People Share Who Their Famous Ancestors Were

Got a family claim to fame? Even if a person isn’t personally in the limelight, many people are descended from or related to famous historical figures.

When a Reddit user asked people to share any famous names from their lineage, people did not disappoint.

I Wish You Had The Last Name Too, Buddy

A Gatling gun
Photo Credit: Illustrated London News / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Illustrated London News / Hulton Archive / Getty Images

“One of my great-great-whatever grandfathers invented the Gatling gun—the best-known early rapid-fire spring-loaded, hand-cranked weapon and predecessor of the machine gun. His last name was literally Gatling and I wish I had inherited it.”

I’d Like To Thank Your Family For The NBA

Generic view of a Spalding NBA basketball dropping into the hoop
Photo Credit: Gray Mortimore / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Gray Mortimore / Getty Images

“James Naismith, the creator of basketball, was my great-great-uncle.”

James was an American-Canadian physical educator and physician who invented the original game of basketball by attaching peach baskets to posts as nets.

Let’s Hope Brains And Talent Run In The Family

portrait photo of alfred
Photo Credit: Smith College
Photo Credit: Smith College

“My grandfather was Alfred Einstein; he was Albert’s cousin.”

Alfred Einstein was a musicologist and music editor. Though he was born in Munich, Germany, he fled from the Nazi rule and immigrated to the US in 1939.

Well, That’s One Way To Be Known

breath alcohol ignition interlock device during a
Photo Credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS / AFP via Getty Images
Photo Credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS / AFP via Getty Images

“I have an uncle who is the reason why DUI breathalyzer ignitions have a timer. They added the timer feature because he would drive to the bar and let it idle while he drank.”

Bach At It Again

Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach
Photo Credit: DEA / A. DAGLI ORTI / De Agostini via Getty Images
Photo Credit: DEA / A. DAGLI ORTI / De Agostini via Getty Images

“I’m a descendant of the esteemed German Baroque composer and musician Johann Sebastian Bach. One of his daughters married into my family, which makes him my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather. I, unfortunately, did not get the musical touch.”

Sounds Pretty Magical To Me

GettyImages-103457878
Photo Credit: Transcendental Graphics / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Transcendental Graphics / Getty Images

“Harry Houdini, the magician, was my great-grandmother’s cousin—not sure that is considered an ancestor.”

In order to prove the DNA connection, should we lock this Reddit user in a box and see if they use magic to escape?

That Technically Makes Him A Famous Model

American Gothic by Grant Wood
Photo Credit: GraphicaArtis / Getty Images
Photo Credit: GraphicaArtis / Getty Images

“I’m related to the bald guy who posed for the ‘American Gothic’ painting with the pitchfork. I looked it up, and it turns out he’s my fourth cousin, twice removed.”

Let’s Hope There Isn’t A “Violent” Gene

Aerial view of Alcatraz Prison, San Francisco, California
Photo Credit: PhotoQuest / Getty Images
Photo Credit: PhotoQuest / Getty Images

“My great-great-uncle murdered an FBI agent and subsequently spent time in Alcatraz. He was there at the same time as Machine Gun Kelly and Al Capone. His name is Guy Osborne and he murdered Truett E. Rowe.

“I found this when I was tracing my genealogy last year. He is also mentioned in a book by, if I remember correctly, Franklin Roosevelt.”

History Really Did The Women Of Salem Dirty

Hanging of Bridget Bishop.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Photo Credit: Getty Images

“I’m related to Bridget Bishop: the first woman hung in the Salem Witch Trials.”

Bishop was arrested on charges of witchcraft on April 18, 1962. Her neighbors accused her of ‘bewitching’ her first husband, leading to his death.

Power Rangers Was My Favorite Show As A Kid!

Actor Jason David Frank
Photo Credit: Chelsea Lauren / Getty Images for Saban Brands
Photo Credit: Chelsea Lauren / Getty Images for Saban Brands

“My uncle is a power ranger. His name is Jason David Frank and he was cast in the role of the green power ranger named Tommy Oliver in the popular kids’ television show.”

How Does One Get That Good At Checkers?

people playing checkers
Photo Credit: Robertus Pudyanto / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Robertus Pudyanto / Getty Images

“My great-great (not sure how many greats) grandfather was the checkers—or as the British call it, draughts—champion of England. His name was Herbert Forrest Morrall and he won the English Open Championship in 1904.”

A Part Of Norse History

Flag. norway.
Photo Credit: Marka / Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Marka / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

“My (honestly, I’m not sure about how many greats) grandfather was one of the 112 delegates, called ‘Eidsvoll men,’ to write and sign the Norweigan constitution on May 17, 1814.”

Do Conjoined Twins Run In The Family?

Siamese-American conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker
Photo Credit: E. and H. T. Anthony & Co / Archive Photos / Getty Images
Photo Credit: E. and H. T. Anthony & Co / Archive Photos / Getty Images

“My great-great-great-grandfather was Chang Bunker, who was conjoined at the stomach to his brother, Eng. They were born in Siam (now known as Thailand) became famous for being in the P.T. Barnum’s circus. The term ‘Siamese Twins’ comes from them.”

The Same Bloodline As An American Icon

Illustration of Davy Crockett campaigning for the House of Representatives
Photo Credit: Fotosearch / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Fotosearch / Getty Images

“My great-whatever-grandmother was Davey Crockett’s sister. My aunt figured it out and we were able to verify via a Crockett family reunion, which had their family tree shared on their site.”

