Please don't be mysterious when tagging direct ancestors of U.S. Presidents

+24 votes

Today I ran across a profile categorized in Category:US President Direct Ancestor, and was frustrated to find that the biography (which was longer than most Wikitree biographies) did not contain any indication of which president(s) this person was an ancestor of. Since this was a maternal line ancestor more than 5 generations away from the president, the relationship was by no means obvious. (I eventually figured it out.)

Suggestion: When you go to the trouble of editing a profile to categorize somebody as the direct ancestor of a U.S. President, please add something to the profile to identify the president.

in Policy and Style by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
It would be great if the template included a modifier that allowed one to add the profile# of the president in question.
So tell us already, Which President? :D
Vincent: It was James Garfield -- not a President I think about real often, and not one I ever had a hunch might be a moderately close relation.

Garfield turns out to be my 6th cousin 4 times removed. I believe that places him closer to me than Calvin Coolidge (8th cousin twice removed) and Grover Cleveland (8th cousin 3 times removed), but not as close as Teddy Roosevelt (5th cousin 3 times removed), Martin Van Buren (4th cousin 6 times removed), and the Bushes (closest relationship to the father is 6th cousin twice removed, and to the son it's 7th cousin once removed, but there are additional relationships that are only slightly more distant).

3 Answers

+9 votes
Best answer
The US Presidents project is using the category to help us understand which profiles we need to work to solve exactly the problem you bring up.   We are trying to make sure that all of the US President Ancestors have good profiles with good sources and clear indication of the president they are related to.   Sorry for the confusion.
by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (679k points)
selected by Ellen Smith
Is there any limitation as to how far back descendants of US Presidents can be, to have the Direct Ancestor category applied?
Hey Robin.  I have some ancestors who may be direct decendants.  The source on one of them is a book by Jeff Carter about Jimmy Carter .  But If there is only a good possible conection do we add the category .  And then I know that Warren-1125 has possible cousin connections to Carter and Obama up line through common parents according to the relationship finder.  Also a few other Presidents.  The research on all of these connections is something quite overwhelming for me how do I share these possible connections with people who have the skills and sources to connect them.  I know you know of the ones I'm actively working .                          But the truth is it is massive in scope.

We are actually only identifying the ancestors of Presidents back 4 generations.   Further down, the comment by Jack Day is why we only want to go back 4 generations.   We started this because of all the changes being made to older profiles which we removing links....this category allowed the project to "watch over" some of these profiles.
Thanks Robin.  That makes alot of sense .
+5 votes
Where's the tag on ancestors of a President?  Richard Cheney of Maryland is an ancestor of both President Barack Obama and Vice President Dick Cheney (through his maternal line --his paternal Cheneys are from New England

Wouldn't this get cumbersome after a while -- I would imagine there are distant European ancestors that are singlehandedly ancestor of a majority of US Presidents!
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (352k points)

This tagging involves placing profiles in Category:US_President_Direct_Ancestor. I ran across this for the first time yesterday, but apparently it's not new. As near as I can tell, this tagging only adds a category; it does not display a template.

Several Cheneys are in the category. So far, all of the Cheneys who are in the category lived in America for at least part of their lives. Added: The Cheneys in the category are apparently there as ancestors of William Howard Taft, who seems to be another cousin of mine (6th cousin, 4x removed).

I added the category to Cheney-405, Richard Cheney.  Cheney-405 used to be descended from a marvelous array of Cheneys in England, but I poked around too much and disproved them all!  So now Cheney-405 is waiting for someone to find a copy of his ticket across the Atlantic, and who his parents are!

I think the original concern is appropriate -- slapping the category on doesn't tell you which President the person is an ancestor of.

It also has the problem that "direct ancestor" is redundant -- what's an indirect ancestor?  I would think the category would become unwieldy and unuseful.  Perhaps a better category would be "immigrant ancestor of American President" or better still, a template in which one could fill in which President!

Yes, "direct ancestor" is redundant, but sometimes redundancy helps to avoid ambiguity.

I don't think that an "iimmigrant ancestor of American President" category would be sufficient to meet the need that Robin describes, which is a need for good profiles and good sourcing for people wanting to claim connection to a President. Because people in the U.S. are the ones most likely to want to claim relationships with a President (similar to my cousinship lstings above), it's important to validate the relationships within the country, not just the across-the-water connections.

We shouldn't neglect those "immigrant ancestor" connections, though. While visiting Northern Ireland as a tourist, I recall seeing tourist-promotion information about the ancestral homes of certain U.S. presidents. I wasn't interested in detouring to see the ancestral home of Chester A. Arthur, but those tourism promotions lead me to think that the interest in presidential ancestries extends across the ocean.

This is true Jack.  Many of them eventually end up at group of European ancestors.
+2 votes
One issue that will occur is that when there are disputed answers of a President -- Abraham Lincoln's ancestors come to mind -- the category for Presidential ancestor may be removed from one or two generations, but be left for more remote generations, thereby generating a real mystery.  Certainly if the errant ancestors had been designated as Abraham Lincoln's ancestors, then finding a stray ex-ancestor, it would be easier to decide what needs to be corrected.
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (352k points)

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