Why No-Relationship searching Mayflower ancestors directly, but success in two steps, using a President ancestor?

+1 vote
in WikiTree Help by Ron Campbell G2G6 (6.1k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
A number of US Presidents have Mayflower ancestors.
Which Mayflower ancestor did you see a relationship to? And what presidential relationship led you to that?

Thanks Ellen, for your answer in response to my question about searching relationships with Relationship Finder for Mayflower passengers.

Most of my relationship searches on WikiTree work great.  I'm related to all 15 of the Magna Carta Sureties and 36 of the US Presidents.  Incidentally, we are 11th cousins, both you and I are descendants of Edward Marvin."  Most of my WikiTree relationships are not direct blood lineage relationships.

However, I strike out on WikiTree relationship finder with all the Mayflower passengers, even though I have high confidence in relationships with Richard Warren, Francis Cooke and John Alden.

Curiously, when I did relationship searches from two of my related US Presidents back to Warren, Cooke and Alden; the relationship was confirmed.

My question was how can a President be related to a Mayflower passenger and me, but WikiTree can't verify my relationship to the Mayflower passenger?  It doesn't seem logical. 

Thanks Again,     Ron J. Campbell (Campbell-25710) 

I can't answer for sure, but I can offer you a couple of theories:

  1. Some of the ancestors (or cousins) that connect you with these people may not be on WikiTree yet.
  2. Maybe there's a genealogical dispute that has resulted in some of your high-confidence relationships being rejected by other members.
  3. Being related to person A who is related to person B does not make you a blood relative of person B, because A's relationship to B might be on a family line that you don't share with A. (Maybe A's relationship to you is on his mother's side and his relationship to B is on his father's side.) You didn't say what Presidents you are looking at, so I guessed at Calvin Coolidge (who I know to be a Mayflower descendant). I looked at your Relationship Finder results for John Alden (no relationship, even at 30 generations) and Calvin Coolidge (9th cousins three times removed; nearest common ancestor is Wolstone Childe), as well as Coolidge's relation to John Alden ("John is the 7th great grandfather of Calvin"). Coolidge's relationship to you is on his father's side, and his relationship to Alden is on his mother's side.

Hi Smith-62120,

I agree with your theories.  The thing I find disappointing is my inability to connect to my expected Mayflower ancestors on WikiTree Relationship Finder through marriage, as cousins or direct blood lineage, when it's so easy with Presidents and Magna Carta Sureties.

For example, of the 15 Magna Carta Sureties, 12 are my grandfathers, one is an uncle and two are cousins, but all are blood ancestors.  Of my 36 Presidential relationships, all are cousins.

looking at one example:  John Alden (Alden-63) is the third great grandfather of John Quincy Adams (Adams-12), as follows:  

1. John Quincy is the son of John Adams 
2. John is the son of John Adams,                                                                          3. John is the son of Hannah (Bass) Adams,  
4. Hannah is the daughter of Ruth (Alden) Bass,                                                     5. Ruth is the daughter of John Alden.                                       

So then, John Quincy Adams and Ron Campbell are both descendants of George Downing, 6th cousins, 6x removed. Again, the relationship is sons and daughters in direct lineage.

When I use Relationship Finder's 30 generation search between George Downing (Downing-244)  and John Adams (Adams-63), I get "We could not find a blood relationship between John Alden and George Downing."  The same response, "...could not find a blood relationship between..." me and John Adams is displayed by Relationship Finder.

Wouldn't the Mayflower passenger, John Alden and I and George Downing be at least cousins by marriage?  So do you think that maybe that's what's happening; I'm related to a few Mayflower passengers by marriage, as cousins, but not blood, and WikiTree's Relationship Finder is tracking blood only relationships?  That may suggest that my published family genealogy is still possibly accurate in it's ancestor (cousin) connections.


Relationship Finder looks only at relationships by blood. It does not consider relationships by marriage.

Taking this closer to the starting person, suppose my cousin "Jane" is the daughter of my mother's brother "Jim" and his wife "Mary." Jane and I share one set of grandparents (the parents of my mother and "Jim") and she has a second set of grandparents (the parents of "Mary"). Mary's parents are Jane's blood relatives, but they aren't my blood relatives -- and Relationship Finder won't find a relationship between them and me.

WikiTree's Connection Finder does look at relationships by marriage, but Relationship Finder does not.
Yup, that's what's happening.  Thanks for your help and expertise.  I'm still disappointed, but at least I know I'm not doing something wrong, the system is functioning and my family genealogy could still be accurate.  Many people like me don't have blood relationships to cousins, but they're still family.

I hope that I could be of some small help to you someday, after I have more experience with WikiTree.

Thanks again,

     Ron Campbell

1 Answer

+2 votes

Presidential Genealogy and Family History - PresidentsUSA.net


Genealogy and family history, ancestors and descendants of the U.S. Presidents, including those withMayflower ancestry.

Famous Descendants — MayflowerHistory.com


President Franklin D. Roosevelt → Sara Delano → Warren Delano → Warren Delano → Ephraim Delano → Thomas Delano → Mercy Warren → Nathaniel Warren → RICHARD WARREN. Franklin D. Roosevelt → Sara Delano → Warren Delano → Warren Delano → Elizabeth Cushman → James Cushman → Eleazer ...

Notable Descendants - The Mayflower Society


John Quincy Adams (1767-1848): 6th President of the United StatesDescendant of Pilgrims John Alden and William Mullins. George Herbert Walker Bush (1924- ): 41st President of the United States.Descendant of Pilgrims John Howland, Francis Cooke and John Tilley.

by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.2m points)

11 Famous Mayflower Descendants | Mental Floss


1. John Adams (and John Quincy Adams) The second President of the United States (and his son, the sixth president) was descended on his mother's side from Mayflower crewman John Alden.

Tracing Lineage of American Presidents - latimes


Jul 6, 1989 - The genealogies of American Presidents are fascinating as much of America's social history is reflected in the ancestry of our Presidents. While many of them ... Presidents Bush, Ford, Nixon, Franklin Roosevelt, Garfield, Grant, Taylor and two Adamses all have Mayflower ancestors. The Adamses were ...

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