Friday, December 19, 2008

Sarah Palin's Family

Dec. 19, 2008

UPDATED: Surprising to some, but not to genealogists, Sarah Palin is related to both McCain and Obama, all of them sharing descent from several of the nation's colonial era founding families. Since most Americans with ancestors in the Colonies in the 1600's share multiple progenitors this is actually quite common. She is a 12th cousin to McCain and probably of a simular degree to Obama.

The 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate descends from founding forebears; the Capens, Chipmans, Curtises, Freemans, Gilberts, Gorhams, Lothrops, Sears, Strongs, Welles and Willard, all prominent New England families.

Palin’s Mayflower ancestors include William Brewster, John Howland, Stephen Hopkins, Joan (Hurst) Rogers, John and Elizabeth Tilley, and Richard Warren. She also descends from Thomas Prence, an early governor of Plymouth Colony.

President Bush, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin all descend from Samuel and Sarah (Soule) Hinckley. Sarah's uncle was George Soule, Mayflower passenger and signer of the Mayflower Compact. Samuel and Sarah's son, Thomas Hinckley (1618-1706), held several governmental posts in the Plymouth Colony and served as its last governor from 1681 to 1692.

Palin, Obama and McCain all claim William 1, King of Scots, as an ancestor. Her descent in this Carolingian line is via ancestor Edmond Hawes (1612-1693) of Yarmouth, MA, who held many local offices.

She also descends from Henry III of England by way of ancestor Edward Raynsford who died in 1680 in Boston. Henry III was a Plantagenet descendant of Charlemagne, his parents were King John and Isabella of Angoulême and his grandmother the indomnible and beautiful Eleanor of Aquitaine. Wife of both a French and English king and mother of two kings of England, Eleanor was without doubt the most intriguing woman of her time.

She also descends at least two ways from Empress Matilda, granddaughter of William the Conqueror and the first female ruler, although uncrowned and for a brief time, of the Kingdom of England.

One of Matilda's descendants was the Rev. John Lathrop/Lothrop, a 1605 Cambridge University graduate who was ordained an Anglican priest in England, but joined the dissenters, heading a secret congregation in London who was caught and imprisoned. He was fortunate enough to be released on the condition that he and his family immediately leave for America. He may have gotten off lucky because he came from a family with a noble background.

Quite possibly Sarah Palin has multiple Royal ancestral lines and possibly trumped the other candidates in this regard, though McCain is said to do alright himself. McCain descends two ways from Edward I, King of England, who died in 1307. These descents are through his ancestors Ann (Coddington) Fenner and Anne Hampden. Both lines are documented in The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants, by Gary Boyd Roberts (2008: Baltimore), as is Obama’s descent from Edward I.

The late Harold Brooks-Baker, who was the publisher of Burke's Peerage, posited the theory that the candidates most likely to be elected were those who had the most royal lineage in their ancestry. Sarah Palin has two separate so-called "Gateway Ancestors" who are directly descended from kings of England and Scotland. So much for this theory. But maybe the candidate has to be on top of the ticket, in which case, we shall see in 2012.

Additionally Palin has ancestors who emigrated from the East Anglia county.
According to family tree website the vice-presidential candidate's great, great, great, great, great grandfather Robert Gower was baptised in Norwich in 1723.

Gower is responsible for taking the family on the perilous journey across the Atlantic to begin a new life in America.

As well as the Norfolk connection, the governor of Alaska also has roots from across Europe, with two maternal great grandparents born in Germany - Mary Scholmtz, born in Frankfurt in 1860, and Charles Mueller, who travelled to the USA with his wife.

Sarah Palin shares ancestor John Lathrop with presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin D. Roosevelt and both Bush presidents. Lathrop descendants include Revolutionary War traitor Benedict Arnold, Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Benjamin Spock, financier John Pierpoint Morgan and the original fuller brush man, Alfred Fuller, also; Adlai Stevenson, John Foster Dulles, Thomas Dewey and one time presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

What a mixed dinner party on some astral plane, these interesting cousins could make.

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© Janet Crain

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