The “Celebrities” Among Us

We all remember Lois Lane from the Superman sagas in comic books, on television, and in the movies. Smart, tough-as-nails, and tenacious, the world might never have discovered who the Man of Steel really was behind those glasses had it not been for the star reporter for the Daily Planet newspaper. 

My grandfather Wilbur’s sister was named Lois Evangeline Hile. Born in Hannibal, Missouri in 1917, Lois married Mark Lane in 1948. One day Lois was in a bank and went up to the teller who gave her an exasperated look and said, “Oh, come on, now!” “What?,” she exclaimed. Turns out the man in line ahead of her — whom Lois had never met — was named Clark Kent. 

The Lois Lane of Superman lore is, of course, a fictional character but there are also a number of confirmed, real-life celebrities in my family tree. For most of them, it takes a rather long and sometimes convoluted route to connect the dots for the connection to be made. George Washington was my 2nd cousin, 8x removed, while Richard Nixon — even though he was chronologically much closer in age to me than Washington — was no less convoluted at 2nd cousin, 6x removed. 

What’s important to note about Washington and Nixon, however, is that both were independently researched and documented with a high degree of confidence in the accuracy of the sources. There are services out there that will provide a plethora of “relatives,” usually quite distant cousins where the potential for mistakes increases dramatically. Be careful and don’t rely solely on them.

The upshot of all of this is that there are, indeed, celebrities among us. We just need to be careful and independently verify.