The Candidates as Cousins Much Removed

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Next time you’re considering whether to run for president, don’t forget to weigh the value of the fast and free genealogical research that comes with candidacy, guaranteed to uncover your ancestral connection to a modern-day celebrity — or at least a minor historical figure.

Last fall, The Chicago Sun-Times revealed that Senator Barack Obama and Vice President Dick Cheney are distant cousins. On Tuesday, the New England Historic Genealogical Society said Mr. Obama had at least six presidents in his very, very extended family, including President Bush and his father, Gerald R. Ford, Lyndon B. Johnson, Harry S. Truman and James Madison. Can you see Mr. Obama’s resemblance to Brad Pitt? Well, no. Because their common ancestor lived 11 generations ago, the chance that they share genes is minuscule. But for genealogists of “notable kin,” ninth cousins count. (Pedigree charts of the candidates are available at NotableKin .org).

For her part, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is the ninth cousin twice removed of Angelina Jolie, with whom she shares French-Canadian roots.

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