What unites Clinton, Obama, Brad Pitt and Jolie?: The Swamp
The Swamp
Posted March 25, 2008 5:09 PM
The Swamp


Sen. Hillary Clinton, pictured at a fundraising event in San Francisco. and actress Angelina Jolie, at a film festival in Santa Barbara. The New England Historic Genealogical Society: Distant relatives. (AP Photos)

by Frank James

This is one of those six-degrees-of-separation stories that seems like it could be on the cover of a tabloid, but let's not pooh pooh it just yet.

The Associated Press is reporting that the New England Historic Genealogical Society has found links between Barack Obama and Brad Pitt and Hillary Clinton and Angelina Jolie. Yes, that seems too convenient by half but I'm not making this up.

In fact, if you look at who the genealogists say Obama and Clinton are related to, the list of celebrities and famous historical personages seems a tad ridiculous. Clinton and Madonna? And Celine Dion? (Now we know why she originally picked a Dion song as her campaign tune.)

Anyway, who are we to scoff at real live genealogists? Now, at least Obama can talk about his other famous relations in his campaign speeches, not just Vice President Cheney.

Here's the AP story:

By DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press Writer

BOSTON (AP) — 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 rivals Obama and Clinton, and Republican John McCain.

Clinton, who is of French-Canadian descent on her mother's side, is also a distant cousin of singers Madonna, Celine Dion and Alanis Morissette. Obama, the son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya, can call six U.S. presidents, including George W. Bush, his cousins. McCain is a sixth cousin of first lady Laura Bush.

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.

Obama has a prolific presidential lineage that features Democrats and Republicans. His distant cousins include President George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, Harry S. Truman and James Madison. Other Obama cousins include Vice President Dick Cheney, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and Civil War General Robert E. Lee.

"His kinships are across the political spectrum," 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."

Clinton's distant cousins include beatnik author Jack Kerouac and Camilla Parker-Bowles, wife of Prince Charles of England.

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, who died in Virginia in 1769. Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, 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 nonprofit genealogical organization in the country.

AP-CS-03-25-08 1538EDT<

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Now, at least Obama can talk about his other famous relations in his campaign speeches, not just Vice President Cheney.

"Obama and President Bush are 10th cousins"

You missed the actual headline. HAHAHAHA.

Why does this study sound like something from the Onion Soup?


Light hearted and interesting. A nice break from all the rancor.

If Hillary is related to Angelina Jolie, then I bet ol' Bill can't wait for the next family reunion.

Com'on cuz, ever see the back of an El Camino?

Does this mean Pitt and Cheney are related too? Some of these people I'd rather not know about if I were them!

Very interesting stuff--maybe it shows we all have more in common than we know. Now, can't we all get along?

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