This could make for one odd family reunion: Barack Obama is a distant cousin of actor Brad Pitt and Hillary Rodham Clinton is related to Pitt’s girlfriend, Angelina Jolie.
Researchers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society found some remarkable family connections for the three presidential candidates.
Democratic hopeful Obama has a prolific presidential lineage. He can claim kinship with six U.S Presidents including President George W Bush, his father George H. W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman and James Madison.
Obama is related to Brad Pitt and six U.S President
Obama has already learnt that he is distantly related to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, according to Lynne Cheney, who said she discovered that her husband of 43 years is eighth cousins with the senator from Illinois.
A spokesman for Obama, who wants to be the first black U.S.president, offered a tongue-in-cheek response: “Every family has a black sheep.”
Mrs. Cheney told MSNBC that it was “an amazing American story that one ancestor…could be responsible down the family line for lives that have taken such different and varied paths.”
The common ancestor was Mareen Devall, who the Chicago Sun-Times said was a 17th century immigrant from France.
This French Huguenot’s son married the granddaughter of a Richard Cheney, who arrived in Maryland in the late 1650’s from England, said Ginny Justice, a spokeswoman for Lynne Cheney.
Mrs Cheney said she discovered the link through family research for her new book, “Blue Skies, No Fences,” about growing up in Wyoming.
Meanwhile Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, who is of French-Canadian descent on her mother’s side, has been unveiled as a distant cousin of singers Madonna, Celine Dion and Alanis Morissette.
Hillary Clinton is related to Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Celine Dion and Alanis Morissette
“You’d think with all that singing talent in the family she’d be able to carry a tune,” Clinton’s senior adviser Philippe Reines said. “But now it makes much more sense how she snagged a Grammy.”
Clinton won for best spoken word Grammy in 1997 for “It Takes a Village.”
Genealogist Christopher Child said that while the candidates often focus on pointing out differences between them, their ancestry shows they are more alike than they think.
“It shows that lots of different people can be related, people you wouldn’t necessarily expect,” Child said.
Child has spent the last three years tracing the candidates’genealogy, along with senior research scholar Gary Boyd Roberts, author of the 1989 book, “Ancestors of American Presidents.”
John McCain’s ancestry was more difficult to trace because records on his relatives were not as complete as records for the families of Obama and Clinton, Child said.
Obama and President Bush are 10th cousins, once removed, linked by Samuel Hinkley of Cape Cod, who died in 1662.
Pitt and Obama are ninth cousins, linked by Edwin Hickman, whodied in Virginia in 1769. Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obamacampaign, declined to comment on the senator’s ancestry.
Clinton and Jolie are ninth cousins, twice removed, both related to Jean Cusson who died in St. Sulpice, Quebec, in 1718.
The New England Historic Genealogical Society, founded in 1845,is the oldest and largest non-profit genealogical organization in the country.