17 Historical Figures You Didn’t Know Were Connected In Bizarre Ways

Published January 14, 2018

Though it may seem like these people have nothing in common, here are a few famous figures you had no idea were related to each other.

Hanks Lincoln Og

Wikimedia CommonsTom Hanks and Abraham Lincoln, two individuals who have more in common than just being awesome.

Occasionally, people surprise you. Take these historical figures for example.

Though some of them seem like they could never be more different, it may surprise you that former President Bush and former President Obama have something in common. And, it may surprise you, that a famous actress and an Italian dictator have a lot in common — certain family members, for instance.

Even more surprising? According to a certain dictator, World War I could have (probably, maybe) been prevented if Queen Victoria had been alive.

Intrigued? We thought so. Take a look at these historical figures you had no idea where related.

1. George W. Bush And Hugh Hefner

George W. Bush and Hugh Hefner

Wikimedia CommonsGeorge W. Bush and Hugh Hefner

It may seem hard to believe that the straightlaced, church-going Republican former president and the original playboy have anything in common, but in fact, the two are distantly related. The two are ninth-cousins twice removed on Bush’s mother’s side, through their mutual ancestor Thomas Hinkley. Through the same line of lineage, both men are also related to Bush’s former rival and one-time Democratic candidate, John Kerry.

2. Winston Churchill, Barack Obama, And Six Other U.S. Presidents

Winston Churchill and Barack Obama

Winston Churchill and Barack Obama

According to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, former President Barack Obama is distantly related to the infamous wartime British Prime Minister. Through their mutual ancestor by marriage, Churchill and Obama are ninth cousins. In addition, Obama is related to six other former presidents, including both Bush Sr. & Jr., Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman and James Madison.

3. Princess Diana And Sarah Palin

Princess Diana of Whales and Sarah Palin

Princess Diana of Whales and Sarah Palin

The glamorous and beloved Princess of Wales and the one-time vice presidential candidate who could see Russia from her house are distantly related it turns out. Sarah Palin and Princess Di are in fact 10th cousins, according to genealogists.

4. Tsar Nicholas II, Kaiser Wilhelm II, And King George V

Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, and King George V of England

Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, and King George V of England

In case the uncanny resemblance between them (especially between Nicholas and George) didn’t already give it away, you may be surprised to know that Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and King George V of England are all cousins. In fact, they are all first cousins, related through their shared grandmother, Queen Victoria. Despite the fact that they grew up together, however, their family relationships weren’t strong enough to stop World War I from occurring. Though the Kaiser insists that had Victoria still been alive, she never would have allowed it.

5. Abraham Lincoln And Tom Hanks

Abraham Lincoln and Tom Hanks

Abraham Lincoln and Tom Hanks

Woody the Cowboy just got a little cooler. It turns out that Tom Hanks is actually a pretty close relative of President Abe Lincoln. Through Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks, Forrest Gump is Honest Abe’s third cousin, four times removed.

6. Elizabeth Taylor And Art Garfunkle

Elizabeth Taylor and Art Garfunkel

Elizabeth Taylor and Art Garfunkel

Though they aren’t *technically* related, Elizabeth Taylor and Art Garfunkle are connected through (multiple) marriages. Liz Taylor was once married to Eddie Fisher, father of Carrie Fisher, who was once married to Paul Simon, who sang with Art Garfunkle, in the duo Simon & Garfunkle.

7. Mark Twain And Helen Keller

Mark Twain and Helen Keller

Wikimedia CommonsMark Twain and Helen Keller

When he wasn’t writing some of the most famous novels of all time, Mark Twain was mentoring another young, influential person — Helen Keller. According to Keller, after they met at a luncheon to celebrate the Mark Twain Library, Twain took an interest in the young woman and ended up helping her financially and educationally. They remained close through the end of his life.

8. Sophia Loren And Benito Mussolini

Sophia Loren and Benito Mussolini

Sophia Loren and Benito Mussolini

Like Elizabeth Taylor and Art Garfunkle, Sophia Loren and Benito Mussolini are only related through other people’s marriages. Sophia’s sister, Maria Scicolone, married Mussolini’s son, Romano Mussolini, making Sophia and Benito in-laws.


Next, check out the living descendants of these historical figures. Then, read the last words of some of history’s greatest.

Katie Serena
Katie Serena is a New York City-based writer and a staff writer at All That Is Interesting.
Close Pop-in
Like History Uncovered On Facebook

Get The Most Interesting Stories From History In Your Feed