Attention Jesse James Kinfolk…Send me your ears

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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

How can you tell a genetic relative of Jesse James?

The answer is simple. Just look at the ears.

Every few weeks I receive photographic images that are claimed to be of Jesse James, or Frank James, or of the two together. More often, they are pictures of some who claim to be a relative of the James. It’s easy to dismiss almost every image promptly. But sometimes, when the physical resemblance appears close, the first thing I look at are the ears.

Zee Mimms James
Zee Mimms, wife of Jesse Woodson James

This image of Jesse James’ wife Zee is one of my most favorite James family pictures because it shows very clearly the physical ear definition that commonly appears among many in the Jesse James family.

Zee Mimms-James is not only Jesse’s wife, but she also is his first cousin. They both share the same grandparents, those being John M. James & Mary “Polly” Poor.

The giveaway in the ear formation of the James is the flattened part of the ear’s perimeter, and the deep peninsula canal located inside the ear at the bottom.

Zee Mimms James
Young Zee Mimms

Evident in this image of a young Zee Mimms is the same ear formation, which will last a lifetime. This architecture rarely appears in both ears, but only in one.

This singular ear pattern would have been familiar to Jesse James. While no image of Jesse shows he possessed the same ear form, it is easy from viewing photographic images of his children that he possessed the formation, too. His children Jesse Edwards James Jr. and Mary Susan James definitely did.

Jesse Edwards James Jr.
Jesse Edwards James Jr.


Mary Susan James
Mary Susan James

Among the Jesse James family, this ear formation appears to be genetic. Generations of the James display the same ear structure through time to present day.

Robert Franklin James
Robert Franklin James

Frank James, son, Robert Franklin James had one. So did Jesse’s cousin Susan Prudence James-Smith.

Prudence James Smith
Susan Prudence James-Smith

Living members of the Jesse James family display the same ear formation today, even among family who do not descend from Jesse James.

Finally, this is J. Mark Beamis. Mark is the son of Joan Malley-Beamis, author of Background of a Bandit, the first genealogy assembled by a James family member. Furthermore, Mark is a second great-grandson of Drury Woodson James, Frank and Jesse’s uncle; and he is a third great-grandson of John M. James and Mary “Polly” Poor.

J. Mark Beamis
J. Mark Beamis

Recently, when these images were presented to living descendants among the James family, some dashed to a mirror to check their ears. What they saw in the mirror was their James family genetic heritage, fully and irrefutably displayed.

To other James family members, only now becoming aware of this genetic characteristic, I’ll ask you to SEND ME YOUR EARS.

Jesse James
Jesse Woodson James


Frank James genetic ear
Frank James

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Stray Leaves Daily

Stray Leaves Daily

Daily updates from the family of Frank & Jesse James with stories, photos, & two searchable genealogy databases.

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3 weeks ago
Stray Leaves Daily

Will the real DAVID JAMES, please, stand up and come forward? Are you still drinking this stuff? See MoreSee Less

Will the real DAVID JAMES, please, stand up and come forward? Are you still drinking this stuff?