret along with her siblings. Always her mother's advocate, Ms. Bailey was by her side at the historic press conference in 2003 when Essie Mae Washington-Williams announced that she was the daughter of Strom Thurmond and Carrie Butler. An attorney for the Senator's family confirmed the account.

"I was relieved to have the secret of my mother's parentage finally revealed," Ms. Bailey shares. "However, it opened a Pandora's box of related stories – some sad and shocking, others uplifting – for which none of us was prepared. The revelation that my mother is the daughter of Strom Thurmond and a black housekeeper named Carrie Butler is just the tip of the iceberg to an almost 90-year saga of secrets." Ms. Bailey adds, "To speed the healing process, I am writing a book about the rest of the story – the other half of the equation."

Ms. Bailey continues, "Up until now, only Strom Thurmond's side has been known. What is missing is a deeper understanding of who Carrie Butler was and what her influence was on my mother. That's why I asked RecordClick to conduct genealogical research on my grandmother; I want my siblings and our respective children, as well as the public, to know Carrie better."

Carrie Butler was in her mid-teens at the time she gave birth to Strom Thurmond's daughter Essie Mae in 1925. Unable to care for the baby, Carrie asked her older sister Mary and husband John Henry Washington to take care of the child. Carrie lived an hour away and visited her daughter from time to time. Little is known about Carrie's life, but it is believed that she ended up destitute and died at a fairly young age in the poverty ward of a public hospital for blacks only.

"There is so much mystery surrounding my grandmother," admits Ms. Bailey. "I know that genealogical research is the best way to learn more about her life. I chose RecordClick because it came highly recommended by a research friend of mine, and also because I can be involved in the discovery process – as a writer, I like that."

"Ms. Bailey's story is not uncommon," explains Elizabeth Khan, Founder and CEO of RecordClick. Clients come to us with half a story or no story at all – the common denominator in all of the cases is that people feel a void not knowing their ancestors, and they want to learn more. Wanda Williams-Bailey's case is unique in that there has been so much publicity about her famous paternal side, but nothing about her maternal side. That's where RecordClick hopes to find answers to some long-asked genealogy questions, and therefore bring about a certain amount of closure to this family, whose world, as they knew it, was rocked after their 'secret' was revealed in 2003."

About Record Click

RecordClick is a full-service genealogy research firm that specializes in investigating lineage cases throughout the United States and internationally. With research teams in several European countries – including, but not limited to, England, Germany, and Ireland – the company also covers Argentina and Canada. RecordClick's headquarters are strategically located on the East Coast, providing a proximal advantage to immigration documentation. Offering more than just traditional look-ups and pedigrees for tracing ancestry, RecordClick's genealogists pull away from the pack by providing customized ancestor searches; video biographies; research for high-profile clients and cases; as well as recommendations for DNA testing kits – all of which allows clients to do a deeper dive into tracing their family tree. For more information on RecordClick, please visit us at or call (866) 632-9291. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Elizabeth Khan
Record Click
+1 (866) 632-9291
Email >
since: 10/2011
Follow >
since: 10/2011
Like >
Follow us on
Visit website