Heavy Metal Genealogy: Dave Mustaine Is not Finnish(ed)
Peace sells, but who’s buying that Dave Mustaine is Finnish? Moving on … Dave Mustaine, Megadeth guitarist and all-around Metal God, has actually weighed in on his family tree, in between putting out albums and firing band members. He claimed Finnish roots on his father’s side, and always interested in that name (I’d never heard of another Mustaine), I went to see if he was right.
And by “went,” I mean walked from my bedroom to my home office in Mount Tabor, NJ, where I started to put together the Mustaine tree on Ancestry.com. Say what you will about having to give the Mormon church your money via an Ancestry subscription — if you’re into genealogy, there’s no way around it. (Even FindAGrave now owned by Ancestry — and btw its redesign is awful.)
David Scott Mustaine was born September 13, 1961 in La Mesa, CA. His father, John Jefferson Mustaine (1922–1979), was born in Ohio to Frank Leslie Mustaine and Materee Parker. The Ohio roots of this branch of the Mustaine family stretch back to Dave’s great-great grandfather, Meakin Ashley Mustaine (see below).
Meakin Mustaine moved the family from Shenandoah County, Virginia to Logan County, Ohio. Going further back, the first Mustaine in this family who came to the U.S. was John Thomas Mustain (minus the “e,” though people did not adhere to spelling rules back then), who was not born in Ireland c. 1678, and died in Virginia.
Further digging into the families who married Mustaines yielded other Ohioans with names like McKay, Lucas, Owens, the quizzically named great-great grandfather Barzilla Parker (1825–1864), and the dashingly-named great-great-great grandfather Rynard Carlisle (1788–1851). All compelling info, but nothing that leads to Finland.
So I moved to Dave’s maternal side. And here’s where I got some surprises. Dave was probably named after his mother, Emilie Marie David (1922–1990), an immigrant from Essen, Germany (near the Netherlands), who arrived in the U.S. either in 1923 or 1928. (Although Emilie appears in a 1925 New York State Census, she and her parents are also on the S.S. Deutschland’s manifest records dated October 12, 1928, which stated that their destination is Washington D.C.)
Regardless of when exactly they arrived, her parents were Friedrich Otto David and Hedwig Johanna Krause. Friedrich was born in Trzebiatów in what was then Prussia, now Poland, and Hedwig, like her daughter, was born in Essen. After moving to the U.S. they settled in New York City’s Upper West Side.
Emilie was at least half-Jewish on her father’s side, though according to Dave he was brought up as a Jehovah’s Witness. The Davids lived at 514 West 50th Street in Manhattan when they first arrived, then lived at 144 West 101st Street in 1925, and 208 West 84th Street in 1928. When exactly Emilie moved west, and why, is unclear, though perhaps it was after her mother died in 1945. The family then disappeared until Emilie’s father died in Michigan in 1961.
I couldn’t find a marriage certificate for John Mustaine and Emilie David, only a record of their divorce in San Diego dated April 1966. Dave would’ve been four years old and by all accounts, he had very little to do with his father.
So while there are Barzillas and Hedwigs, I did not find any Finns. That’s not to say they don’t exist much further back in Dave Mustaine’s tree, but possibly further than records will reveal. I do know, however, that Dave Ellefson is Scandinavian, maybe that’s why he’s been fired and re-hired over the years.
Tune in next time when I do discover an American rocker with Finnish roots. Until then, \m/ !