March 26th, 2008
09:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Family ties: Presidential candidates share notable ancestors

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A new study says Clinton is related to actress Angelina Jolie."](CNN) - Perhaps, now the candidates will play nice.

For all their insistence on how unlike they are from one another, the three U.S. presidential candidates share some noteworthy family connections, the New England Historic Genealogical Society has found.

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, who has made his opposition to the Iraq war a linchpin of his campaign, is distantly related not only to U.S. President George W. Bush but also to another wartime leader - former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Because of his shared ancestry with President Bush, Obama is also indirectly related to his rival on the Republican side, Sen. John McCain.

McCain, it turns out, is a sixth cousin of First Lady Laura Bush.

Meanwhile, Sen. Hillary Clinton, is related to beatnik author Jack Kerouac, Canadian Prime Minster Pierre Trudeau and Camilla Parker-Bowles, wife of Prince Charles of England.

Clinton also shares ancestors with Grammy Award-winning singers Celine Dion and Madonna.

The senator won a Best Spoken Word Grammy for the audio version of her book, "It Takes a Village." Rival Obama also snagged one in the same category for his book "The Audacity of Hope."

Conservatives who sometimes accuse Democrats of being in bed with liberal Hollywood elites may have been handed one more round of ammunition by the Society's findings.

Clinton, the Society said, is related to Angelina Jolie. And Obama is related to Jolie's boyfriend Brad Pitt.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society, founded in 1845, says it is the oldest such organization in the country. Members spent three years tracing the lineage of the candidates.

Among their other findings:

McCain, the Vietnam War veteran who spent five years as a prisoner of war, descends from a long line of kings: Scottish King William the Lion, English King Edward I and French King Louis VII.

Obama, the son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya, is "related to millions of contemporary Americans – perhaps even a significant percentage of the population," the researchers said.

He is cousins with six U.S presidents, including Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman and Gerald Ford. He is also linked to American artist Georgia O'Keefe, the Duchess of Windsor and two men who signed the Declaration of Independence.

Most surprisingly, Obama - the man who could become America's first African-American president - is linked by ancestry to Robert E. Lee, who commanded the armies of the Southern slave-holding states during the American civil war.

Bedfellows, it turns out, make for strange politics.

soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Niky

    It's a compliment to Brad Pitt that Obama is related to him distantly but I wonder if the same goes well for poor Jolie and Clinton.

    March 26, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. Sue

    This is newsworthy? What has happened to the real issues? I do not care about any of this...I care about the problems facing our nation TODAY and how they are going to be solved.

    March 26, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. PA voter

    OF COURSE Hillary is related to Madonna and Kerouac

    Awesomeness runs in her genes

    March 26, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. Nancy

    Give me a break, who cares?

    March 26, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. Norm

    Big Deal..Man what you guys call news nowadays!

    March 26, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. Kevin,FL

    One Big Happy Family..

    March 26, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. Trev

    Who cares! Give the money you spent on this to the poor.

    Hillary 08

    March 26, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. Eric-PA

    I knew somehow Obama was related to Bush. They both have run dirty campaigns.

    March 26, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. True Independent, MD

    This is hilarious.
    I bet Sen. Clinton wishes she was related to Winston Churchill instead of yet another adulterer ,Camilla Parker-Bowles!

    March 26, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  10. stephen

    Obama has TWO grammys, one for each of his books.

    March 26, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. Tony, NC

    Long live King John the first!!

    March 26, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Does this mean that Bill is possibly related to Hillary and Hillary was so forgiving to Bill because Monica Lewinsky is her cousin.

    March 26, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. Stephen

    It makes sense, Brad Pitt is a good actor...and so is Obama

    March 26, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. Grey

    Are you aware these candidates have not yet put forth a SOLUTION to ANY of the real issues facing the country? No, likely not, easier buying story lines from the Enquirer isn't it??

    March 26, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  15. RFP

    We're ALL related to each other – we all come from the same ancestors, first Adam and Eve and then the decedents of Noah.

    March 26, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. ben

    Well, I am a direct decendent of Adam and Eve along with everyone else
    in the world! That being the case, we are all related!

    March 26, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. Mr. C.

    It looks like Leadership/Presidency runs in the blood for OBAMA... OBAMA 08.

    March 26, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  18. April in Texas

    While this is funny I dont see how this is really political. They can make their own choices as to who to support openly or privately.

    Obama 08
    Austin Texas

    March 26, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. Tamika

    blah blah..

    March 26, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. charlotte

    Aren't we all suppose to be 6 cousins to one another? That is what I've heard. I guess you really can't choose your relatives. Who you choose to call a friend and a mentor is another story?

    March 26, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  21. George

    Hillary and Celine... another reason to vote Obama.

    March 26, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  22. Rush Goebbels

    Nice family trees.

    March 26, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. kyle

    whoops! news?


    DEMOCRAT '08

    March 26, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  24. MISS H


    March 26, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. sam

    Any idea of that clown Jack Cafferty's lineage?

    March 26, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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