Monday, February 17, 2014

Are Presidents Washington and Lincoln your cousins?

Happy Birthday, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln!  When these birthdays rolled around on my calendar, I was curious enough to look up Presidents Washington and Lincoln’s roots in my copy of Ancestors of American Presidents by Gary Boyd Roberts. 

This book, Ancestors of American Presidents, lives on a shelf right next to my computer desk.  I use it often, since many presidents have early New England colonial ancestors.   I share common ancestors with nearly half of the presidents.  Gary Boyd Roberts’s sources are impeccable, and his research is much more advanced than my research.  I’m often surprised to see how many non-New England presidents connect to my family tree. 

George Washington is my 5th cousin, 8 generations removed.  His grandmother was Mildred Warner (1671 – 1791).  Our common ancestors are her great great grandparents, William Warner and Alice Hunt, who are also my 12th great grandparents.  To me this was a very cool discovery, since I never expected to be related to a Virginian president! We also share a Spencer ancestor, much further removed on the time line.

And what about Abraham Lincoln?  Everyone knows he was born in Kentucky, and ran for office while living in Illinois, so why am I looking for him in my family tree?  Well, I know his immigrant ancestor was Samuel Lincoln (abt. 1622 - 1690), an early resident of Hingham, Massachusetts.  I found this out when I noticed about a dozen Massachusetts Lincolns marrying into my family tree.  Here is a list of some of these marriages:

Enoch Howes Snelling (1816 – 1877), my 1st cousin, 5 generations removed, married Caroline Matilda Lincoln, daughter of Frederick Lincoln and Hepzibah Bouve, on 24 March 1845 in Boston.

Daniel Treadwell (1791 – 1872) my 1st cousin, 6 generations removed, married Adeline Lincoln, daughter of Levi Lincoln and Desire Thaxter, on 6 October 1831.

Samuel Lincoln (abt 1622 – 1690) the immigrant ancestor of President Lincoln, mentioned above, married my 9th great grand aunt, Martha Lyford, step sister of my 10th great grandmother, Rebecca Hobart (1611 – 1679). 

According to my Family Tree software, President Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) is the great grand nephew of the husband of my 2nd cousin 7 generations removed.  This cousin is Samuel Lincoln (1650 – 1720), who married Deborah Hersey, my 2nd cousin 7 generations removed.  Her grandfather, Edmund Hobart (1673 – 1647) Is the father of the Rebecca Hobart mentioned above.  A very distant relationship, but the software was able to figure it out!  I’m sad I don’t have a common ancestor with President Lincoln, but maybe someday I’ll find one if I go far enough back in our English origins.

For more information:

Ancestors of American Presidents, by Gary Boyd Roberts, Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009

William Addams Reitwiesner's Genealogical Services website  a great place to check for celebrity, political, and royal cousin connections.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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