Is George Washington related to all of the other US Presidents?

+21 votes
I came across an old blog post positing that George Washington is related to all of the other US Presidents through blood or marriage:

Connecting the Presidents to George Washington would be a fun side project for both the US Presidents Project and the Global Family Reunion to work on. The GFR has already connected AJ to Abraham Lincoln and Richard Nixon, so let's get all the presidents together.
in The Tree House by Erin Breen G2G6 Pilot (223k points)
recategorized by Jillaine Smith

Here are the Presidents who are not connected to George Washington on WikiTree through a blood relationship. We need to find their connection and get it set into WikiTree! Answer in this thread once you've found the connection. Maybe their wives are related?

Martin Van Buren

James Polk

William McKinley

Theodore Roosevelt

Woodrow Wilson

Ronald Reagan

Bill Clinton


Yes, George Washington is related to all of our nation's presidents and to every dead and living being on our planet!  All living and deceased humans, regardless of race, are related to each other, it just happens that some are more closely related to each other than to others.  We can all trace our genetic ancestry to Africa, to Y-chromosome Adam and to Mitochondrial Eve.  In short, we are all related!
Aw man - when I saw James Garfield, I thought that meant that I might be more closely related to George Washington as well, as I am 4th cousins with James Garfield through a common ancestor that I have actually studied.  But alas, Garfield is related to Washington through his father's side.  I am related to Garfield through Garfield's mother's side.

LOL - I am still 12th cousins, 7 times removed with George Washington, but that isn't as fun, as our common ancestor died in 1383.
An easy to use wikitree widget (I mean vieable in our normal profiles) which would allow you to create a section called related to famous people would be pretty cool.  You click on it and you see the connections.

Ray Jones is a 12th cousin of George Washingon.  Clear here to see how. :)

Many of the presidents, especially those with Irish or Dutch roots, may be difficult to trace back very far and relate to the ones with mostly English roots. with the comment:

There are many Presidents (not 1) who do not have traceable royal descent. In order: J. Adams, Monroe, Jackson, Van Buren, Tyler, Polk, Fillmore, A. Johnson, Garfield, Arthur, McKinley, Wilson, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton. Also, the following Presidents do not go back to King John, but rather to 1 of his ancestors through an illegitimate lineage: Pierce, Buchanan, Hayes, Harding, Truman, Nixon and Carter. See G. B. Roberts, Ancestors of American Presidents (Boston: NEHGS, 2009; rev. 2012); D. Richardson, Magna Carta Ancestry, 4 vols. (Utah: 2011); and see the upcoming volume: A. Bannerman and P. Wasilik, Ancestors of American First Ladies (due for release in 2013). These volumes are fully documented through proper resources.

My belief is that this type research is one of the key differentiators of WikiTree vs. other historical sites.  We focus on the Genealogy of the presidents and aren't trying to rewrite historical accomplishments or politics.  People naturallyw ant to see their connections to famous people (if any).

Let's keep this research going.


If FDR is related, how is TR not related?
TR and FDR were related via a shared ancestor on the Roosevelt line. Presumably, Washington's relation to FDR was on some other ancestral line that he didn't share with TR.

Someone must be working on James K Polk.  A relationship to George Washington has been found.

US Presidential Relationships to George Washington

9 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer

Yes, George Washington is related to all of our nation's presidents and to every dead and living being on our planet!  All living and deceased humans, regardless of race, are related to each other, it just happens that some are more closely related to each other than to others.  We can all trace our genetic ancestry to Africa, to Y-chromosome Adam and to Mitochondrial Eve.  In short, we are all related!

by Enrique Treat Gleason Aguiluz G2G4 (4.8k points)
selected by Renee Malloy
I understand/agree that "we are all related," but the paper trails that we follow to the relatives to whom we are closely-related are such enjoyable and interesting pursuits.
I am soooooo glad that you understand/agree that "we are all related" because I was a little worried that you were going to tell me that we're not all related because Biblical Adam and Eve were both of the same race and that they only go back six thousand years in time!
LOL!  One of the great things about Wikitree is that there does not appear to be a dominant political or religious ideology among our participants.  Instead, people tend to be passionate about issues pertaining to genealogy (like sources).

