Friday, July 3, 2015

How Many Signers of the Declaration of Independence Am I Related To?

With the Fourth of July upon us, I recalled that the BYU Relative Finder ( would crawl through the FamilySearch Family Tree and tell me the answer to my question.

On the Relative Finder page, after signing into FamilySearch, one of the Public Groups I could select was "Declaration Signers:"

The program quickly gave me 30 signers of the Declaration of Independence who are my relatives, according to the information in the FamilySearch Family Tree.  The signers with the closest relationship to me include;

*  Robert Treat Paine is my 1st cousin 8 times removed
*  William Williams is my 3rd cousin 6 times removed
*  John Hart is my 2nd cousin 9 times removed
*  (Pres.) John Adams is my 3rd cousin 8 times removed
*  Jeremiah Clark is my 3rd cousin 8 times removed
*  Stephen Hopkins is my 4th cousin 7 times removed
*  William Ellery is my 3rd cousin 9 times removed
*  John Hancock is my 5th cousin 6 times removed
*  Samuel Adams is my 4th cousin 8 times removed
*  Josiah Bartlett is my 5th cousin 7 times removed.

I clicked on my closest relative, Robert Treat Paine, and saw the summary listing out common ancestor as Samuel Treat.  There are several links at the bottom of the screen:

 I clicked on the "View Relationship Chart" and saw the line from our common ancestor to my famous cousin Robert (on the left) and myself (on the right) (note that I didn't show the remainder of my line):

On the summary page, there was a link to "View all Common Ancestors."  I clicked that and saw a list of common ancestors that I share with Robert Treat Paine:

As always with these collaborative family trees, the relationships are only as good as the information in the tree - both in my line and in the cousin's line.  In this case, I think the chart above is correct.  I looked at several others and noted what I consider obvious problems back in the 1550-1700 time frame where there are apparent errors which need to be corrected.  I'll add them to my long list of things to do in the Family Tree.

he URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at


Anna Matthews said...

Very interesting, I think I had heard of Relative Finder but not sure, nice to see it in action.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

Your relationship to Robert Treat Paine is similar to my relationship to Benjamin Franklin, another signer. Ben is my 1st cousin 8 generations removed. His mother and my 8th great grandmother were sisters.