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All U.S. presidents except one related to one king of England?

Ron Ecker

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Obama and every other U.S. president except Martin Van Buren are related to King of England John "Lackland" Plantagenet? Someone give me the odds.

Is this a hoax, some kind of "all in the family" conspiracy, or what?


Edited by Ron Ecker
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I was introduced to the idea that I was more likely to be related to Charlemagne than Alfred the Great about 50 years ago. It was surprising, but not shocking. The modern version is 'everyone of European ancestry is related to Charlemagne' or even (without having to go back 60,000 years) 'everyone (within a geographical area) is related to everybody'.

What is more surprising is the sudden explosion of interest in genealogy which produces these 'shocks'. But then perhaps for a generation or two people had lost track of and then lost interest in their ancestry. An acquaintance of mine spent many years in Northern Kenya, developing a written version of the language of a nomadic tribe. However, my friend's inability to recite to his tribal contact the names of all his great-grand-parents was a bad start to the project. (No, I don't think the tribe in question shared a common ancestry with President Obama!)

The conspiracy is surely the way we tend to select an interesting branch of the family tree and mentally chop off all the other branches.

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