NEW YORK – President Barack Obama has family ties to none other than Sarah Palin, according to the genealogists at Ancestry.com, a discovery the family history site made when looking for connections between political foes.
And that's not all — Obama also is apparently related to conservative radio host and relentless critic Rush Limbaugh.
A genealogist at the Utah-based Ancestry.com, Anastasia Tyler, said Obama and Palin are 10th cousins through a common ancestor named John Smith, a pastor and early settler in 17th-century Massachusetts. Obama is related to Smith through his mother, as is Palin, Tyler said.
"Smith was against the persecution of the Quakers," Tyler said in an interview. "He was a very socially conscious man."
As for Limbaugh, he's also a 10th cousin of the president — one time removed — through a common ancestor named Richmond Terrell, who Tyler said was a large landowner in Virginia, also in the 17th century. "His history is a little more nebulous," Tyler said.
How do the genealogists come up with this stuff? Tyler said they start by picking the people they're interested in, then examine their family trees, going back further and further into history, looking for common surnames and locations.
In the recent project, genealogists looked at the trees of Obama, Palin, and Limbaugh but also a few others, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Fox News pundits Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. They didn't find anything much with the latter three.
[Related: How to trace your family tree online]
But former President George W. Bush? He's related to both Obama and Palin, the site found. Obama and Bush are 11th cousins through common ancestor Samuel Hinckley, and Bush and Palin are 10th cousins one time removed, also through Hinckley — who, and stay with us now, was John Smith's father-in-law.
Ancestry.com has revealed in the past that Obama is related to investor Warren Buffett and actor Brad Pitt. It has also found that Palin, the former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate, is a distant cousin of both Franklin D. Roosevelt and Princess Diana.
The site isn't the only source of this sort of celebrity genealogy information — in 2007, Cheney's wife, Lynne, discovered ancestral ties between former Vice President Dick Cheney and Obama while researching her book. She said the relationship was eighth cousin, though the Chicago Sun-Times traced it as ninth cousins once removed.
And one other thing from Ancestry.com: It also found that Palin is distant cousins with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and conservative author and pundit Ann Coulter, through John Lathrop, who was exiled to the United States from England for being a pastor of an illegal independent church.