"Why waste your money looking up your family tree? Just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you." -- Mark Twain
"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage - to know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness." -- Alex Haley, Roots
"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten; Either write things worthy of reading, or do things worthy of writing." -- Benjamin Franklin, May 1738
"There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children - one is roots, and the other, wings." -- Hodding S. Carter
"When a society or a civilization perishes, one condition can always be found.
They forgot where they came from." -- Carle Sandburg
"People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors." -- Edmund Burke
"Everyone has ancestors and it is only a question of going back far enough to find a good one." -- Howard Kenneth Nixon
"He who has no fools, knaves, or beggars in his family was begot by a flash of lightning." -- Old English proverb
"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance." -- George Bernard Shaw
"There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his." -- Helen Keller
"Genealogy" Tracing yourself back to people better than you are." -- John Garland Pollard
"I don't have to look up my family tree because I know that I'm the sap." -- Fred Allen
"We've uncovered some embarrassing ancestors in the not-too-distant past. Some horse thieves, and some people killed on Saturday nights. One of my relatives, unfortunately, was even in the newspaper business." -- Jimmy Carter
"Southerners are so devoted to genealogy that we see a family tree under every bush." -- Florence King
Famous Family Trees
Genealogical surprise: Obama related to Pitt, Hillary Clinton to Jolie
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
BOSTON (AP) — This could make for one odd family reunion: Barack Obama is a distant cousin of actor Brad Pitt, and Hillary Rodham Clinton is related to Pitt's girlfriend, Angelina Jolie.
Researchers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society found some remarkable family connections for the three presidential candidates — Democratic rivals Obama and Clinton, and Republican John McCain.
Clinton, who is of French-Canadian descent on her mother's side, is also a distant cousin of singers Madonna, Celine Dion and Alanis Morissette. Obama, the son of a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya, can call six U.S. presidents, including George W. Bush, his cousins. McCain is a sixth cousin of first lady Laura Bush.
"You'd think with all that singing talent in the family she'd be able to carry a tune," Clinton's senior adviser Philippe Reines said. "But now it makes much more sense how she snagged a Grammy."
Clinton won for best spoken word Grammy in 1997 for "It Takes a Village." Obama also won a Grammy in that category this year for the audio version of his book, "The Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming The American Dream."
Genealogist Christopher Child said that while the candidates often focus on pointing out differences between them, their ancestry shows they are more alike than they think.
"It shows that lots of different people can be related, people you wouldn't necessarily expect," Child said.
Obama has a prolific presidential lineage that features Democrats and Republicans. His distant cousins include President George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, Harry S. Truman and James Madison. Other Obama cousins include Vice President Dick Cheney, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and Civil War General Robert E. Lee.
Child has spent the past three years tracing the candidates' genealogy, along with senior research scholar Gary Boyd Roberts, author of the 1989 book, "Ancestors of American Presidents."
Clinton's distant cousins include beatnik author Jack Kerouac and Camilla Parker-Bowles, wife of Prince Charles of England.
McCain's ancestry was more difficult to trace because records on his relatives were not as complete as records for the families of Obama and Clinton, Child said.
Obama and President Bush are 10th cousins, once removed, linked by Samuel Hinkley of Cape Cod, who died in 1662.
Pitt and Obama are ninth cousins, linked by Edwin Hickman, who died in Virginia in 1769.
Clinton and Jolie are ninth cousins, twice removed, both related to Jean Cusson who died in St. Sulpice, Quebec, in 1718.
The New England Historic Genealogical Society, founded in 1845, is the oldest and largest nonprofit genealogical organization in the country.