It has been said that everyone is your cousin, if you go back far enough. That seems to be the main concept that is being emphasized by A.J. Jacobs and his Global Family Reunion. So, perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised to learn that President Barack Obama and Senator Ted Cruz are cousins.
President Barack Obama is a Democrat who was previously an Illinois Senator. Ted Cruz is a Republican who is a United States Senator from Texas and who is currently running for President. These two do not have a history of getting along very well. You might remember the time when the United States government shut down in 2014. Obama and Cruz held opposing viewpoints about that situation.
A.J. Jacobs figured out that Barack Obama and Ted Cruz are related to each other. They are cousins. It turns out that Ted Cruz is the husband of Barack Obama’s 14th cousin once removed. In other words, Heidi Suzanne Cruz is Obama’s 14th cousin, once removed.
They aren’t first cousins, of course. However, if you accept A.J. Jacob’s method of figuring out the connections between two people – then they are cousins. One can only wonder whether or not this revelation might help smooth things over between two politicians who have a history of not seeing things the same way.
This isn’t where the story ends, though. A.J. Jacobs found that President Obama has 44 cousins in the United States Senate. Many of them just so happen to be Republican. One of them is Pat Roberts, a United States Senator from Kansas. Roberts is Obama’s 13th cousin, four times removed. Jeff Flake, a Senator from Arizona, is President Obama’s 8th cousin, three times removed.
A.J. Jacobs wrote an article for The Guardian in which he lists all 44 of Barack Obama’s cousins who are in the Senate. The list includes some Senators who are Democrats, and some who are Republicans.
For example, Mark Begich, a Democrat Senator from Alaska, is Obama’s 11th cousin, once removed. Richard Durbin, a Democrat Senator from Illinois, is Obama’s 18th cousin. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat Senator from California, is Obama’s sixth cousin four time’s removed’s husband’s grandson’s ex-wife’s mother.
The list that appears in The Guardian article points out that those connections were found by researchers at Geni.com and WikiTree.com. It jokes that “we strive for accuracy (even more than the Senate itself)”.
One the one hand, it is kind of exciting to think everyone is related to everyone else. On the other hand, the definition of “cousin” that A.J. Jacobs uses may not be the same as the definition that some other genealogists use.
Image by Gage Skidmore on Flickr.
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