Genealogist: Obama, Mass. Sen.-elect Brown related

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by Glen Johnson

BOSTON (AP)—It was bad enough that President Barack Obama lost his filibuster-proof margin in the U.S. Senate to a Republican. Now it turns out he also lost it to a relative.

Genealogists said Jan. 29 that the Democratic president and the newly elected senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, are 10th cousins.

Cousins
COUSINS—This combination of two file photos shows President Barack Obama, left and Massachusetts Sen.-elect Scott Brown.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society said Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and Brown’s mother, Judith Ann Rugg, both descend from Richard Singletary of Haverhill, Mass.

He died in 1687 at the unheard-of, for the time, age of 102.

“I think it’s a really interesting thing, where you have the separation between a Democrat and a Republican, but you have one link,” said David Allen Lambert, the society genealogist who co-discovered the connection with colleague Chris Child.

Lambert said the work was aided by prior research about Obama, as well as Brown’s cooperation with the society when researchers first contacted him in December.

“I’m glad to be in such distinguished company,” Brown said of the findings.

In 2008, the society discovered that Obama is related to seven prior presidents, including George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, Harry S. Truman and James Madison. They also learned he was related to actor Brad Pitt.

Brown, once a little-known state senator, jolted the national political landscape by capturing the Senate seat held for nearly a half-century by the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy.

The genealogical chart shows that Obama descends from Richard’s eldest son, Jonathan Singletary. He later changed his surname to Dunham. Brown, meanwhile, descends from Jonathan’s brother, Nathaniel Singletary.

Also Friday, George Stephanopoulos, co-anchor of ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” learned he was likely related to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Stephanopoulos underwent DNA testing to promote “Faces of America With Henry Louis Gates Jr.,” a four-part series on family histories making its premiere Feb. 10 on PBS.

Gates told him during Friday’s “GMA” show that he’s “very likely a maternal cousin with Hillary Clinton.”

“Sorry, Secretary Clinton,” Stephanopoulos said. “I did not set this up.”

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