All the Presidents' Cousins

Student finds genetic link between all but one U.S. president

By Jessica Greene
|  Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010  |  Updated 5:44 PM PDT
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The Obama Presidency in Photos

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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., waves to the crowd with former president Bill Clinton at an Early Vote for Change Rally at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, FL on Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Jasmina Meyer - Highlands Today) *** Mandatory Credit- Jasmina Meyer/Highlands Today ***

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During the presidential campaign, news that Dick Cheney and then-candidate Barack Obama were distant cousins became fodder for comics and pundits alike. Now a Bay Area middle schooler has revealed family ties among some of American history's most achieved politicans.

BridgeAnne d'Avignon was on a mission to trace her own roots and uncovered evidence that each American president -- except for one -- has a common, very famous ancestor.

The 12-year-old from Salinas discovered that all the presidents except Martin Van Buren are related to King John of England, who was depicted as the villian in the Robin Hood tales. King John also signed the Magna Carta in 1215, which helped form the British Parliament. Van Buren's descendants are Dutch.

It took BridgeAnne two years to finish the project, our friends at the Santa Cruz Sentinel discovered. Her grandfather, who has been tracing roots for 60 years, helped her connect the presidential dots. She thinks Obama is her 18th cousin.

BridgeAnne has political aspirations of her own, starting with a trip to the White House. She created a poster of the presidential family tree and is selling signed replicas of them on her Web site We Are All Related to help raise the funds to personally deliver a copy to Obama.

As for the common gene that binds them all, BridgAnne has her own theory.

"They all have the trait of wanting power."

 

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