Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are cousins! So are Obama and Dick Cheney, Obama and Brad Pitt, and Obama and Rush Limbaugh! Wow. What are the odds? “Oh,” Smolenyak writes, “about 100 percent.” The most surprising thing about this lively book by a noted genealogist is that some things we think are surprising really aren’t. Technically speaking, we’re all related, if you go back far enough, but even starting from a mere 10 generations ago, you’ll find more than 1,000 direct ancestors have been generated, making unexpected kinships, well, expected. Geography plays a big role, too. Hillary Clinton is related to Celine Dion and Shania Twain, for example, because one of the branches of her family is French Canadian. By relating some of her more famous and intriguing genealogical investigations—the Obama–Brad Pitt connection, the history of a family Bible, Obama’s much-publicized Irish roots—Smolenyak shows readers just how exciting, shocking, and heartwarming the field of genealogy can be, and he busts a few fondly held myths about the work genealogists do. --David Pitt
About the Author
is an incurable genealogist who loves solving mysteries, making unexpected discoveries, and pushing the boundaries of conventional genealogy.
A popular writer, speaker, and TV guest, she does all she can to get the g-word out there and inspire others in their quest for roots. She has appeared on Good Morning America,
show, CNN, NPR, and the BBC, and consulted on shows ranging from Who Do You Think You Are? to Top Chef.
Megan is the author of six books (including Who Do You Think You Are? The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History,
companion guide to the NBC series), a Huffington Post contributor, and former chief family historian and spokesperson for Ancestry.com. She lives in southern New Jersey with her husband and lots of research tools.