No, we're not becoming a celebrity blog (yet) but the noteworthy thing is that it's incredibly hard for technology companies to even buy this kind of publicity: Ancestry.com researchers have found that actress Ellen DeGeneres is apparently related to pop star Madonna.
Genealogists employed by the company, which offers a subscription-based Web service that allows people to study families and the tracing of their lineages and history, have discovered that the women are 11th cousins.
The family history experts uncovered that the pair is related through a common 10th great-grandfather – a Frenchman named Martin Aucoin, whose daughters Jeanne and Michele left their native country of France to settle in Nova Scotia in the early 1600s. DeGeneres's family supposedly left Canada in the late 1700s when her 5th great-grandfather Joseph Martin relocated to Louisiana. It wasn't until the late 1870s that Madonna's 2nd great-grandmother Emilie Daniel left Quebec and moved to Michigan, where the singer herself calls home.
If true (or maybe regardless thereof), this is a publicity boon for Ancestry.com, which went public in November and currently boasts a $721 million market cap. No doubt, it will make a lot of people who pick up on the claimed family ties between the two entertainment giants wonder what the site is all about and give it a try themselves.
Sadly, the company is pushing it a bit too far by quoting genealogist Anastasia Tyler as follows:
“It's not every day you discover two celebrity icons are related, but it's their similarities that make the connection so extraordinary. They were born the same year, have both written books and been on tour, are known for their impressive dance moves – and with Ellen's latest gig on American Idol – are both legendary figures on the music scene.”
Meh. Would have been better to simply stick to the facts, people.
This isn't exactly the first time Ancestry.com have uncovered family connections between celebrities: in 2009, they connected financier Warren Buffett to President Barack Obama.
Are you related to anyone famous? Please don't let us know in comments.