Millions of Americans are Related to Presidents

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According to Family Tree Magazine, the country's best-selling genealogy magazine, 100 million Americans share ancestors with US presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush. The magazine's December 2004 issue offers advice for finding presidents in your family tree.

Political candidates George W. Bush, John Kerry and their fellow office-seekers spend millions trying to masquerade as one of us—just an average Joe.

It’s a tough sell, but there’s a grain of truth to the politicians’ just-folks spin: According to Family Tree Magazine, the country’s best-selling genealogy magazine, 100 million everyday Americans share ancestors with presidents.

The December 2004 Family Tree Magazine guides family historians through four steps to finding presidents in their pasts. “Genealogists and historians have researched all the presidential families, so it’s a matter of finding those family trees and comparing them to your own,” says Family Tree Magazine editor Allison Stacy.

How do you know whether to look for family connections to the White House? “Almost anyone with New England ancestry is probably related to multiple presidents, and the chances also are good for those with Quaker or Southern roots,” Stacy says. Relationships are likely to be distant, such as an eighth or ninth cousin—meaning the shared ancestor lived in the 1700s or earlier. Stacy cautions that family legends and last names such as Jefferson or Cleveland don’t guarantee a link.

Even the current candidates, both descendants of New England families, can call each other kin. With at least eight common ancestors, Bush and Kerry are cousins several times over. No need to worry about an awkward run-in at a family reunion, though—their closest connection is eighth cousins twice removed.

Family Tree Magazine is America’s largest-circulation genealogy magazine, helping readers discover, preserve and celebrate their family history. By reaching out to a broad consumer audience and making genealogy accessible even to beginners, Family Tree Magazine shares the excitement of family history and shows readers where to find (and how to use) valuable resources. Its companion line of Family Tree Books offers such best-selling titles as Unpuzzling Your Past by Emily Anne Croom and Organizing Your Family History Search by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack. Visit for more information.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, F+W employs 1,000 worldwide in offices in Devon, England; Boston; Denver; New York City; Savannah, Ga. and Iola, Wis. The company’s products target hobbyists and enthusiasts in categories such as writing, fine art, genealogy, crafts, antiques, collectibles, coins, stamps and the outdoors. F+W published nearly 60 magazines and has an equally deep book-publishing program across 15 imprints in complementary special interest fields. The company owns and operates conferences and book clubs in the United States and the UK.

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Allison Stacy