Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I have pirate blood in my veins!

How much do you know about your ancestry?

Today is, believe it or not, Talk Like a Pirate Day. My co-host Darren Marlar and I had some fun with that on the radio today, especially after he found out that I am supposedly descended from the pirate Jean Lafitte.

I don't know--maybe a lot of people with families from South Louisiana claim to be descended from Jean Lafitte. Who knows, maybe they'd be right.

But, thanks to a distant cousin who actively researched the Garrett family history and an aunt who made sure to obtain said research, I do know a lot about my family background.

I know that the Garretts were Scots-Irish before immigrating to America, which likely means that they originated in Scotland and ended up in northern Ireland.

I know that my great grandfather, "Papa" Will Garrett, married a French-Spanish woman from southern Louisiana named Orelia DeSoto. And I know that Papa Will's mother was Irish, and her name was Emma Boyd.

So I know I have a very strong Celtic streak in my veins. It's even possible that my great grandfather on my mother's side, whose name was Charlie Carroll, may have been Irish-American. By the way, he was a Texas Ranger. How cool is that?

I know that all my life I've been irresistably drawn to all things Irish, and I can't think of any other reason than what some call "national memory"--that heredity and the Irish in my blood is still calling me home.

I also know that my grandfather on my mother's side was full-blooded Greek; his last name was Zarafonetis. Not a very common name. And I know that his parents came over from Greece, and I saw their names on a wall of immigrant's names at Ellis Island.

I'm sure that in many ways, I am the sum total of all the people whose genes were passed on to me.

Oh, and the only way I can explain that I have a Greek grandfather and a great-grandmother who was a DeSoto, and I am white as a sheet, is perhaps the strong Irish streak in my ancestry. You'd think I'd at least be able to get a decent tan!

My husband (whose grandparents immigrated from Sweden) is pretty much bored by all this talk of geneology, but I'm completely fascinated by it. I'd love to be able to go back in time (as long as I was guaranteed I could come back!) and talk with my ancestors and find out what life was like for them.

And I'd love to know if I really am related to Jean Lafitte, and if so, exactly how. Avast, me hearties! :)

How about you? Do you know anything about your ancestry? Do you care? Comments, please!

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