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Way More Than Six Degrees of Separation

Posted in Genealogy and History

Here is proof positive that genealogists will go to any lengths to establish a connection with someone famous. Well, not really. This was sort of an accident. I was researching my Clark ancestry and discovered that the sister of one of my ancestors was an ancestor herself of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the inimitable Mark Twain. I figured his genealogy had to have been well-researched; thus, figuring out how we’re related shouldn’t be too hard. As it turns out, Mark Twain is my fourth cousin, five times removed. Check out this diagram and see how.

Mark Twain’s genealogy, according to, is as follows, working to Samuel Langhorne Clemens back from our common ancestors.

Christopher Clark (1681-1754) m. Penelope Johnson (1684-1760) in 1709.

+ Rachel Clark (1714-1792) m. Thomas Moorman (1705-1767) in 1730.

++ Rachel Moorman (abt. 1753-abt. 1833) m. Stephen Goggin (1752-1802) in 1773.

+++ Pamela (or Pamelia) Goggin (1775-1844) m. Samuel Clemens (1770-1805) in 1797.

++++ John Marshall Clemens (1798-1847) m. Jane Lampton (1803-1890) in 1823.

+++++ Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910).

I descend from two separate lines in the Anthony family, which joins up to the Clark family (as I will demonstrate). I will trace both lines here for you, but for the sake of clarity (and my sanity), I did not do this on the diagram.

Christopher Clark (1681-1754) m. Penelope Johnson (1684-1760) in 1709.

+ Elizabeth Clark (1721/1722-1825) m. Joseph Anthony (1713-1785) in 1741.

++ Joseph Anthony (1750-1810) m. Elizabeth Ann Clark (1754-aft. 1810) in abt. 1773.

+++ Micajah Anthony (1782-abt. 1850) m. Rebecca Williams (1782-1832) in abt. 1805.

++++ Matthew Jouett Williams Anthony (1808-1868) m. Ann Blakey Roberts (1810-1873) in 1830.

+++++ Mary Ann Penelope Anthony (1835-1917) m. Johnson Franklin Cunningham (1823-1899) in 1851.

++++++ Amos Blakey Cunningham (1871-1962) m. Stella Ophelia Bowling (1867-1938) in 1894.

+++++++ Herman Cunningham (1895-1980) m. Annie Lola Jennings (1899-1982) in 1920.

++++++++ Udell Oliver Cunningham (1925-) m. Doris LaNell Thurman (1930-) in 1950.

+++++++++ Patti Jo Cunningham (1951-) m. Thomas Ray Swier (1951-) in 1971.

++++++++++ Dana Michelle Swier (1971-)

++ Agnes Anthony (1761-unknown) m. Churchill Blakey (1760-1837) in 1780.

+++ Elizabeth Blakey (abt. 1788-unknown) m. Thomas Roberts (abt. 1785-unknown) in abt. 1808.

++++ Ann Blakey Roberts (1810-1873) m. Matthew Jouett Williams Anthony (1808-1868) in 1830 (see remainder of descent above from Matthew Jouett Williams Anthony).

Think I have a shot at any sort of inheritance? 🙂

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  1. […] At my genealogy blog, I posted what I think is a kind of funny deconstruction of how I’m related to Mark Twain.  A lot of people criticize genealogists for looking for famous folks in their family tree.  I still laugh at the way I figure this one out. […]

    July 8, 2006
  2. In Sweden I´m quite alone having a genealogy blog. Now I see there are some in other countries. I´m not alone in “the blog-world”.

    I´m not related to Mark Twain. But I´ve been looking for famous folks in my family tree, but I didn´t find anyone. My husband, on the other hand, is connected to Charlie Chan (Warner Oland) somehow. I´m not sure how.

    July 14, 2006
  3. […] I recently posted about my distant relationship (Twain would laugh about it, I’m sure) to Mark Twain. Imagine my surprise to discover I am connected to another of my favorite American writers, Tennessee Williams. […]

    July 18, 2006
  4. Mary Kurth Allsup
    Mary Kurth Allsup

    I was really happy to read your information about your Grandmother Annie. My Grandmother was Lennice. I know Carollyn.

    I am investigating the Indian heritage.



    May 10, 2008
  5. Nathan

    Turns out that today I found out my grandmother is a Blakey, so I am in the downline to Mark Twain too. Long story but I could never tell from my skills in writting. I have some Shawnee in there somehwere too. Crazy world out there but fun to find out our history!!

    February 17, 2012
  6. Karen Clark
    Karen Clark

    Well, hello, cousin! I’m also from the Moorman line that includes Mark Twain (still haven’t figured out how to do the whole ‘xth cousin, x times removed).
    I’ve taken that line all the way back to the Forbes from Scotland (stayed in the family castle in Sept. 2015), Robert the Bruce and two kings of Scotland.

    And hoping my first novel, Singing in Silence, will be published in the next few months.

    September 5, 2016
    • The Forbes connection comes through Penelope, and if she is a Johnson, it follows that the connection is solid. I’m not sure if it’s been determined whether or not the connection is solid. I haven’t looked into DNA testing anyone has done, so I should do that soon. There is a great website for the Clark/Moorman/et. al. families. Perhaps you’ve visited?

      September 6, 2016
  7. Mark Clemons
    Mark Clemons

    Im family of mark twain My great grandpa was his nephew also the name is spelled Clemons

    October 9, 2020

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