Meet the man working out how Nick Clegg and Paris Hilton are related

Dina Rickman@dinarickman
Thursday 28 August 2014 19:30

Meet AJ Jacobs: journalist, author, lecturer, and your cousin.

Pictured here with his distant cousin, George HW Bush.

Jacobs is working on the global family reunion, a project aiming to build a family tree of the entire world through online, crowdsourced and moderated, tools such as Geni - and then invite them all to a party next June.

"For the first time in history we have the tools now to work out how everyone on Earth is related to everyone else", he told i100.

In 10 years it's quite likely that we will have a family tree of almost everyone on planet Earth. I love the idea just from a philosophical point of view that we are all in fact one big family. World peace is not going to break out when we realise this but maybe there will be a little more tolerance.

  • AJ Jacobs

Currently his global family tree stands at 78million - and Jacobs looked into some celebrity family connections for i100.

Nick Clegg and Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton is Miriam González Durántez's husband's second great aunt's husband's third cousin's wife's first cousin's wife's ex-husband's great granddaughter (they are connected through Zsa Zsa Gabor).

David Cameron and Kim Kardashian

David Cameron is Kim Kardashian's 13th cousin

Ed Miliband and Paris Hilton

Ed Miliband is Paris Hilton's sister's fiancé's sister's ex-husband's third cousin once removed's husband's second cousin.

Prince William and Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt is Prince William, Duke of Cambridge's 12th cousin

Ed Miliband and David Cameron

Ed Miliband is David Cameron's uncle's brother's wife's first cousin's husband's second cousin twice removed's husband's second cousin.

Morgan Spurlock, of Supersize Me fame, is making a documentary about Jacobs' efforts while Jacobs is writing a book about the experience. As for the accuracy of the connections? "It is remarkably accurate for the most part but it's like any other crowdsourced thing. You've got millions of people looking for mistakes, but there are some errors."

Genealogist Megan Cherie Owens told i100 it was "hardly surprising that well-resourced people in the public eye have well-resourced ancestors in common".

She added: "It's a bit of fun, and sweet to think of us all as 'a global family'. But it's really just a mathematical exercise, resulting in not very meaningful multiple-degrees-of-separation. It also harks back to old-fashioned genealogy, which was all about conveying status."