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. Stacy Clarks, Texas

    this is really just fluff...we are trying to run a serious election here!

    March 26, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  2. Christian

    The Old Testament of the Bible tells us that we are all related. We are all descendents of Eve who mated with her sons.

    March 26, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. Edgar - Orlando, Florida

    Is any one related to Anakin Skywalker?

    March 26, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. michelle

    I cant beleive all the who cares this is interesting stuff. You would never think they were related. I wonder about who I am all releated to.

    March 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. GL

    Are we going to have stories like this until the next primary? Good lord CNN, you CAN do better than this.

    Move on. Nothing to see here. Another no-news day for CNN.

    March 26, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. drew

    We are all descendant from Adam and Eve, so we're all cousins. Psh.

    oh yeah, but this is definitely worth reading, although it provides absolutely no insight into the campaign.

    March 26, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. Mike in CA

    Wow. Now you know it's a very slow day on the news front. I can't wait for the primaries to start back up again simply because we might actually have news-worthy headlines again.

    March 26, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. Strum

    They say you cannot choose your family but you can choose your pastor. I wonder if rev. Wright is family to Obama. I guess that would put the issue to bed.

    March 26, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. kathleen "a typical white person" for OBAMA/EDWARDS 2008

    Camilla is a B--. Hillary is a B-–.

    March 26, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  10. The Perpetual Student

    Hey! If you believe the Bible, we all came from Noah!

    March 26, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. deb in az

    eric in pa.......nicely put.........

    March 26, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. Hopeful for Hillary

    And I guess if we go back far enough we are all know Adam and Eve............that is if you believe the Old Testament.

    March 26, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. OpenTheBorders

    Big deal. I am a descendent of Pancho Villa cabrones.

    March 26, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. Sharon Minnesota

    What??? Typical nonsense from CNN

    March 26, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Give us a break

    Is this realy new. Who cares. My wife is related to Nixon. Does that make a better person? Does it give her an advantage over me?

    March 26, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. Nando, Florida

    And James Carvelle is related to ATTILA THE HUN!!!!!!!

    March 26, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. Curtis L Madison

    More proof that royal blood lines rule all the governments of the world. This goes back to Masontry and secreat societies.

    March 26, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. Adam

    Madonna loves Hillary! Now they are related, That ROCKS!

    Hillary 08!

    March 26, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. Go away Obama

    seriously? this is news worthy?

    March 26, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. Leslie

    Ben you are correct. And all are created by God – equal.

    March 26, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. saif

    The reason our country is in so much economic and social trouble is because our news agencies feed us these silly stories rather than REAL news with REAL analysis.

    March 26, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. Uncle Sam

    Descended from kings, the son and grandson of admirals, John McCain has the right stuff to lead our country at this time.

    March 26, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. Ed

    And all this time I thought Barack was an African American. Hmmm.... Turns out he is just a typical white man.

    March 26, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. Frank

    I can see the resemblance between Hillary and Camilla!

    March 26, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  25. Med student

    It can't be mere coincidence that these elite members of society are related other elite members of society.

    March 26, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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