A Few Famous Cousins

family tree Ellen Degeneres recently revealed on her show that she is related to Kate Middleton. This made me wonder if there were other famous people who were related to each other in some way. It turns out that there are quite a few celebrities who are related to other celebrities, in ways that you might not have guessed or expected. It is kind of fun to learn more about the family trees of famous people.

Kate Middleton and Ellen Degeneres are fifteenth cousins. But, what does that really mean? There is a group on Facebook that you can join called “Hey, I’m your fifteenth cousin”. The group makes an interesting claim: “According to most geneticists we are all everyone’s fifteenth cousins”. If so, then you and I are also fifteenth cousins to both Ellen Degeneres and Kate Middleton. Wow, there are famous people in my family tree, after all!

Actress Angelina Jolie and politician Hillary Clinton are related to each other. They are ninth cousins, twice removed. What does that mean? Ninth cousins means that the two women share a grandparent from eight generations before their own. The term “removed” refers to the number of generations that separate the two cousins from each other. In this case, Angelina Jolie and Hillary Clinton are both descendants of Jean Cusson of Quebec.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow is a cousin to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Gwyneth Paltrow’s parents are Bruce Paltrow and Blythe Danner. Gabrielle Giffords’ parents are Spencer and Gloria Giffords. Bruce Paltrow and Spencer Giffords are first cousins to each other. This makes Gwyneth and Gabrielle second cousins.

Ever wondered if you have any famous relatives in your family tree? Some of the genealogy websites have features that will allow you to find that out. For example, if you are a member of Ancestry.com, you can use a link within their system called “Find Famous Relatives”. If it turns out that there is a famous person in your family tree, the system will show you a photo and a bio of that person, and will describe how the two of you are related.

Geni.com has a list of “Notable/Celebrity Profiles” that you can browse through, to see the family trees of famous people. Their list includes Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth II, Adolf Hitler, and even Jesus Christ. You can also check out the family trees of Elvis Presley, Bill Gates, Prince William of Wales, and Marilyn Monroe, to name but a few. If you become a member of Geni.com, you can click on a tool to find out “How are you related?” to any celebrity or famous person you can think of.

Image by Fred Benenson on Flickr