Last Names That Reveal Pirate Ancestry

At some point, we have all thought to ourselves, "Man, being a pirate seems like a cool gig." At some point, we have also all looked at our ancestry and, inexplicably, felt a deep sense of personal pride regarding the accomplishments of members of our respective bloodlines who died decades before we were born. For a select few, it's even possible to mash these two feelings together like so much scallywag peanut butter and genealogical chocolate.

As reported by the Telegraph back in 2007, there are still surnames in circulation which might point to one's corsair lineage. Are they a sure sign? Heavens no. The life of a pirate was fraught with uncertainty, nomadic tendencies, and a whole lot of dodging the government, so official records of which pirate made which kids are a little difficult to come by, and the fact that so many of them wound up in the ocean makes genetic testing problematic. Still, it's fun to dream.

Shiver me potential genetic links

The last names listed as particularly pirate-y by the British historical preservation organization English Heritage are as follows:

There's Morgan, as in Henry Morgan, the early-days pirate captain and midrange rum namesake. "Teach" also makes the list, referring to Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, the legendary buccaneer and famously ambitious ladies' man rumored to have had 14 wives.

You might also be a Rackham or a Bonny. Calico Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny were the sea-faring Bonnie and Clyde of their era, with Jack taking Anne onto his crew despite superstitions about the bad luck that a woman's presence brought to a ship. They had at least one child, and Bonny managed avoid an execution before disappearing from the pages of history, possibly dropping more bouncing bundles of salty dogs along the way. Mary Read was along for the ride, and while she died in prison in 1721, it's not known whether she produced any heirs, and her last name could also be a sign of freebooters in your family's past. Finally, you might be one of Kidd's kids, a descendent of the Scotsman William Kidd, executed in England for his piratical misdeeds in 1701.