However far apart George W. Bush and John Kerry stand on the issues, they’re close in one respect: their family trees. Turns out the 2004 presidential candidates can call each other cousins.
Although the politicians’ family ties aren’t immediate—their closest calculated connection is ninth cousins twice removed—genealogy gurus assert that the men are linked throughout their family trees. Pre-eminent presidential-pedigree tracer Gary Boyd Roberts tells Family Tree Magazine that he’s found eight common ancestors between the incumbent and the challenger, through three American families and five British families.
Millisecond Publishing’s Bruce and Kristine Harrison, who created the Family Forest CD of famous people’s pedigrees, claim Bush and Kerry both descend from 17th-century Plymouth colonists Thomas and Welthian Richards www.familyforest.com/kerry_bush_closer_cousins.html. Ancestry.com traces each candidate back to Edmund Reade and Elizabeth Cooke in mid-1500s England: Bush is a 10th-great-grandson, Kerry an eighth-great-grandson (view this lineage at ).
Since so many high-profile politicians come from blueblood backgrounds, the candidates’ ancestral connection isn’t that unusual. And alas, their kinship probably won’t lead to a kinder, gentler relationship between these bitter political rivals. But here’s hoping the candidates won’t let the campaign get too dirty—otherwise, their feuding could spoil everyone’s fun at the next family reunion.
Learn how to discover your family’s presidential connections in the December 2004 Family Tree Magazine.