She's not even a week old, so the newborn daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z doesn't have a past yet -- except in the genealogical sense. But with Louisiana roots on both sides of her family, this latest in utero superstar has a lot of history in the Bayou State. With the thought that Blue Ivy is heir to the remarkable Sasha Fierce gene pool, I thought I'd share a few snippets about the maternal half of her family tree.
- Though at least half her heritage traces to Louisiana, she also has roots in Alabama, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia. Aside from Carter and Knowles, ancestral surnames include Beyince (more on this shortly), Bonnett, Broussard, DeRouen, Elder, Ferguson, Goree, Hall, Hill, Hogue, Miller, Moore, Olivier and Reeves.
- Beyoncé is an adaptation of Blue Ivy's grandmother's maiden name, but one that has morphed over time with variations ranging from Beyince to Boillance. Similarly, her family's clothing line, Deréon, derives its name from her great-grandmother, Agnès DeRouen. In spite of the tendency to celebrate and preserve their French Creole heritage in this manner, I see no conspicuous familial inspiration for Blue or Ivy.
- Her Knowles great-grandfather stood well over six feet tall and weighed in north of 280 pounds. While working as a steel plant employee and truck driver, he also volunteered for the local fire department where he was considered a valuable asset. Those who knew him said he was strong enough to easily hoist and toss 100-pound sacks of potatoes and could stand more heat and smoke than the average person.
- As a descendant of Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil, Blue Ivy has seriously proud Cajun roots. Described as the "Che Guevara, Thomas Jefferson and Moses" of the Acadian people, he was imprisoned and later exiled as a result of his efforts against the British, eventually leading a group of French-speaking Catholics from present-day Canada to Louisiana in 1765. It is largely from this initial group of migrants that the Cajun culture developed.
- And finally, as with so many of us including Barack Obama, Katy Perry and Barry Manilow, Blue Ivy is a least a little Irish -- in her case, approximately 1/64th!
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