Fact for August 24, 2008

Winston Churchill actually had American ancestors.  He was descended from Loyalists on his mother’s side and, oddly enough, is a distant relation of mine (he was my great-grandmother’s fourth-cousin – if you think that’s a pretty distant relation, consider that I still maintain contact with my third-cousins).

2 thoughts on “Fact for August 24, 2008

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  1. I don’t think it’s so odd… It all depends on how you look at it. There were considerably less people on this planet then.

    I’m thinking along the lines of Most Recent Common Ancestor researchers, who can mathematically demonstrate that *everyone* alive today might have a common ancestor who lived as recently as 300 AD. Stranger still, it appears possible to establish a past point in time when all people living were either ancestors of everyone alive today, or ancestors of no one alive today (John Chang, Yale).

    Based on Chang’s computations, Mark Humphrys (DCU) has concluded that everyone alive today is descended from Egyptian royalty.

    Unfortunately, I have calculated that my odds of reclaiming the Egyptian throne based on this information are pretty minuscule — while the odds that I have bedded a cousin, however distant, are seemingly inescapable. 😛

  2. True. I have heard that everyone, at least of European descent, can trace their lineage to Julius Caesar. I’m not so sure I believe that, though. There are still some pretty genetically isolated lines out there. I think there’s been more “in-breeding” (say, fourth or fifth cousin marriages) such that there are some very strong lines that didn’t mix until the 20th century. But, of course, that’s just a hunch. I think I was simply surprised that Churchill was so closely related to my family. Like I said, my kids have met and played with their fourth cousins.

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