LONDON, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- He said his hero was Winston Churchill as he vowed to stand up to Saddam Hussein, and now President George W. Bush knows Churchill is much more than that -- he's a relative. Not only that, he shares kinship with the late Princess Diana and her two sons, Princes William and Harry, second and third in line to the British throne.
The link to them all, according to a new genealogical study released Wednesday in London, is Henry Spencer, of Badby, Northamptonshire, who married Isabella Lincoln in the mid-1400s and begat the Spencer family tree that spread across the Atlantic to New England in the 1600s.
The Spencer tree was put together by genealogists from the Utah-based MyFamily.com organization, which has been working with the Public Records Office in London to put the 1891 English and Welsh census online -- a database from which millions of Americans can help trace their ancestries. The 1901 census proved so overwhelmingly popular when it went online earlier this year it crashed within hours and is only now being relaunched.
"To our knowledge, this is new or new in the sense that we've put the connections altogether," said Mary-Kay Evans, spokeswoman for MyFamily.com, which says it has no connection to the genealogical efforts of Utah-based Mormons. "It just goes to show how much we really are all connected, how we're all one big family."
"This doesn't surprise me," said Elsa Churchill, a researcher with the British Society of Genealogists. "Royal lineages are much better validated and researched than any other, and go back much further.
"The Spencer family line is well-established, though we don't usually look back that far. ... And no, I'm not related," she said, adding that she got into genealogy largely to "prove to my father that we were descended from a bunch of 15th-century Herefordshire peasants rather than from prime ministers and dukes."
The Bush line goes back to John Lillie, 1728-1765, of Boston, Mass., and then to both male and female lines to Anne Marbury, 1591-1643, who was born in Lincolnshire, England, moved to Massachusetts, was banished for religious reasons and was killed by Indians. Before her was her mother, Bridget Dryden, and her mother Elizabeth Cope, her father Sir John Cope, her mother Jane Spencer, her father Sir John Spencer and then Henry Spencer, a minor squire in Northamptonshire.
Princess Diana's resting place is only a few miles away from Badby, at the Spencer family home at Althorpe.
From another son of Henry Spencer came a line which split in 1706 after Charles Spencer married Lady Anne Churchill and sent one son, John Spencer, producing the Princess Diana line and the other, Charles Spencer, producing the Spencer Churchill line.
Gary Boyd Roberts, of the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, and an expert in the genealogy of presidents and British kings and queens, said the connections were already known, but the Bush family may only be "vaguely aware" of the Spencer Churchill link. The Bush family tree was in his 1989 book, he said.
"The Bushes also share the same ancestry as George Washington, FDR, Calvin Coolidge, not to mention Wild Bill Hickok, Katharine Hepburn and lots of other people," he said Tuesday. "It's quite a slice of Americana. Queen Elizabeth II also has a Spencer line through the Queen Mother."
White House officials were unable to say if President Bush, or his father, were aware of their shared ancestry with Sir Winston Spencer Churchill and Lady Diana Spencer. In talking about what he believed the former British war leader would have done about Iraq, Bush made no mention of their family connection.
Indeed, he said Churchill "seemed like a Texan to me."