President Barack Obama is distantly related to two of his most outspoken critics -- Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin and talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh -- as well as to former President George W. Bush, according to a genealogy website.
Family trees revealed Obama and Palin, the former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, are 10th cousins through common ancestor John Smith, according to Ancestry.com Inc. Smith was Obama’s and Palin’s 12th-great- grandfather. Smith, a Protestant pastor, was an early settler in Massachusetts and was criticized by the ecclesiastical community for supporting Quakers, said Anastasia Tyler, a genealogist for the website.
Obama and Limbaugh are 10th cousins once removed through shared connections to Richmond Terrell, a Virginia settler who came to America in the mid-1600s, Tyler said.
Palin and Obama have ties to Bush, both through links to Samuel Hinckley. Maybe leadership “runs in the family,” the website said, because Hinckley’s son, Thomas, became the governor of Plymouth Colony before it united with Massachusetts.
“Despite political differences, they do have similarities,” Tyler said. “We are all tied together; we are all part of America.”
The family-tree website also found that Palin is related to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, and author and commentator Ann Coulter. The three are tied to John Lathrop, an Englishman who was banished to Boston after he served as minister of an illegal church independent of the Church of England, Tyler said.
Tyler’s team at Provo, Utah-based Ancestry.com works on discovering famous relations to show how people can build family trees from the site, using its library of 5 billion historical records.
“We are always looking for ways to show how interesting family history can be,” Tyler said.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org.