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December 16, 2012

GENEALOGY: Wanna find out if you’re related to someone famous?

TERRE HAUTE — Shows on TV like NBC’s cancelled “Who do you think you are?” as well as Henry Lewis Gates’ ongoing PBS genealogy series both bring the genealogies of celebrities to our attention; and a certain number of us might be wondering, “Am I related to someone famous?” For family researchers who want to pursue this question, there are several places to go to start your quest.

The website at www. has a link “discover if you’re related to someone famous.” By clicking on the link you can enter your first name and email address to receive a step-by-step guide, “Are You Related to Someone Famous: The 7 Secrets to Discovering your Famous Relatives,” and to enroll in the free mini e-course, “Could you be related to someone famous?”

The website is an interesting site detailing the family trees of nearly 3,000 famous people — and it’s growing in size as more are added. It is definitely worth a look for those who are curious.

If books are more your thing, check out Roots of the Rich and Famous, by Robert R. Davenport. Here’s what the promo says: “Did you know that Johnny Carson is related to Kit Carson? Or that Prince Charles is a descendant of Count Dracula? Or that Yul Brynner and Genghis Khan share the same family tree? It’s a fact that millions of Americans are fascinated by ancestry and celebrity.  … [A]uthor Robert Davenport combines both curiosities in a riveting book … Intriguing entries detailing family artifacts, famous connections, and scandalous family secrets will delight and often surprise readers. From Walt Disney’s link to the grand wizard of the Salem witch trials to Tom Hanks’ tie to Abraham Lincoln’s mother, lively stories of unlikely associations abound in Roots of the Rich and Famous.”

For a presidential connection, look into Ancestors of American Presidents by Gary B. Roberts. This book is available in the Vigo County Public Library, Special Collections Department. “It covers the full traceable ancestry of the 43 individual American presidents … Roberts offers ancestor tables for each president; … the best royal descents of each president and First Lady; more than 150 charts outlining kinships between presidents; and appendixes for Pocahontas, presidential Mayflower lines, and connections to the modern British royal family and European royal families generally,” says the press release to the 3rd edition, published in 2009.

A Genealogy Of The Wives Of The American Presidents And Their First Two Generations Of Descent by Craig Hart, “traces the lineage of all presidents’ wives, from Martha Washington to Jane Wyman. Some of the women are connected to one another through common ancestry, sometimes even through royal blood … Several … can be traced back to King John, William the Conqueror, Charlemagne, and Lady Godiva. The work includes not only ancestors but offspring, listing children and grandchildren for each woman. Dates of birth, death, and marriage of ancestors, children and grandchildren are included where known.”


Family Chronicle is offering another special Christmas bundle of four books, this time related to the Civil War and War of 1812, for the reduced price of $30, including shipping. This is a savings of $21 if the books were ordered individually. The publications in the bundle include Tracing Your Civil War Ancestors, Tracing Your War of 1812 Ancestors, Life During the Civil War, and Saving Family Memories. To order call 1-888-326-2476, ext. 111, or visit

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