In honor of Presidents Day today, I thought I would pose the question – are you related to one of the presidents of the United States? I found out I was related to Dwight D. Eisenhower when I first started researching my Grandpa Shults’ side 14 years ago. My 3rd great grandmother, Eliza Ann Isenhour, was his fourth cousin. As you can see, the spelling of the last name morphed over the years.
Doris Kearns Goodwin, at her RootsTech conference keynote address in 2016, spoke about how she had basically no living relatives as a young person and didn’t know much about her family tree. She was delighted when the New England Historic Genealogical Society presented her with a study about her ancestry, revealing that she was related to 15 United States presidents. She had devoted her life to studying and writing about several presidents of the United States, and found new meaning in these cousin relationships.
You can find out how many U.S. presidents you’re related to as well! All you need is a FamilySearch account with your ancestors connected to the collaborative family tree. If you’re not sure why you’d want to use it, read about why we love FamilySearch.org. You can also read about how to transfer your gedcom to FamilySearch from my post about it here.
Once your FamilySearch account shows all the ancestors you know of in the collaborative tree, you’re ready to use the FamilySearch certified app www.RelativeFinder.org to see which famous people you’re related to. Log in to Relative Finder with your FamilySearch account, and check the “U.S. Presidents” box at the bottom of the list. Relative Finder even creates a chart showing how you’re related to the president.
You can also find this information by navigating to a president in the FamilySearch Family Tree and then click the “view my relationship” button on their profile page. It pops up with a chart like this:
You may be surprised by how many you’re related to! I had 38 out of the 43 possible presidents in my list of presidential relatives (Martin Van Buren is my most distant relative, only my 12th Cousin 10 times removed).
Happy Presidents Day!
p.s. Show your teenager this website and you’ll have them instantly addicted to discovering their family tree!