In a new report by the AP, the New England Historic Genealogical Society has found a link between Senator Barack Obama and actor Brad Pitt, and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Pitt’s girlfriend, Angelina Jolie.
According to the organization, Pitt and Obama are ninth cousins, linked by a man named Edwin Hickman, who died in Virginia in 1769. Clinton and Jolie are also ninth cousins, twice removed, who are both related to a Jean Cusson who died in St. Sulpice, Quebec, in 1718. Spokesman for the Obama campaign, Ben LaBolt, declined to comment on the senator’s ancestry.
Clinton, who is of French Canadian descent on her mother’s side, is also a distant cousin of Madonna, Celine Dion and Alanis Morrissette, according to the report. 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.
Genealogist Christopher Child says that while many candidates spend time pointing out the 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 says.
Child says Obama is also distantly linked to Winston Churchill, Civil War General Robert E. Lee, and — (drum roll please) — Vice President Dick Cheney.
The New England Historic Genealogical Society was founded in 1845, and is the largest and oldest nonprofit genealogical organization in the country.