A family member just emailed me to inform me that he did some genealogical research and that we are distant cousins of William Shakespeare (1st cousin 14x removed).

I don't know anything about genealogy at all, but my suspicion is that (even if this is true) given that he was born 500 years ago the chance of being a distant cousin of him is nowhere near as remote as my family member thinks it is or might even be rather likely. Can any experts confirm this with me?

So what I'm contending is it's not 100% probability to be a cousin of Shakespare fourteen times removed, but the probability is not extremely small either. Apologies if this is a naive question as I don't know anything about this.

  • Hi Tom, welcome, I'm having a bit of a hard time to follow what you are asking regarding the probabilities, but it may be because I'm not a native speaker of English. Maybe you are able make it a bit simpler and thus easier to follow? I think normally you would have a hard time researching descendants of a person that lived in the 16. century. But since Shakespeare was - well...Shakespeare - I think it would not be impossible to follow his lineage up until today.
    – nebulon42
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 21:06
  • Sorry, I did not really explain the details, Shakespeare did not have children with Anne Hathaway, but John Shakespeare had a son from whom I am descended (apparently, I don't know if its true). This is quite a tenuous link to William, so I am wondering how common it would be to have such a link somewhere down the line.
    – Tom
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 21:36
  • @Tom - This is not an answer to your question but a comment on your comment: William Shakespeare did have children with Anne Hathaway, but none of his grandchildren survived to adulthood. In addition, he did not have a brother John, but a sister Joan, from whom living descendants do exist: shakespeare.org.uk/explore-shakespeare/shakespedia/…
    – user5836
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 0:06
  • I also found out just now that William is my 1st cousin 18x removed and this can be through grandparents not his children. Or his siblings I think ?
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 2:19
  • Yeah, I can't remember how it works, I think for me it was through his grandparents as well but can't remember now.
    – Tom
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 14:07


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