The project: Ancestry.com began looking into such connections between Obama and foes and friends about six months ago. Anastasia Tyler, the lead genealogist, said: "It just shows how all of these politicians, they're on different sides of the political spectrum, but in the end they're all part of what makes America great, and they all go back to deep American roots."
The Palin connection: Palin's tie to Obama is through early Massachusetts settler John Smith, a Protestant pastor in the 1670s who opposed the persecution of Quakers. (Smith's wife was the sister of one of the first governors of the Plymouth Bay colony, Thomas Hinckley. Hinckley's father, Samuel, it so happens, is also a familial link between Obama and former President George W. Bush, a link previously documented.)
The Limbaugh connection: Obama and Limbaugh's common ancestor is Richmond Terrell, who settled in Virginia around 1656 and acquired a large amount of land.
No connection found: Tyler's team tried but couldn't connect Obama to conservative talk show hosts Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity; nor could a link be found between Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Past findings: Past research has linked Obama to former Vice President Dick Cheney, in addition to Bush. Ancestry.com said there are links, too, to billionaire investor Warren Buffett and actor Brad Pitt.
A curiosity: Eduardo Pagan, a history professor at Arizona State University and the cohost of the PBS show "History Detectives," said that any connection between contemporary figures that exists only hundreds of years in the past is "an interesting curiosity of history" but "doesn't mean anything at all unless someone was raised with that knowledge." He added: "I don't think that a political perspective -- conservative or liberal -- dominates in any extended family." MCCLATCHY NEWS SERVICE