I may be related to Mitt Romney

Reading recently a post from Ancestry.com, I noticed that Mitt and the presidents Bush are related distantly (10th cousins, once and twice removed respectively). And, as it happens, I am probably related to the Bushes. Their family and my family trace their lineage back to a small town in Nottinghamshire, Southern England, called “Gotham.” The town was famous in the 1500s for scaring away tax collectors by feigning madness. True story. Every time King John’s army would come through to collect a levy on a new road or royal palace, the men of the town would do something like take all their clothes off and paint their bodies and run naked, screaming in the streets. That terrified the collectors, who believed that madness was contagious, and they would move on to the next town. A series of chapbooks regaling these stories, called “The Wise Men of Gotham,” has become famous. Washington Irving gave the name “Gotham” to New York City in  Salmagundi in 1804 (aptly named, some would say). And DC Comics gave the name to Batman’s home town in the 1930s so people would think of a town full of crazy people but he didn’t actually have to say the words “New York City.”
The reason I’m not certain that I and the Bushes are directly related is that their family was in the aristocracy and mine were peasants. The two groups frequently slept together and produced offspring, but it was seldom, if ever listed in the genealogy books. There are other descendants from my clan who I know I’m related to (Bill Clinton, for one), but records of marriages above and below the salt are few and far between.

However, assuming that there was the usual amount of hanky panky going on in any authoritarian, stratified society, it is entirely possible that we are cousins. In fact, if I remember the genealogy correctly and do the math right, I am about a seventeenth cousin twice removed from the Bush family, and therefore about a twenty-seventh cousin, fourth removed (more or less) from the Romneys.

And, frankly, I think there are a lot of family resemblances. I’m sure that I inherited George W. Bush’s drinking skills, Mitt’s public speaking, and Bill Clinton's fidelity. We are definitely all from the same family.

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