Bush and Kerry kin
Big Isle researchers claim
the president and his top
are distant cousins
Democratic presidential candidates are constantly being compared with
the current commander in chief. Now, two Hawaii genealogy buffs say they
have proof President Bush and the current Democratic front-runner share
similarities thicker than water.
and Kristine Harrison, publishers of historical databases, traced back
the family histories of Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry.
Bush, left, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., are also
purportedly related to Walt Disney and Marilyn Monroe.
The result? They're cousins.
Well, 16th cousins, three times removed, to be exact. But cousins,
Truth be told, one might find such distant family ties between Bush
and any of the four other major Democratic candidates.
The link between the president and the Rev. Al Sharpton might date
back a bit further, Bruce Harrison said, but tracing ancestries helps
illuminate a greater message on human interconnectedness, if not one on
the centrification of the nation's politics.
"I believe everybody on the planet is related if you go back far
enough," said Harrison, 51, whose Millisecond Publishing in Waimea on
the Big Island puts out a line of ancestral history CDs. He and his wife
have spent the last eight years compiling information from hundreds of
genealogical books and periodicals. "We're setting the stage for others
to explore their curiosity," he said.
Harrison says the search through family trees also turned up other
big-name ancestors of Kerry and Bush. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner is the
president's ninth cousin, twice removed, while Kerry can count Johnny
Appleseed as his sixth cousin, six times removed. Both the president and
the Massachusetts senator can claim ties to figures ranging from
Charlemagne to Walt Disney to Marilyn Monroe, Harrison said.
For an average user of the Family Forest software, it could be more
difficult to find such well-known links, but Harrison says he believes
everyone can find some ancestral information in the database.
As for the political adversaries' kinship, the only reunion in store
seems to be a debate, should Kerry win his party's nomination. A Bush
campaign spokeswoman said she had no comment on the issue. A message
left with Kerry's spokesman was not returned.
The Honolulu County Genealogical Society's Mary Ann Bolton said she
was not too impressed with those who troll family trees looking for
"I don't really put too much into that," she said. "That's just
Harrison said his motivation in finding the link wasn't political,
nor was it purely curiosity. Since publicizing the Bush-Kerry relation,
the number of daily visits to his Web site has more than tripled.