Benedict Cumberbatch is a Distant Relative of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

It turns out that Benedict Cumberbatch may have been born to play Sherlock Holmes. Researchers have recently discovered that he is actually a distant relative (16th cousins, twice removed to be exact) of Mr. Holmes' creator, Conan Doyle. Of course, that is pretty distant. To put it in perspective, their last common ancestor was John of Gaunt, the duke of Lancaster, who lived in the 14th century.

Researchers from Ancestry.com discovered the connection in their free time simply because they love the Sherlock series, which returned yesterday by the way. According to Fox, the website has not yet told the actor about the connection.


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I can't find the original story, but I read at one point that if you go about 22 generations back (excluding recent immigrants) everybody in the UK is related to everybody else in the UK, so there are probably a whole lot more famous people in England who are related as closely as 16th cousins. The trick is tracing out the tree accurately, but that is much easier in the UK where church records recording births and deaths were kept much more rigorously than in the USA.
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