Last year sometime I idly put one of my maternal great-great-grandfathers’ names into a Google search, just to see what turned up. What turned up was Barack Obama’s family tree.
No, we don’t share a relative that close.Â I did some figuring, though, and as it turns out, Barack Obama’s mother and I are tenth cousins, whch means my kids are Obama’s 11th cousins.Â That’s good enough for me!Â We are all descendants of Nathaniel FitzRandolph, who lived in the mid 17th century.
My branch of the FitzRandolph family scooted across the border from New Jersey to New Brunswick come the Revolution, and left behind lands on which Princeton University (and the FitzRandolph Gate) sit today.Â They were Canadian forever more, or at least until my grandmother re-crossed the border during WWII and became an American citizen, when my mother was 16.
My mother was delighted to hear about this relationship and I know she would have voted enthusiastically for Cousin Barack had she lived.Â My mother took great delight in politics and in activism and she was, for the most part, a progressive.Â Â She would have loathed Sarah Palin, you betcha.
I expect my grandmother would have felt the same way.Â I bet she’s already bustled up to Obama’s grandmother and welcomed her long-lost cousin to a happy afterlife.
My dad’s parents had many good and admirable qualities, but they were Republicans to the core and racists to boot.Â The thought of them spinning in their graves right now makes me happy.