Friday, January 13, 2017

We're Related App

It's winter and that means that I can spend time doing family history research. So this week I was check out some of the various blogs that I like to read. My mother's side of our family comes from Canada and I have found a number of Canadian cousins. Lorine McGinnis Schulze is one of my cousin's and she has a blog called She had an interesting tidbit this week on an app for your phone. The app is called “We're Related “. So I decided to download it.

You need to have a Family Tree file loaded on My Tree file on the website is not the most updated version but I have one out there that will work for testing the app. So you download the free app and it installs on your phone. You open the app and tell the app which Family Tree to look at and select "you" from within your Tree File. That was where the difficulty arose. For all the “living” people in my tree I have their names privatized...they show up as Living Smith or Living Anderson. Well there is quite a number of us, thankfully, so the first Living Smith I selected was not me... The first Living Smith was a Smith down the Ashley Smith Line...which is related to us but not what I was looking for.

It was still interesting because that line of our Smith's is related to Brad Pitt, Brad Paisley, and another bunch of remarkable people who have now slipped my mind. Once the app sends you information about who you are related to, you select the person and look at the connection. As I looked at the people listed as related, it became obvious that they were related to the Ashley line thru his maternal family. So once that was identified, I knew I had the wrong Smith.
So all week I have been playing with this app try to find out which Living Smith I was in my tree. I was looking for the correct birth order...4 female Smiths and two males Smith's but Ancestry doesn't seem to present them in that way. It is also alphabetized based on first name not last...So all the Living people (privatized) are listed under L and alphabetized from there! Needless to say it took me a few days sort it out.

Last evening, I figured it out. ( So right here, I have to tell you something..this is not meant to be a political post. It is meant to be an observation.) Well, to my surprise the first person who came up was Donald Trump. I was shocked. “Really Donald Trump, how could that be? “ I thought “there must be a mistake! Not Donald Trump”. The app states clearly that he could be a 9th cousin 2X removed.

As I scrolled down the very next person in the list is Barack Obama. “What? …. how could that be?” “Now I know there must be something wrong here. “ The app states that he is likely a 9th cousin 2X removed.

The next one to come up was Miley Cyrus! “WHO? I am not related to Miley?” I thought...” "Oh, I can not believe this.” The app states that Miley is likely a 9th cousin 2X removed.

Next to come up was Marilyn Monroe...”What, the Blonde Bombshell, Marliyn?” The app says that she is also a 9th cousin 2X removed.

And last but not least, Meghan Trainor. She is a 9th cousin 1X removed.

So I selected Donald Trump to see how this could possibly be. The App says that we share a common relative, named Hans Kuhn (1623-1693)...Hummm, really. This is not a familiar name from my tree. It states that for my line it goes 11 generations back. First it showed me, then my Mother, Leah Smith => Addie Densmore=>Mary Morgan Hainer=>Robert Wesley Hainer=>Henry Hainer=>Catherine Vollick=>Anna Maria Warner=>Maria Barbara Bellinger=>Marcus Bellinger=>Anna Kuhn=>Hans Kuhn

The last four people listed here are new to me. I have positively identified my mother line of the Hainer family to Anna Maria Warner. I will have to further investigate these new people but what it tells me is that in other trees in these people are listed as a connection to Anna Maria. So I guess I have my work cut out for me.

SO lets look at Donald.. Donald Trump =>Fredrick Christ Trump=>Fredrick Trump=>Katherine Kober=>Elizabeth Peter=>Maria Elisabetha Barbara Euler=>Johann Georg Euler=>Anna Catherine Pobb=>Johann Sameul Pobb=>Catherine Kuhn=>Hans Kuhn

Well, I'll be darn...that is crazy....So Anna Kuhn and Catherine Kuhn were sisters...I will have to investigate this to see if I can verify it.

