RJO’s Genealogy: “Notable Kin”
And after I became President, I found that I had all these relatives I didn’t know existed. (Laughter.) They just kept cropping up all over. And most of them had more limited resources than I did. I’ll tell you one real quick story. I did get one letter from a woman way up in her 80s in northeast Louisiana who showed me how John Grisham and I were like tenth cousins. And I wrote him a letter and said, praise God, you’re the first one that has any money—(laughter)—come to the White House tomorrow. (Laughter.) And it was really funny. It turned out it was true, she wrote him identical letters, we checked our lineage and we turned out to be kin. And one of us is still claiming it.
These pages record my genealogical links to various noted figures. The search for such links to “notable kin” has been the special province of genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts, and many of the lines reported here are based on his columns in the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s news magazines Nexus and New England Ancestors, columns that have been anthologized under the title Notable Kin (vol. 1, 1998; vol. 2, 1999). Roberts has also published a comprehensive work on presidential genealogy (Ancestors of American Presidents, 1995) that forms the basis for the presidential links shown below.
American Authors — Links to Emily Dickinson (8C3R), Ralph Waldo Emerson (5C5R), Nathaniel Hawthorne (5C5R), Julia Ward Howe (6C4R), and Edward Arlington Robinson (7C3R).
American Presidents — Links to John Adams (3C8R), John Quincy Adams (4C7R), George Bush (11C), George W. Bush (11C1R), Calvin Coolidge (10C), Millard Fillmore (7C5R), James Garfield (7C4R), Ulysses S. Grant (7C5R), Richard Nixon (8C1R), Franklin Pierce (6C4R), and William Howard Taft (9C3R).
Diana, Princess of Wales — Link to Diana, Princess of Wales, who is my tenth cousin once removed by virtue of our common descent from John Cogswell and Elizabeth Thompson of Wiltshire, England, and Ipswich, Massachusetts. Diana’s sons Prince William and Prince Harry are my tenth cousins twice removed.
Governor Sarah Palin — Link to vice-presidential candidate Sarah Louise (Heath) Palin who is my twelfth cousin once removed by virtue of our common descent from Edward Frost and Thomasine Belgrave of Suffolk, England, several of whose children emigrated to Massachusetts.
Other Notables — Brief accounts of shared ancestry with other noted people including Susan B. Anthony, Dorothea Dix, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton; George Eastman, Robert Goddard, and Eli Whitney; “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman and “Wild Bill” Hickok; Colonel William Prescott, the hero of Bunker Hill; and actress Lucille Ball.
© RJO 1995–2016