Tuesday, October 14, 2008

YOU CAN'T PICK YOUR RELATIVES, OR IS OBAMA RELATED TO EVERYBODY?

According to a recent study by the New England Genealogical Society, Sen. Barack Obama is related to both President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Obama and Cheney are 8th cousins, linked through Mareen Duvall, a 17th Century French Huguenot who immigrated to America. Obama and Bush are 10th cousins, once removed. They had a common ancestor, one Samuel Hinckley of Cape Cod, who died in 1662. Hinckley's father Thomas Hinckley, was the governor of the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts. The elder Hinckley's daughter, Anna, married Capt. Ephraim Hunt, and through their son, Thomas, they are ancestors of Sen. John Kerry.

Obama spokesperson Bill Burton, speaking of the Obama-Cheney kinship was quoted as saying, "every family has a black sheep." He was talking about Dick Cheney at the time. Apparently, being a Democrat or a Republican is not genetic, although the Kennedy clan may disagree. As it turns out, genealogist Christopher Child tells us that Sen. Obama is related to six U.S. presidents, including, besides George Bush I and II, Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, Harry S Truman and James Madison. Other Obama cousins include Sir Winston Churchill and Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Obama is even a 9th cousin to movie star Brad Pitt through Edwin Hickman who died in Virginia in 1769.

Both Bush and Kerry are related to Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner through Maj. William Bradford of the Plymouth colony. Hefner is a 9th cousin of both men, although his relationship to Kerry is slightly closer, and indeed, Hefner supported Kerry in the 2004 election.

Sen. John McCain's lineage is somewhat fuzzier, but he is a 6th cousin to First Lady Laura Bush.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, who is of French Canadian descent on her mother's side, is related to singers Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette, and even Madonna. With that lineage, it's not surprising that Clinton snagged a Grammy award, although it was for best spoken word in It Takes a Village. Obama won one of those also, but he was not known to be related to Clinton except, maybe, through the Pitt and Jolie connection below.

Mrs. Clinton and Angelina Jolie are 9th cousins, twice removed, both related to Jean Cusson, who died in Quebec in 1718. Thus, Clinton and Obama are related through marriage. Jolie and Pitt are married, aren't they? If not, they're related through Jolie and Pitt's kids. Mrs. Clinton's other relatives include beat author Jack Kerouac and Camilia Parker-Bowles, wife of England's Prince Charles. I suppose that makes Obama and Prince Charles related through marriage also. So that would make his kinship closer to Queen Elizabeth than to Queen Latifah.

President Bush, like Sen. Obama, is related to a host of famous people. Besides his cousin Barack, or Barry, as they used to call him while growing up, Bush's mother, Barbara is descended from a second cousin of Franklin Pierce, one of our least distinguished presidents. (Don't even go there!) Pres. Bush is related to other presidents on his father's side such as Lincoln, Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Cleveland, T. Roosevelt, F. Roosevelt, Taft, Coolidge, Hoover, Nixon and Ford. Bush is also related to Sir Winston Churchill in three ways--through the Coes of NY, the Sumners of MA. and the Shermans of RI. Bush was even descended from French Emperor Charlemagne in 8 or 9 different ways. Bush's namesake George Bush (1796-1859) was a noted biblical scholar who wrote a book, Life of Mohammed, which he would have difficulty getting published today.

America is described as a vast melting pot, but most people didn't realize to what extent. The next Bush-Obama family reunion might have to be held in the Superdome.

KENNETH SUSKIN
10/14/08

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1 Comments:

Blogger goooooood girl said...

i like......

October 24, 2008 at 11:32 PM  

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