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Company searching for local Prince heirs

by Minden Press-Herald

A Florida company is trying to track down heirs of the late musician Prince that might be located in north Louisiana.

Prince’s father, John Lewis Nelson, was born in the Cotton Valley area in 1916 and researchers believe Prince Rogers Nelson may have living relatives in the area.

“The possibility of the heirs at this point and time are real,” Harvey E. Morse, director of the board for Morse Genealogical Services said. “We will either close the doors (on the possibility) or open new doors.”

Prince’s father was a jazz pianist and called Webster Parish home until moving to Minnesota in the 1950’s to escape racism in the South, Morse said, while expressing this is what his company believes. John Nelson married Prince’s mother, Mattie Della Shaw, in Minnesota, however, Morse said his company also believes the couple could have met in Louisiana and reunited after both moved to Minnesota independently.

All four of Prince’s grandparents have Louisiana roots, according to a 2013 Huffington Post article on Prince’s genealogy.

Morse said the company is looking for anyone who thinks they are related to the late musician.

“First, we would ask them why they think they are related and how they think they are related,” he said. “From there, we would decide if it was believable or not.”

Morse said historical documents such as marriage certificates, obituaries and land deeds would be obtained for stories that seem plausible and potential heirs might have to submit to DNA testing.

“A DNA test would show relationship, but would not show the degree of it,” he said. “In that case, we would look for a degree that is closer than the relationships known.”

Currently, the closest known relationship to Prince is his biological sister, Tyka Nelson and his surviving half-siblings. Both of Prince’s parents died in the early 2000s.
Prince unexpectedly died on April 21 at the age of 57.

Because of no known will, a judge approved Bremer Bank, the institution Prince trusted with his finances over the years, earlier this week to move forward with handling his estate – both personal and financial business.

Morse said the courts would use the information his company discovers during the search to determine what heirs are entitled to Prince’s estate.

Among the surnames that appear in Prince’s family tree are Bonnell, Brooks, Hardy, Head, Jenkins, Nelson, Phillips and Shaw, so those sharing these names could be related, according to the Huffington Post article.

If you believe you are an heir, you are asked to call Morse Genealogical Services at 1-800-410-4347 ext. 1111 or email [email protected].

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