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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SIX LAST NAMES REVEAL PIRATE ANCESTRY

Shiver me timbers! If your surname is Morgan, Kidd, Teach, Rackham, Bonny or Read, there's a good chance there is a pirate lurking in your family tree. People who have these names could very well be related to Britain's most famous pirates, reports London's Telegraph. Of course, proving that will take some genealogical sleuthing, a difficult task since pirates rarely kept permanent records of their nefarious backgrounds. Still, the payoff is well worth it. "What could be more exhilarating than finding you are related to one of Britain's most colorful characters?" Abigail Baker of the genealogy research organization Achievements Ltd., asked the Telegraph. The six most famous British buccaneers are, according to the Telegraph:

1. Sir Henry Morgan
Born in 1635 in Glamorgan, Wales, Morgan was a privateer, which is a legal pirate. He eventually ruled Jamaica. The Caribbean island became a safe haven for pirates, especially the city of Port Royal, which was a place of great wealth and debauchery known in the 17th century as "the wickedest city on Earth."

2. William Kidd
Born around 1645 in Renfrewshire, Scotland, Kidd started out as an honest, hardworking ship captain with a wife and two daughters. Like Morgan, he was nominally considered a privateer, but that image changed soon enough and he found himself wanted in England for piracy. Upon returning there from a voyage in the Indian Ocean, he was tried and executed for his crimes on the high seas. Captain Kidd was the first pirate to bury his treasure.

3. Edward "Blackbeard" Teach
Thought to be born in Bristol around 1680, Blackbeard was famous for his beard that was threaded with slow-burning fuses to create the illusion of clouds of smoke circling his scowling face. Legend says Blackbeard had 14 wives. He died in battle, and his killers cut off his head and hung it from the rigging.

4. John "Calico Jack" Rackham
Born in 1682, Calico Jack got his name from his habit of wearing brightly colored clothing. He may have been the first equal opportunity employer, hiring two female pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Rackham was executed in Jamaica in 1720 at age 38.

5. Anne Bonny
Born around 1698 near Cork, Bonny met Calico Jack in the Bahamas. The two had a torrid affair before eloping. Once they were married, she joined his crew. Word has it she was intelligent, attractive and quick-tempered.

6. Mary Read
Born in 1695 in London, Read also joined Calico Jack's crew. She spent most of her life dressed as a man, becoming one of history's most fearsome female pirates. She died young in 1721 at age 26.

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