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Am I related to someone famous?

Many people are curious about whether they share their family tree with any famous people. There is a free tool you can use to find out if you are related to kings or other European royalty, U.S. Presidents, Mayflower passengers, famous Americans, and more.

We're sorry, but the Relationship Finder is currently out of service. Please check back for updates.

Steps:

1. Open the free Relationship Finder found at http://roots.cs.byu.edu/digroots/.

2. Select option 1: "I want to see how I am related to notable historic individuals."

3. Enter the Ancestral File number of someone who is your direct ancestor.

4. To find Ancestral File numbers, go to FamilySearch.org and enter your parents', grandparents', or great-grandparents' names into the main search area on the home page (you may need to narrow the search down by including a birth year or place). If you get a match under the section "Ancestral File," click on that match. You will then see "(AFN:-----)" next to the person's name. The numbers or letters after "AFN" are the Ancestral File number. You will be more successful if you search for someone who died before about 1980, especially if he or she was a member of the LDS Church.

5. After entering the Ancestral File number into the Relationship Finder, click "Finished" and then select which groups you would like the database to check for. You can select all or choose from U.S. Presidents and leaders, kings and queens, Pioneers and travelers, LDS leaders, historic LDS, and famous people. The advanced search option allows you to specifically look for groups such as famous Americans, famous Europeans, famous writers, members of the Martin or Willie handcart companies, military explorers, Prophets, Reformers, signers of the Declaration of Independence, European royalty, famous English persons, LDS hymn writers, Mayflower passengers, and U.S. Presidents.

6. Click "Request Report." Enjoy!

Note that this tool uses the Ancestral File to determine how you are related to famous people. There are many known problems with the accuracy of the family trees in this database, so it's always best to verify this information with original records.

If you were unsuccessful in finding an Ancestral File number for any of your relatives, you may be able to find related famous ancestors through compiled genealogies (family trees others have already researched). You can learn more about finding compiled genealogies here.

You may also be interested in reading the following article by Dick Eastman (prominent figure in genealogy circles):

You Are Probably Descended from Charlemagne and Other Royalty

If you are of European descent, you are probably a descendant of Charlemagne. Once you are able to prove your line of descent from him, you will then find thousands of links to other royalty in your list of relatives.

Charlemagne had twenty children over the course of his life with eight of his ten known wives or concubines. Genealogists have shown that fourteen presidents of the United States, including George Washington, Ulysses Grant, Franklin and Teddy Roosevelt, and the Bushes are all descendants of the King of France who lived from 2 April 742 AD to 28 January 814 AD.

It is rare indeed that the genealogy of a person of European descent, when traceable, doesn’t hit nobility somewhere. And once it hits one European noble, whether you like it or not, nearly the whole tribe joins your family. Those folks got around.

The reason is simple. First, make a guess how many ancestors you have. It may be a larger number than you thought. Obviously, you have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grandparents and so on in a geometric progression. Moving backwards, each generation introduces double the number of ancestors of the previous generation.

What is not so obvious is the size of the numbers when you go back twenty or thirty or forty generations:

20 generations: more than one million ancestors
30 generations: more than one billion ancestors
40 generations: more than one trillion ancestors!

Of course, those numbers assume there are no duplicates in your entire family tree. One problem: there are always duplicates. Next, one trillion is a much larger number than the total number of people who have ever lived.

Whatever the real number of your ancestors, you are descended from a huge number of people. Within these billions of ancestors, you will always find royalty, assuming you are able to trace back that far. It would be impossible to have a billion or a trillion ancestors without some royalty appearing someplace in your family tree.

Professional genealogists tell us that Charlemagne appears in almost every European descendant's family tree. Your challenge is to go out and document your line(s) of descent.

Click here to read Eastman's original article.


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Since genealogy resources are constantly improving these articles could be out of date.
Legacy Tree is headquartered near the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, the largest genealogical library in the world. We also order records through agents all over the globe.