While I am sure that there are people on here with all kinds of different beliefs about the origin of mankind, I can honestly say that no dominant creed has been pushed on me during my entire time on the site (going on 3 years).  I would expect that we have both agnostics and people who believe in a strict interpretation of the Old Testament interacting constructively on a regular basis.....
I should have said "documentably related within recent, written history" ;)
Thanks for taking the time to clarify your initial question!  If I can be of any help, please let me know.  Last time I checked, I was related to almost every President either through my father or through my mother and, at times, through both of them.  Perhaps I should make a list of my relationships to every U.S. President and add it to my profile.  My assumption is that if I am related to all, including Martin Van Buren and all the others on your list that are not connected to George Washington, then George Washington must also be related to all the others.
I agree with the tack you're taking Enrique, certainly we're all related and now that we have DNA analysis, we're going to come closer and closer to being able to determine precisely how closely related we are to each other.

As I thought about my take on this, I came up with this analogy: Think of the human family as not a tree branching out from one pair of individuals but as an intertwining set of vines.  Whether that starter population of homo sapiens was one pair or one small set of related family members doesn't really matter.  It's a virtual certainty that the original population had to be small - less than 150 members, and given the sociology of primate groups, it's likely those 150 or less were already strongly related to each other.  In any case, within a couple of generations, a small population like that will necessarily cross over upon itself with all members marrying their own 1st and 2nd cousins (if not siblings), so any notion of Adam and Eve-like "original" ancestors will get lost in the intertwining vines.

As the group expands with success, that intertwining doesn't stop.  Every generation is a product of the one that came before it.  The vines go from past to present to future, but they remain intertwined.  As populations move and isolate themselves, they become less related to the populations they're isolated from, but wherever there is interchange between populations, those vines connect us.

The Early American colonies served to again focus those vines on a smaller group of people, so it's far more likely that anyone with an ancestor in that group is related to anyone else with an ancestor in that group.  Our ancestors also kept fairly decent records and made sure that some of them made their way down to us in present day, so we can document those intertwining vines for ourselves today.  Lucky us!
Hi Kyle, thanks for your thoughtful comment!  Please do not get me wrong, my tack on  my original answer was not to attack genealogy (I wouldn't be a WikiTree participant if I had been doing so).  Instead, the purpose of my answer was to simply to enlighten the general public on the subject of DNA and how all humans on our planet are related to one another.  And as I've stated before, it just happens that some of us are more closely related to one another than to others, and, it is precisely this reason why genealogy is important -- it is important for all of us to be able to recognize an trace our roots and relationships to one another.  And yes, you did a very nice job by introducing the anologies you pointed out.  But more important, you did a very nice job in pointing out how fortunate we are to be able to record and connect our relationships to one another -- yes, we represent a very small percentage of the world's population and yes, lucky us!
Spreaking of the Old Testament, I wish there was a wiki somewhere that focused on the genealogy of the Old Testament. It would make reading the Bible easier. Wikitree might not be the place for it, but if someone knows of a site like this that sorts out all those old Hebrew names and families in profiles and family group sheets, it would be fasciniating to read.


Don't consider these links as endorsements, because I just looked at each one for a minute or two, but these sites appear to have something like what you're talking about:
Me too. I am related to all of the US Presidents either through my paternal grandfather or my paternal grandmother and sometimes I am related through different common ancestors that are themselves only distantly related..
+8 votes

A few of the Presidents not connected by blood connections to George Washington are connected by marriage through their wives:

Woodrow Wilson's wife, Edith Bolling Wilson, is George Washington's 11th cousin 6 times removed. (She is also a descendant of Pocahontas, so now everyone connected to the Global Family Reunion is connected to Pocahontas as well!)

Woodrow's other wife, Ellen Axson Wilson, is George Washington's 14th cousin 4 times removed.

Ronald Regan's wife Nancy Robbins Davis Reagan is George Washington's 12th cousin 5 times removed through her mother, Edith Luckett Davis

Still searching for connections to Martin Van BurenJames PolkTheodore Roosevelt and Bill Clinton.

by Erin Breen G2G6 Pilot (223k points)
Erin, do you think that Hillary is possible relation?
+6 votes

The work of BridgeAnne D´Avignon who, with her Genealogist Grandfather (who specializes in the US Presidential Lineages, the past 60 years.) who connected all the rest of the to date (2010) unknown Presidential relations... through, their never before thoroughly researched- MATERNAL branches. *There´s some things on google about her, if you just give in "the Presidents are all related" and her name... I have had the luck to be in direct email contact with her now, for over a year.

