Celebritrees: Lucky Stars
9/23/2009

Does divadom run in families? It does for two famous pop queens—and they're not just blessed vocally, but genealogically, as well.

First, I discovered that Celine Dion is related to Camilla Parker Bowles, best-known for her role in England's most-publicized love triangle. The ninth cousins once removed descend from Jean Guyon, one of Quebec's earliest settlers.

Bowles' tie-in surprised me, so I wondered what other celebrities Dion calls kin. I'd already learned that if you find one French Canadian connection, you'll likely find many more, since French Canadians tended to marry their fellow French Canadians.

Knowing that Madonna's maternal side is French Canadian, I hypothesized a link to Dion. Indeed, I discovered that the Material Girl, too, descends from Jean Guyon. The two singers are 10th cousins twice removed through him, and 10th cousins once removed through another ancestor, Zacharie Cloutier.

If the stars ever collaborate on their pedigree research, they'll have it made. A major benefit of French Canadian ancestry is relatively easy access to parish registers. You can get microfilmed records for many Quebec towns through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and its branch Family History Centers (find one near you at www.familysearch.org/eng/library/fhc/frameset_fhc.asp). A number of online transcription projects, such as the Programme de Recherche en Démographie Historique's early church registers, also are in the works. Who knows? Maybe a search will reveal your inner diva.