Connick and Marsalis Finding Your Roots

Connick and Marsalis

Connick and Marsalis, better known as Harry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis are well known musicians. Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has been researching their family history stories. These two gentlemen are the guests on this episode of"Finding Your Roots".

Mr. Connick and Mr. Marsalis are from New Orleans, Louisiana and both are jazz musicians as well as playing other forms of music.

Branford Marsalis

We start with Mr. Marsalis. Apparently most people believe the musicians come from the Marsalis line because Ellis Marsalis, Branford's father, is an excellent musician and musical educator, but we learn that it actually comes from Mrs. Delores Ferdinand Marsalis line. We learn of one well-known musician and several others are mentioned.

Next we learn that Branford Marsalis has German ancestry thru: John Reinhard Leerson (Learson) and dutch ancestry thru: Peter Marsalis.

Watch the video and find out about John Reinhard Leerson (Learson) and the woman he married. You will find out the connection between Mr. Marsalis and Jay Leno and the Tonight Show. How does DNA play a part in Mr. Marsalis' life and what goes on in the barbershop that Mr. Gates visits. There is much more to Mr. Marsalis story.

Harry Connick Jr.

The above photo of Mr. Connick  was taken from a Google Search.

We learn Mr. Connick was born in New Orleans and his father was a district attorney and his mother was one of the first female judges. At age 5 years Mr. Connick was playing music and at age 10 years he recorded his first album. We learn many things about Mr. Connick, especially his immigrant ancestor James Connick. Mr. Connick left Ireland and arrive in America in 1853, at the Port of Mobile, Alabama.

James Connick became a loader of cotton on ships, also known as a steveador. Very hard work. Then the Civil War
started. From a muster roll we learn James Connick signed on with Company 15 of the Confederate Calvary in October, 1861.
He was a soldier and served for 3 years. We learn he filed a pension affidavit and received a pension from 1907
to his death in 1914. To receive this pension he either had to be wounded or was indigent.


We further learn about 2 other ancestors named John Fowler of Pennsylvania, who was born in 1783. Another ancestor was David McCulloch born in 1775.

Watch the video and see what Mr. Fowler and Mr. Mc Culloch did for a living and what does the ship "Rattlesnake" have to do with one of the gentlemen.

The above video of Connick and Marsalis has been removed and archived.
If you desire to watch the entire program go to:

pbs.org and look for the program listing for "Finding Your Roots".

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