Power — even political power — doesn’t fall too far from the family tree when it comes to the U.S. presidency … then again, sometimes it comes several branches over. At least, that’s the case for many former U.S. presidents, including those that are as far as 10th cousins, twice removed, like George W. Bush and Barack Obama. (Is your head spinning?!)
Take a look at this list of U.S. presidents and their relations to other former presidents for a new way to look at our leaders who have served as Commander in Chief.
George W. and George H.W. Bush were father and son, respectively. No surprise there. They served as the 31st and 43rd presidents of the U.S.
Another father and son duo came in John Adams and John Quincey Adams who served as the second and sixth presidents, respectively.
William Henry Harrison, ninth president, was the grandfather of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president.
Meanwhile, James Madison, fourth president, was second cousins with Zachary Taylor, the 12th president.
FDR is related to 11 presidents
Next comes Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president, who was related to 11 — yes ELEVEN — other presidents. Five of them through blood and the remaining six by marriage. This was determined by a study done by multiple genealogists. (There is even controversy that he’s related to a 12th former president.)
- Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president, FDR’s fifth cousin
- John Adams
- John Quincy Adams
- Ulysses Grant
- Henry William Harrison
- Benjamin Harrison
- James Madison
- William Taft
- Zachary Taylor
- Martin Van Buren, third cousins, four-times removed
- George Washington
He was also reportedly related to Winston Churchill and Robert E. Lee. Woah!
Distantly related cousins
The search for distant relatives becomes deep when it comes to former U.S. presidents, practically unending. With generations between them and blood and marriage bonding many in office, the list of distant cousin only continues to grow.
- James Madison and James K. Polk, second cousins once removed
- Zachary Taylor and James K. Polk, second cousins once removed
- Martin Van Buren and Theodore Roosevelt, third cousins three-times removed
- John Adams and Calvin Coolidge, third cousins, five-times removed
- James Madison and Barack Obama, third cousins, nine-times removed
- John Tyler and William Henry Harrison, fourth cousins, once removed
- Ulysses Grant and Franklin D. Roosevelt, fourth cousins, once removed
- John Adams and Millard Fillmore, fourth cousins, three-times removed
- John Quincy Adams and Franklin D. Roosevelt, fourth cousins, three-times removed
- Zachary Taylor and Franklin D. Roosevelt, fourth half-cousins, three-times removed
- James Garfield and George H. W. Bush, fourth cousins, three-times removed
- Lyndon Johnson and Barack Obama, fourth cousins, three times removed
- John Quincy Adams and Calvin Coolidge, fourth cousins, four-times removed
- Franklin Pierce and Calvin Coolidge, fourth cousins, four-times removed
- James Garfield and George W. Bush, fourth cousins, four-times removed
- John Adams and William Howard Taft, fourth cousins, five-times removed
- Franklin Pierce and Herbert Hoover, fourth cousins, five-times removed
- Millard Fillmore and George H. W. Bush, fourth cousins, five-times removed
- Millard Fillmore and George W. Bush, fourth cousins, six-times removed
And on on on and on, all the way up to 10th cousins, four-times removed. Are they still even related at that point??
This is an interesting look into the genealogy of the American president and how families long ago are even distantly related to modern U.S. presidents.
Featured photo: Presidential portraits taken from Wikimedia Commons – Public Domain