It is easy for genealogists to find out if they are related to a US President, thanks to a feature in Ancestry.com called “Find Famous Relatives.”
This feature is available from any ancestry profile in a family tree and comes from the millions of files in the Ancestry.com database. The feature gives a list of names of famous relatives, if there are any, along with a rating of up to five stars to indicate accuracy of the information in the database. Click “Show relationship” and the database produces a family tree with one branch going to the famous ancestor and the other going to the ancestor selected from the profile, with the common ancestor at the top of the page.
It is up to the genealogist to do research to confirm the accuracy of the information in the tree, but most of the work is already done.
Jacob Mathew Andrade of Dallas found he is related to presidents Bill Clinton and James Garfield and to Claudia “Lady Bird” Taylor Johnson, wife of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Andrade is related through his third great-grandfather, Captain Jack Ross Everett.
Andrade had the opportunity to meet the entire Clinton family while working on then Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
“I remember telling Senator Clinton’s press secretary I was distantly related to President Clinton,” Andrade said. “She told me to be sure to tell the President about that because he had a great interest in genealogy and would be interested to know which ancestor we were related through.”
Unfortunately, Andrade met Bill Clinton in a group setting and never got a chance to talk genealogy.
Andrade’s mother, Wanda Everett Andrade, met Lady Bird Johnson several times without knowing they were related.
“My mom is the office manager for an Austin eye doctor. She told me of a certain patient who would come to the office with her secret service detail to see the doctor. I think it would have been funny, if she knew at the time we were related to Lady Bird, to say, ‘How are you today, Cousin Claudia?’ Andrade said.
While there can be some bragging rights in proving a connection to a US President, the real value for many genealogists is finding new ancestors. Many times the family trees of famous relatives will contain names and generations not found before, which can help fill valuable gaps in research. This knowledge also gives Andrade a sense of personal pride.
“Knowing I am related to so many people who have done great things makes me feel like I have no limits in life,” Andrade said. “As they did, through hard work and dedication, I can do anything. You feel a sense of pride in the values that have been passed on, generation after generation, through ancestors who were taught that very same thing.”
Presidents’ family trees can also be found with other online sources, such as About.com, or by doing a key word search.