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Matthew Henson genealogy
The only direct descendants of Matthew Henson are in Greenland. Corwin Peterson photographed some of them in Qaanaaq in 2001. Henson & Peary descendants
Aviaq Henson 2006   Laila Henson in Nuuk Aviaq Henson in Qaanaaq
This family tree was created using 1870's census records, information in chapter 1 of Dark Companion, and Dr. Counter's book.
Other known relatives include:
Niece
Virginia Brannum 
b. circa 1905
Contact Dr. Allen Counter for her address.
Great Niece
Audrey Mebane
(Met & knew Matthew)
Lives in Washington, DC. Contact Dr. Allen Counter for her address.
Great Niece
Mary Carlene Faison
Contact Dr. Allen Counter for her address.
Great 1/2 Niece
Olive Henson Fulton
Related to a Henson half-brother.
(Met & knew Matthew)
b. circa 1923
Lives in Boston Area
Great 1/2 Nephew
Jim Henson 
Related to a Henson half-brother.
(Did not meet or know Matthew)
b. circa 1937
Lives in Maryland
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 / From: Harvard Foundation
Subject: response from Dr. Allen Counter

Thank you for your email letter of inquiry regarding the living relatives of Matthew Henson. Through my years of research on Matthew Henson, I learned that he (Matthew Alexander Henson) identified one family in Washington DC as his legitimate family members. This family was that of Mrs. Virginia Carter Brannum, daughter of Henson's sister Eliza Carter of Washington DC. This family and that of Mrs. Olive Henson Fulton of Boston (the daughter of Henson's brother) had letters of authentication and photographs certifying their kinship to Matthew Henson. They were also the only family members to attend his funeral in 1955 with Henson's wife Lucy Ross Henson.

Henson himself noted cynically in 1947 that as he gained celebrity he seemed to gain more previously unknown family members. I have had numerous people contact me over the years asking me to confirm their consanguinity with Henson. In many instances, I have felt that this request was simply an effort to gain notoriety from Henson's celebrity, at the expense of the legitimate family members whom Matthew Henson himself identified and wanted to share his legacy. So, my response to your inquiry is that the only Henson family members authenticated by Matthew Henson himself are the family of Mrs. Audrey Mebane, a retired school teacher in Washington DC and Mrs. Olive Henson Fulton, a retired Veteran's Administration employee in Boston. Matthew Henson, who had no American children with his wife Lucy (or any other American children that he identified) fathered a son in Greenland (with an Inuit woman named Akatingwah) named Anauakaq, who died in 1987. Anauakaq Henson is survived by five sons and over twenty grandchildren.

I have recommended Mrs. Audrey Mebane and Mrs. Olive Henson Fulton to the United States Navy and the National Geographic Society to represent the legitimate Henson family at all previous ceremonies that honored Matthew Henson. Unfortunately, I do not have Mrs. Olive Henson Fulton's new address, but Mrs. Mebane's address is listed below:

Mrs. Audrey Mebane
1911 S Street SE
Washington DC 20020
tel 1 202 678 6931

I hope that I have been of some assistance. Thank you and best wishes,

S. Allen Counter, Ph.D., D.M.Sc.
Director of the Harvard Foundation
Professor of Neurology/Neurophysiology
Harvard Medical School
allen_counter@harvard.edu
TEL 617-495-1527 FAX 617-496-1443

Notice: this email was sent via the Harvard Foundation email account. All responses should be sent to: allen_counter@harvard.edu

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