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Last Updated: Friday, 24 September, 2004, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Presidential rivals are relatives
George W Bush and John Kerry
George W Bush and John Kerry are Essex boys a genealogist claims
An American historian claims that presidential candidates George W Bush and John Kerry are related and their families originate from Essex.

Genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts maintains that similar names crop up in both the Bush and Kerry family trees.

Their common ancestor was a minor aristocrat, Edmunde Reade, who was born and died in Wickford, near Basildon.

He claims his research reveals the two men are related from 10 generations ago when their family lived in Essex.

President Bush claims a direct lineage to a yeoman farmer called Reynold Bush who lived in Messing near Colchester.

He crossed the Atlantic to find a new life for his family in 1631.

Dynastic links

Mr Boyd Roberts, a senior research scholar in Boston, Massachusetts, traces the dynastic links through Puritan families back to the Sherman family of Dedham, Essex.

The links are forged through Kerry's mother, who was a Forbes of Winthrop, Cabot, Bowdoin, Pickering, and Dudley descent.

These names are associated with the Puritans, many from Essex, who sailed to New England in the 17th century.

Our files traced an Edward Reade, who was born in 1563, and we do know he had a daughter Elizabeth who sailed to New England
Essex Record Office

Some evidence to back the claims is furnished by the Essex Record Office.

Reade had two sons and two daughters called Elizabeth and Margaret who sailed to America in the 1630's.

They married into the powerful and influential Winthrop and Lake families into whose dynasty the Bush and Kerry families married.

A spokeswoman from the Essex Record Office said the two men could be distantly related as some of the facts appear to add up.

Exciting to link contenders

"Our files traced an Edward Reade, who was born in 1563, and we do know he had a daughter Elizabeth who sailed to New England in the 1630s and later married John Winthrop, the then Governor of Connecticut," she said.

"After that records are based in America so it makes it harder for us to comment.

"However, if the link is proved it certainly would be exciting to think two of America's highest profile men have links to the county."

She added: "It shows you never know who you might be related to - with a bit of investigation you might find you have some interesting people in your past."

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