The Bush-Kerry kinship still has me thinking:
For my part, I like to study genealogy because it connects me to history. It connects my family history to American history and to world history. I haven't yet discovered any presidents in my family history, though there is a rumor that we are descendants of Andrew Jackson, the first populist president. I haven't nailed it down.
Maybe I'm interested in genealogy because my heritage is Southern, and most Southerners are shintoists at heart -- they worship their ancestors. I've certainly had relatives who were shintoists. I don't so much worship my ancestors as I just like a good story, even if I'm only imagining it -- the stories of the dramatic failures or scandals in our genealogical past are just as interesting, if not more so, than the stories of grand success. I know there were probably slaveowners among my ancestors, though my family has glorified the ancestors who had the courage NOT to own slaves or to free them.
In many ways, we can take more pride in the dark shadows of our past than in the grand ancestors who make us proud. If we're able to acknowledge the ones who did bad, it's a way of telling ourselves how far we've come.