Bush Told Of Pilgrim Ancestry With AM-Bush Rdp, Bjt
LEIDEN, Netherlands (AP) _ President Bush discovered his Pilgrim ancestry here Monday, when he was shown proof of a direct family link with English religious dissenters who left Leiden for the New World.
After Bush delivered a speech at St Peter’s Church here, city archivist Theo Schelhaas gave Bush a copy of his family tree, which dates back to an English couple known to have married in Leiden in 1603.
Bush ″appreciated very much that his lineage had been fleshed out″ by the archivist’s research, Schelhaas’ assistant, Pieter de Baar, said.
The president made the trip to Leiden during a 24-hour courtesy visit to the Netherlands, where he held meetings with Queen Beatrix and Premier Ruud Lubbers as well as paying homage to the Dutch roots of the Pilgrims.
A small community of English Protestant dissenters lived here for more than a decade before setting sail for America in the early 17th century.
Bush is a direct, 12th generation descendant of Francis Cooke and his Canterbury-born wife, Hester Mahieu, according to Schelhaas’ records.
Little is known about the Cookes except their marriage date, June 4, 1603, and the fact that they had three children, including their daughter Jane Cooke, a Bush ancestor born here in 1615.
According to the Leiden records, Bush’s roots can also be traced to another Pilgrim family, the sisters Abigail and Sarah Jenney, both born in Leiden and daughters of a brewer’s apprentice, John Jenney, and his wife Sarah Carey.
Bush’s father was related to Abigail Jenney as well as to the Cookes, and his mother is a descendant of Sarah.
Bush, in his remarks, joked: ″I’m glad to be back with my cousins because we fondly remember Aunt Abigail back there those many years ago.″
The president, the records showed, also is a distant relative of Vice President Dan Quayle, with some branches of their ancestry going back to a 14th century family living on the Isle of Man, and of archivist Schelhaas himself, De Baar said.
″You might say they’re cousins in the 35th degree,″ he said of Bush and Quayle.
Leiden’s mayor, G.H. Goekoop, also mentioned Bush’s roots, and pointed out that two other American presidents, William Howard Taft and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, had ancestors in Leiden.
″Yes, here in Leiden not only the Dutch and American nations come together, indeed, even the families of Democratic and Republican presidents are linked,″ Goekoop said. ″We believe the American reality began right here when the Pilgrims asked for refuge.″