Is Doug Kershaw Related to Sammy Kershaw? The Truth About the Cajun Cousins

If you are a fan of country music, you may have wondered if Doug Kershaw and Sammy Kershaw are related. After all, they share the same last name, they both hail from Louisiana, and they both play fiddle and sing. But are they really family, or is it just a coincidence? In this article, we will explore the truth about the Cajun cousins and their musical careers.

Who is Doug Kershaw?

Doug Kershaw is an American fiddle player, singer, and songwriter who was born on January 24, 1936 in Tiel Ridge, an unincorporated community in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. He grew up speaking Louisiana French and did not learn English until he was eight years old. He started playing the fiddle at the age of five and taught himself to play 28 instruments. He formed a band with his brothers Rusty and Peewee called the Continental Playboys in 1948. After Peewee left the group, Doug and Rusty continued to perform as a duo, Rusty and Doug. They recorded several singles in the 1950s, including their biggest hit “Louisiana Man”, which reached number 10 on the Billboard country chart in 1961. They also became regular members of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.

Doug Kershaw pursued a solo career in the 1960s and 1970s, releasing 15 albums and charting several singles on the Hot Country Songs charts. He is known for his energetic and flamboyant style of playing the fiddle and singing Cajun music, country, folk, and bluegrass. Some of his popular songs include “Diggy Diggy Lo”, “Cajun Baby”, “Orange Blossom Special”, and “The Battle of New Orleans”. He has also collaborated with other artists such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., Emmylou Harris, and Dolly Parton. He is a member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, being inducted in 2009.

Who is Sammy Kershaw?

Sammy Kershaw is an American country music artist who was born on February 24, 1958 in Kaplan, a town in South Louisiana. He is the third cousin of Doug Kershaw. He received his first guitar from his grandfather when he was 11 years old. His father died that year, so he started working various jobs while playing in honky-tonks and bars at night to support his family. He was influenced by George Jones, whom he met when he was 14 years old. He also opened shows for Ray Price, Merle Haggard, and George Jones while still in his teens. He struggled with drug and alcohol problems until he quit in 1988. He then worked as a remodeling supervisor at Wal-Mart before pursuing a music career.

Sammy Kershaw signed with Mercury Records in 1991 and released his debut album Don’t Go Near the Water that year. The album was certified platinum by the RIAA and produced four hit singles: “Cadillac Style”, “Don’t Go Near the Water”, “Yard Sale”, and “Anywhere but Here”. He has released 16 studio albums to date, with three RIAA platinum certifications and two gold certifications among them. He has also charted more than 25 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including his only number one hit “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful” and 10 more Top 10 hits: “Haunted Heart”, “Queen of My Double-Wide Trailer”, “I Can’t Reach Her Anymore”, “National Working Woman’s Holiday”, “Third Rate Romance”, “Meant to Be”, “Vidalia”, and “Love of My Life”. He has also collaborated with other artists such as Lorrie Morgan (whom he married in 2001 and divorced in 2007), Aaron Tippin, Joe Diffie, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, and Willie Nelson.

The answer is yes, Doug Kershaw and Sammy Kershaw are related by blood. They are third cousins, meaning that they share a common great-great-grandparent. According to Wikipedia, their ancestor was Jean-Baptiste Broussard dit Beausoleil (1702-1765), a leader of the Acadian resistance against the British deportation of the Acadians from Nova Scotia in 1755. Beausoleil led a group of Acadians to settle in Louisiana, where they became known as Cajuns. Doug Kershaw descends from Beausoleil’s son Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil (1742-1809), while Sammy Kershaw descends from Beausoleil’s daughter Marguerite Broussard (1738-1814).

However, Doug Kershaw and Sammy Kershaw are not related by name. The Kershaw surname comes from their paternal grandfathers, who were not Cajun but of English or Irish origin. Doug Kershaw’s grandfather was James Otis Kershaw (1892-1971), while Sammy Kershaw’s grandfather was Samuel Paul Kershaw (1913-1981). Both of them married Cajun women, who passed on their Cajun culture and music to their sons and grandsons.


Doug Kershaw and Sammy Kershaw are two of the most successful and influential Cajun musicians in American history. They are both fiddle players, singers, and songwriters who have blended Cajun music with country, folk, and bluegrass. They are also third cousins who share a common Acadian ancestor, Jean-Baptiste Broussard dit Beausoleil. However, they are not related by name, as the Kershaw surname comes from their paternal grandfathers of non-Cajun origin. They are both proud of their Cajun heritage and have contributed to the preservation and promotion of Cajun culture and music.

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