Can You Slip Me A Backstage Pass?

Shane Filan from Westlife performs at annual children's charity concert
Photo Credit: Phillip Massey / WireImage
Photo Credit: Phillip Massey / WireImage

“My uncle is a famous singer from Ireland. He’s not big in the US but gets a lot of attention everywhere else. He’s part of a band called Westlife and his name is Shane Filan.”

One Of The Most Infamous Bad Guys In America

American outlaw Jesse James
Photo Credit: MPI / Getty Images
Photo Credit: MPI / Getty Images

“I’m related to Jesse James, who’s known for being an outlaw.”

Jesse James, who lived from 1847 to 1882, was one of America’s most infamous outlaws and the leader of the James–Younger Gang.

…Is Your Last Name Escobar?

criminal in handcuffs
Photo Credit: Miguel Villagran / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Miguel Villagran / Getty Images

“Not really famous, but my grandfather on my mom’s side was a very big drug lord. He was kicked out of the country so I never got to meet him.”

Follow In His Footsteps And Start A Revolution

Protestant reformer Martin Luther
Photo Credit: Stock Montage / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Stock Montage / Getty Images

“I’m a descendant of Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant Reformation.”

Martin Luther lived from 1483 to 1546 and was a professor of theology and an ordained priest. He came to reject many of the practices of the Roman Catholic church and was instrumental in translating bibles from Latin so members of the public could read it.

Do You Also Have Killer Instinct?

American pharmacist and convicted serial killer Herman Webster Mudget
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum / Getty Images

“I’m related to H.H. Holmes, aka Herman Mudgett. He was a notorious serial killer. He had a murder hotel built; during construction, he hired and fired different contractors to conceal what was really being built.”

The Father Behind The Iconic Feud

Devil Anse Riding Horse
Photo Credit: Library of Congress / Corbis / VCG via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Library of Congress / Corbis / VCG via Getty Images

“My only claim to fame is that my great (x3) grandfather is Devil Anse Hatfield, the patriarch of the Hatfields during the Hatfields vs. McCoys feud.

When the miniseries came out, all my family would gather around the TV and watch every week. We also went to West Virginia to visit his grave.”

Can He Introduce Me To Them?

RZA, center, with his clan members
Photo Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

“My dad isn’t famous, but he met a lot of famous people. He was Wu-Tang Clan’s tech guy and toured with them for a bit. He also built Taylor Swift’s recording studio.”

Imagine How Mad He Was To Hear The News

view of death chamber with electric chair
Photo Credit: Mike Simons / Getty Images)
Photo Credit: Mike Simons / Getty Images)

“My grandfather was the first person to be sentenced to death after Texas reinstated the death penalty in the ’70s. He ended up hanging himself in his cell before his execution though.”

The Romanian Everyone Feared

portrait of Vlad III the Impaler, or Dracula (1431-1476)
Photo Credit: Stefano Bianchetti / Corbis via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Stefano Bianchetti / Corbis via Getty Images

“I’m a relative of Vlad the Impaler, more commonly known as Dracula. In his lifetime, he was a feared ruler known for his cruelty and was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula.”

Technically, You’re Mormon-Adjacent

spires on mormon temple in Salt Lake City
Photo Credit: GEORGE FREY / AFP via Getty Images
Photo Credit: GEORGE FREY / AFP via Getty Images

“I’m related to Joseph Smith, who was the creator of the Mormon Church. Unfortunately, I’m actually related to him through the line of his brother, Hyrum, but I think it’s close enough.”

I Wonder If She Met All The Survivors

The Carpathia in her pier after bringing back the Titanic survivors.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Photo Credit: Getty Images

“She wasn’t famous, but my great-grandmother was on the ship that rescued the Titanic survivors.”

The ship was named the RMS Carpathia, and it normally traveled from New York to Liverpool and back.

Does That Make You The Duke Of Rock And Roll?

Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) holding a 1965 Gibson
Photo Credit: Hulton Archive / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

“My uncle (well, he actually might be my great uncle) was Elvis Presley. We share my great (x3) grandparents. Sadly, my family isn’t close enough to know his family directly.”

Half Of The Dynamic Duo

A painting depicting explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their Keelboat
Photo Credit: Ed Vebell / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Ed Vebell / Getty Images

“I’m not sure if I’m directly descended from him, but an ancestor of mine is Meriwether Lewis, of Lewis and Clark. My grandfather found out some time ago while looking up our family history.”

Imagine Being Related To The Most Famous Man Of The Italian Renaissance

portrait of leonardo da vinci
Photo Credit: DeAgostini / Getty Images
Photo Credit: DeAgostini / Getty Images

“I’m somehow related to Leonardo Da Vinci. My nonna was identified as one of his living relatives. Leonardo never had children, so they found the children of his siblings and relatives of his father’s family.”

We Love Inbreeding!

Christian IX king of Denmark
Photo Credit: Apic / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Apic / Getty Images

“I’m a descendant of King Christian IX of Denmark. Not sure if this is a flex with all the incest going on in that family tree.

“Generally, if you are in any European royal bloodline, chances are, you share blood with all the royal houses. I tried claiming I’m the lost princess Anastasia, but I think that joke’s a bit old now.”

There Are Some Family Trees That You Don’t Want To Brag About…

Adolf Hitler raises a clenched fist during a speech.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Photo Credit: Getty Images

“Hitler is my ancestor, though through marriage, not blood. He was pretty well known for getting rejected from art school, I believe.”

Yeah, maybe you want to keep this information to yourself, pal.