Related Presidents?

Which presidents were related?

John Quincy Adams was the first son born to an American president and he became president himself.  He was number six, while his father, John Adams, was our second president.

James Madison, our fourth president, and Zachary Taylor, our twelfth president, were second cousins.

William Henry Harrison was our ninth president, while his grandson Benjamin Harrison became our twenty-third president.  Benjamin so resented the public interest in the relationship that he declared to his campaign staff “From now on I am the grandson of no one.”

Theodore Roosevelt, our twenty-sixth president, was a fifth cousin to Franklin Delano Roosevelt who became our thirty-second president.

But it can be much more complicated than that.  For example, if distant cousins count, genealogists can connect most of the American presidents to each other.  And some only need second or third cousins to make multiple connections.  It is accepted that Franklin Roosevelt had some close relationship with eleven American presidents, five from his own family and six from his wife, Eleanor.

FDR and his wife can trace a close connection to George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Zachary Taylor, Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft.

George W. Bush, our forty third president, is the son of George Herbert Walker Bush our forty first president.  Barbara Bush, the wife of the forty first president was formerly Barbara Pierce and a direct descendent of president Franklin Pierce.

But again, the trail gets complicated. According to genealogist, Gary Boyd Roberts, (See The Bushes by Peter and Rochelle Schweizer) the family is related to an amazing fifteen American presidents.  George Washington, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Grove Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

In fact, like or not – and the Bushes clearly don’t like it – if ever there was such a thing as a “royal American family” it would be the Bushes, not the Kennedy’s who are only a few generations away from poverty in Ireland.  George W. and Jeb Bush are the only sons of presidents to be elected governors of states.  And the Bushes, like a number of other American presidents, can trace their lineage back to King Edward I of England.

While the Bushes, much like the Adams in their day, have become unpopular for the time being, the saga is not over.  Public opinion is fickle and there are talented Bush family members ready to pick up the reins.  During the Civil War, an Adams from yet another generation took on the problematical job as Ambassador to the Court of St. James and kept the British out of the war.  Contemporary historians called him the most valuable general in the Union Army.

You Tube: Comparing the Adams and Bushes


Published by Doug Wead

Doug Wead is a New York Times bestselling author whose latest book, Game of Thorns, is about the Trump-Clinton 2016 election. He served as an adviser to two American presidents and was a special assistant to the president in the George H.W. Bush White House.

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