Bruce and Kristine Harrison, publishers of
historical databases, traced back the family
histories of Bush and Democratic Sen. John
The result? They're cousins.
Well, 16th cousins, three times removed, to
be exact. But cousins, nonetheless.
Truth be told, one might find such distant
family ties between Bush and any of the four
other major Democratic candidates.
The link between the president and the Rev.
Al Sharpton might date back a bit further, Bruce
Harrison said, but tracing ancestries helps
illuminate a greater message on human
interconnectedness, if not one on the
centrification of the nation's politics.
"I believe everybody on the planet is related
if you go back far enough," said Harrison, 51,
whose Millisecond Publishing in Waimea on the
Big Island puts out a line of ancestral history
CDs. He and his wife have spent the last eight
years compiling information from hundreds of
genealogical books and periodicals. "We're
setting the stage for others to explore their
curiosity," he said.
Harrison says the search through family trees
also turned up other big-name ancestors of Kerry
and Bush. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner is the
president's ninth cousin, twice removed, while
Kerry can count Johnny Appleseed as his sixth
cousin, six times removed. Both the president
and the Massachusetts senator can claim ties to
figures ranging from Charlemagne to Walt Disney
to Marilyn Monroe, Harrison said.
For an average user of the Family Forest
software, it could be more difficult to find
such well-known links, but Harrison says he
believes everyone can find some ancestral
information in the database.
As for the political adversaries' kinship,
the only reunion in store seems to be a debate,
should Kerry win his party's nomination. A Bush
campaign spokeswoman said she had no comment on
the issue. A message left with Kerry's spokesman
was not returned.
The Honolulu County Genealogical Society's
Mary Ann Bolton said she was not too impressed
with those who troll family trees looking for
"I don't really put too much into that," she
said. "That's just bragging rights."
Harrison said his motivation in finding the
link wasn't political, nor was it purely
curiosity. Since publicizing the Bush-Kerry
relation, the number of daily visits to his Web
site has more than tripled.