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Famous People that are Closely-Related


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I was using the website famouskin.com with my family tree to see which people on there I was the most closely related to. 

I'm only including those of which I'm 5th cousins or closer to. Also, only including those that lived in the US. I have royal ancestry if you go a few hundred years further back, as do many English-descent Americans. 

If you're curious why most of the people on this list are from early American history, the answer is fairly simple. The population was much smaller, so it's easier to have someone in common with someone born in, say, 1750, than with someone born in 1950, when the population is larger. 

If you have Massachusetts ancestors living in MA prior to 1650, then you'll likely have a lot of famous cousins too. The same goes for people with early Virginian ancestors, but generally only if they're of the plantation class. MA was mostly the same economic and social class, while VA had a hierarchy. I think this difference in a way sets the seeds for liberal and conservative politics down the road, by the way. 

Anyway, here's the list in order of closeness of relation. I'm also omitting generations removed: 

  • Charles Johnson Maynard, famous naturalist, great-great grandfather
  • Humphrey Atherton, highest ranking MA general 1650s-1660s, 9x great-grandfather
  • Simon Willard, founded Concord MA, 9x great-grandfather
  • Samuel Appleton, top MA general in King Philip's War, 9th great-granduncle 
  • George W Norris, Progressive Era US Senator, 1st cousin
  • Edmund Trowbridge, judge during Boston Massacre trial, 1st cousin
  • Robby Mook, Clinton's campaign manager in 2016, half-1st cousin
  • Franklin Pierce, president, 2nd cousin
  • Francis Dana, Founding Father, 2nd cousin
  • John Adams, president, 3rd cousin
  • Samuel Adams, Rev War hero, 3rd cousin
  • Abigail Adams, 1st Lady, 3rd cousin
  • Nathan Hale, Rev War hero, 3rd cousin
  • Richard Henry Dana Sr, famous poet in the 19th century, 3rd cousin
  • John Quincy Adams, president, 4th cousin
  • Elbridge Gerry, VP, 4th cousin
  • Brigham Young, Mormon leader, 4th cousin
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr, famous poet in the 19th century, 4th cousin
  • John Greenleaf Whittier, famous poet in 19th century, 4th cousin
  • Richard Henry Dana Jr, famous 19th century author, 4th cousin
  • Lucretia Coffin Mott, Women's Suffrage Leader, 4th cousin
  • Roger Sherman, a Founding Father, 4th cousin
  • John Lowell, signed Articles of Confed and federal judge, 4th cousin
  • Millard Fillmore, president, 5th cousin
  • Salmon P Chase, Chief Justice, 5th cousin
  • Aaron Burr, VP, 5th cousin
  • Susan B Anthony, Women's Suffrage Leader, 5th cousin
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson, famous poet and transcendentalist, 5th cousin
  • Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick, 5th cousin
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of Scarlett Letter, 5th cousin
  • Samuel FB Morse, invented Morse code, 5th cousin
  • Elias Howe, invented modern sewing machine, 5th cousin
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, Supreme Court justice, 5th cousin
  • Clara Barton, founder of American Red Cross, 5th cousin
  • Joseph Smith Jr, Mormon founder, 5th cousin
  • Leonard Wood, general and frontrunner for 1920 GOP nom, 5th cousin
  • Francis Cabot Lowell, "founder" of the American Industrial Revolution, 5th cousin
  • Charles Francis Adams Sr, famous ambassador and VP nom, 5th cousin
  • Jane Appleton Pierce, 1st Lady, 5th cousin
  • Jonathan Edwards, famous colonial minister, husband of 3rd cousin
  • Nathaniel P Banks, Speaker and Civil War General, brother-in-law of 3rd great-granduncle

I thought MA Gov Charlie Baker was a 5th cousin, but he's a 6th cousin, so misses on my list. 

There might be others. This is all on my mom's side. My dad's side is German. There's a famous postmaster general on that side, but he has zero name recognition in the US and probably most of Germany today. He was apparently a big deal in the 19th century as a reformist in one of the many German states at the time. 

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