A number of years ago I became interested in tracing the roots of my family tree. It is a process that I enjoy - the digging through old records to find mention of one of my ancestors. Some find this activity dry as dust, but I find it fascinating.
Growing up, I had heard stories from family members about the possible links to a couple of famous people in history. My Mother's side of the family claimed to be related to the famous sea captain, John Paul Jones. Try as I might, I have yet to find any relationship between him and my family. The only remote tie I found is that both John Paul Jones and my 8X Great Grandfather were born in Scotland.
My Dad's side of the family claimed to be related to our 15th President, James Buchanan. I have found this to be true. Although President Buchanan never married and never had children, he can be traced by a round about path to my ancestors. My Dad took considerable pride in having a president in his family history.
James Buchanan has been known to be the worst president in American history. His refusal or inability to deal with the question of secession prior to the Civil War and his alienation of both the North and South at that time were the major reasons for his title of Worst President. His love of alcohol and the epic parties he hosted at the White House in a time of crisis in our nation's history did little to endear him.
You might know that my only claim to fame within my family tree would be to a disgraced president. Perhaps that is one reason why I love finding the black sheep and scoundrels among my ancestors. They are much more fun than the rich and famous.
I am glad my Dad never found out the history of his source of family pride. He needn't have worried, however. I do believe the title of Worst President Ever has been passed on to the current holder of that office. Compared to Obama, Buchanan was a rank amateur.
1 hour ago