OK so now Barack Obama.  When I open up Barack Obama it states that our connection is thru Thomas Burnham(1617-1688). This is not a familiar name to me either. It states that for my line it goes back 9 generations and for Barack it goes back 11 generations. So I selected and once again this looks like it is through Mom's line of the family. First I see Living Smith =>Leah Mae=>Addie Densmore=>Charles Densmore=>Sarah L Reynolds=>George Reynolds=>William Reynolds=>Rebecca Mann=> Rebecca Burnham=>Thomas Burnham. In this list all but the last three generations I have positively identified as correct.

So now lets look at Barack and see. Barack=>Stanley Ann Dunham=>Stanley Armour Dunham=>Ruth Lucille Armour=>Gabriella Clark=>Christopher Columbus Clark=>Thomas Clark=>Benjamin Clark=>Thomas Clark=>Thomas Clark=>Thomas Clark=>Mary Burnham=>Thomas Burnham

In this case it looks like Mary Burnham and Rebecca Burnham are sisters....Well I'll be darned. This is the craziest discover I have had in a while. It will definitely give me things to research this winter.

All of the matched thus far come through my mother's side of the family. The match with Miley Cyrus is Mary Pratt (1643-1704) 10 generation back for me and 11 generations for Miley. It is once again through the Reynolds side of my Mother's line that we match. 

With Marilyn Monroe, our common ancestor is John Alexander (1603-1677)11 generations back for me and 9 generations for Marilyn. It is once again thru the Reynolds line of our family. We have a George Alexender in our family and he is the brother of Elizabeth Alexander in Marilyn's family.

Meghan Trainor is more closely related to us than all the others and we are once again connected through the Reynolds side of the family through Thomas Burnham(1617-1688). We are from the Rebecca Burnham line and Meghan is from the Samuel Burnham line. So now we know that there is atleast three children in the Thomas Burnham family; Mary,  Samuel and Rebecca are brother and sisters. That would make Barack related to Meghan Trainor as well.

SO the app will keep sorting through the Family Trees on Ancestry and send me alerts if it finds anything else. It is interesting but not verified data. Not every tree on Ancestry is totally correct so it is up to the researcher to go back and verify the new data. I am hoping that it might help me with the road block that I have on my Smith line but so far not luck. It is not totally surprising that all of my results so far come from Mom's side of the family. Our Hainer line which is where we connect with Donald Trump is a well researched line in Canada. The Reynold's line is well researched also. So I have some interesting research to verify this winter and if anything else shows up, I'll keep you posted!

For anyone interested in the App, it is easy to set up. Any questions, I could help you if you want.

Happy Hunting,



  1. So this confirms my appreciation of your research skills Jan. I'm sure you can authenticate all of it and I will enjoy the results!! Thanks for your all your work!!

  2. We may be related as well. I have the same app and it kept finding only connections to my mothers side so I decided to force it to look on my fathers side by moving up the family tree and marking him as my starting point. First person it brought up was Trump, through the same mutual relative, and I reacted similarly to you. Then came Michael Jackson :0 and then Miley Cyrus so we may have more than one common ancestor. Would be interesting to meet family this way huh?


  3. Thanks for your Comment! How fun is that...When I first signed up for the app, my family tree had my father as the home person...but since I had my file privatized, it made it really difficult to find me among all those 'Private Smith's" that I had in my "Smith File". So went to my family tree and made me the home person...and reloaded the new tree and started the we're related over. I am now at 101 relatives...19 match for the day is Jimmy Carter....I have not looked into that connections though. It has been interesting. It gives me clues on possible connections. And new ideas of people to research... I have some that I just can not verify the data...Someone out there seems to have connected my family but I do not have supporting is interesting and there are trees which have wrong data...

    I am in the process of changing my blog to wordpress...not sure if I will convert the post from Blogspot or not....I separated my genealogy blog, Needles in a Haystack and my Tombstone Tuesday Blog on Wordpress.

    My connection to good old Donald thru Hans Kahn (1623-1693). My connection to Miley is through Mary Pratt (1643-1704)

    Janet Smith

    "Needles in the Haystack"


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