by Renée Walker G2G Crew (470 points)
+6 votes

Not to make fun of a serious matter, but President George Washington was called the Father of our country.   cool

by Mary H. G2G6 Mach 7 (78.4k points)
I'm glad Erin posted this. I just found 18 cousins 19 if I count Woodrow Wilson's wife. Is there an easy way to find out if Hugh Cotton , John Dunham, and John the Immigrant Carter are related. Or Which anscestor is the common ancestor of all these presidents.
+5 votes
All the US presidents with the exception of Van Buren are related via John Lackland to each other.
by Matt Pryber G2G6 Mach 4 (48.4k points)
Thank you Matt.
+4 votes
could you quote how A.J. is related to President Lincoln with documented sources? Thanks.
by Mary H. G2G6 Mach 7 (78.4k points)
AJ is not related, but connected six-degrees-of-separation-style through various marriages and blood relationships:

I can vouch for the connections/steps from William Crowley to AJ (that is my research, and each profile has sources cited). Kyle Dane and Lianne Lavoie worked on creating the other connections, and verifying the profiles that were already in WikiTree.
ok, now don't take me wrong.  He is only related to President Lincoln by association in connection to his father and not by descendency.  I would like to see a direct lineage and that lineage would come through Robert.  He is only using his descendency based on association and not a direct line.  He is not related to President Lincoln based on what you have told me.  That is how I see things,,,,
I don't think he is related, either. That's why I used the Global Family Reunion jargon of "connected." (I think AJ's use of "related" can be misleading once we get away from him by many degrees. Like, I consider my aunt's husband related to me by marriage, but a cousin's wife's sister's husband is someone I probably don't know. It's still interesting to find connections like that over time and geography though!)

again, I agree with you.  indecision  I too have found many cousins that way too, but through time and distance, we are no longer related. In essence we are associated with the same originator, but through time,that line becomes thinner.  I think that is where DNA would come in handy.  Through DNA there would be no denying where your line connects too. Mary

+6 votes
I just thought of something else.  President Washington had no children.  He did adopt the children of his wife though.  There is no way he could be an ancestor to the Presidents listed.
by Mary H. G2G6 Mach 7 (78.4k points)
That's right! All of the connections are cousin connections.

thank you, Erin .  There's a difference though being related by being a cousin and not directly related.  indecision

I never said that they were directly related (I specified through blood or marriage), and did say that the connections we already have on WikiTree need to be checked.

It's also fun to bring attention to grandiose statements like this, so that those with an interest in the topic can get together to discuss how to best use research to dig up the truth.

which is why genealogy is interesting and which eventually leads to the truth.  smiley

Agreed! And if just one person clicks through on one of the links to check the steps between Washington and another president, and adds or verifies sources (or debunks false sources) that's what makes crowdsourcing genealogy great.
+6 votes

Hi All,

I created a free space for Presidential Relationships to George Washington.  I only calculated direct relationships.  I see that it differs from Erin list so double check me and we can update the page.  

US Presidential Relationships to George Washington

I wonder if we could create a calculator for anyone?  I used the page I created for myself as a basis, with some modifications.  I copied all the coding and did a search and replace on Stills-18 with Washington-11.  You could do the same for you profile.  However you will need to replace the text that states the relationships as they will be different for you.

by Michael Stills G2G6 Pilot (390k points)
An observation. My list differs from Erin's. Erin's Links are the same as mine so something in the trees must have changed between her posting and mine. Either Changes to the order of relationships or additions to the Presidential Trees.
John Schmeekle has been working with people who have Colonial American trees that have possibly falsified connections to European aristocracy and royalty. They've been disconnecting a lot of misleading, speculative, or downright fake genealogies! This is probably the biggest reason for the change in between my posting and yours.
Yay John!
the space page would be more useful if it needed input in the form of, eg a Still-1 which input bounced through to populate 44 other cells before doing 44 lookups.
+2 votes
by Michael Stills G2G6 Pilot (390k points)
Oops apparently I answered this awhile back too?  It's happening. Apparently I am getting old too! I'ts all too apparent!
I do want to caution everyone, if you go out to, they have all of the presidents connected to Geroge Washington.   In MANY cases they have unproven or disproven relationships in their tree.   In the cases of the presidents which we have been unable to connect to date, I tried to validate the connection I found in and in all cases, there were disproven relationships that made the connect.   So, we will continue to work to find a connection with sources!

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