Once in a while, genealogy research can reveal unexpected things. It seems like whenever a genealogist discovers that a famous person is related to another famous person, it gets talked about. A genealogist from Ancestry.com says that President Obama is related to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
There are quite a few people who decide to start working on their family tree because they are convinced that they are somehow related to royalty, or to a famous actor or actress, or even to a former or current President of the United States. While it can be exciting to find proof that you really are related to someone well known, this shouldn’t be the main focus of your genealogy research. In reality, it is rather unlikely that you will find a definite, indisputable familial connection between you, and the famous person you desperately hope you are related to.
Perhaps this is why we tend to find stories about famous people being related to other famous people to be so interesting! In the past, there have been a lot of news articles that discussed who President Obama is related to. Recently, Anastasia Tyler, a genealogist for the Ancestry.com website, says that President Obama is related to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. How unexpected, that two politicians who are on opposing political parties turn out to be related to each other!
Both Obama and Palin are 10th cousins. They have a common ancestor named John Smith, who was both Obama’s and Palin’s 12th great-grandfather. Who was John Smith? He was one of the early settlers in Massachusetts. He was a Protestant pastor who’s support of Quakers caused him to be criticized by the ecclesiastical community at the time. There is another connection. Both Palin and Obama are related to a common ancestor named Samuel Hinckley. Who else is related to Samuel Hinckley? Two former U.S. Presidents, George H.W. Bush, and his son, George W. Bush share a connection to Samuel Hinckley.
Who else does Ancestry.com say that President Obama is related to? Would you believe he is also related to Rush Limbaugh? Rush Limbaugh is an American radio talk show host, known for his conservative opinions regarding politics. Both men are related to Richmond Terrell, who came to American in the 1600’s as a settler of Virginia. This connection makes Obama and Limbaugh 10th cousins once removed. I find this news to be very interesting. It amazes me that people with such opposing political viewpoints, goals, and ideals turn out to be connected to each other through branches on their family tree.
Image by Hilary on Flickr