Follow TV Tropes


Famous Ancestor

Go To

"If you go far enough into anyone's past, you will find glories, somewhere."
Lim-Dûl, The Eternal Ice

We've all known someone like this; you know, the person who claims their great-to-the-nth grandparent did something famous which, via Fridge Logic, carries over to them.

This trope concerns any character who exhibits the traits associated with their Famed In-Story ancestor to help characterize themselves, or is characterized by said ancestor despite their own (sometimes different) traits. Expect this to be the source of a Secret Legacy or Superpowerful Genetics in a family line and expect a poor kid being held up to the ancestor's standards.

This is a common way for writers to grant characters powers or abilities of the famous ancestor. Bonus points if the character claims to be a direct descendant in a manner that clearly contradicts history and causes Fridge Logic.

Common subversions occur where the character has a Famous Ancestor, but the powers or prowess eludes them and their humiliation is Played for Laughs. Played more seriously, it can overlap with Inadequate Inheritor.

Heroic Lineage is a subtrope, where the thing the ancestor in question is famous for was an act or pattern of heroism. Historical Character's Fictional Relative is when the ancestor (usually) is real but the descendant is fictional.

Note that while it might seem impressive to claim certain historical figures as your ancestor, anyone who lived more than a few hundred years ago and had more than a few children could very well have millions of living descendants right now; see the examples from Real Life below. On the other hand, while simple descendants of important historical figures may be common, direct descendantsnote  are quite rare.

See also The Descendants of Cain. Contrast Amazingly Embarrassing Parents.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Aria the Scarlet Ammo, every important character has a famous ancestor, from Real Life or fictional works (Arsène Lupin, Sherlock Holmes, Jeanne d'Arc, Cleopatra, etc.) A good part of the reveals are about the characters' lineages. Which usually involve inherited superpowers of some sort.
  • High School D×D features a team of terrorists who are all descendants of legendary figures from time's past. These include, but are not limited to, Cao Cao, Joan of Arc (a reincarnation in this case since Joan never got to have children), Hercules, Faust, and that's only the central squad.
  • In The Kindaichi Case Files, Kindaichi is the grandson of Kosuki Kindaichi. Kindaichi's grandfather taught him everything he knows about solving mysteries, pickpocketing, and slight-of-hand tricks, but most people are incredulous when they learn about the familial connection. (Primarily because of how lazy Kindaichi is)
  • Arsene Lupin III of Lupin III is the grandson of Arsène Lupin, an early twentieth century Gentleman Thief from a series of books by Maurice Leblanc. Goemon Ishikawa XIII is the descendant of Japanese bandit Ishikawa Goemon, and Inspector Zenigata is a descendant of Heiji Zenigata, the hero of a series of Japanese novels. Several minor characters on the show also have famous ancestors, such as Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot.
  • Einhart Stratos of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid, who is the direct descendant of Klaus G.S. Ingvalt, the legendary Ancient Belka king known for his extraordinary heroism. Unfortunately, in addition to his powers, she also directly inherited his memories and his will, which is not exactly suited for the current era of peace, giving the poor kid some extra burden she didn't really want.
    • Another example of this is Victoria Dahlgruen, descendant of "Thunder Emperor" Dahlgruen, and has taken up his title as a combatant at the DSAA Tournament. While she is usually a refined Ojou, piss her off in combat, and she will show the ferocity that her ancestor was famous for.
    • Averted with Sieglinde Jeremiah. Her ancestor is Wilfried Jeremiah, the one who taught Saint Kaiser Olivie Saegebrecht fighting techniques that made her become known as "The Queen Second to None in Combat", and also became friends with Claus Ingvalt. However, Wilfried's connection to both people has been lost through time, with the record of her time spent with Olivie and Claus, can only be found in her personal diary that was hidden deep within the Infinity Library.
    • Vivio herself invokes a variant of this. While she is the clone of Olivie Saegebrecht, she never considers herself as Olivie 2.0. She'd rather be considered as Olivie's descendant. In the Gears of Destiny video game, the Big Bad recognizes Vivio as Olivie, and when she says that she's Olivie's descendant, the Big Bad points out that Olivie didn't have any descendants.
  • One Piece has "Sword God" Shimotsuki Ryuma, from the author's previous one-shot Monsters in Wanted! (1998). He was already pretty famous when he was alive, but by the time of the present storyline, he's considered a legend in both his home country Wano and throughout the world as one of the greatest swordsmen to have ever lived. His descendants are the Shimotsuki Family, who have produced some of the most talented swordsmen and swordsmiths in the series, including Roronoa Zoro's master Koushiro, his best friend, Koushiro's daughter Kuina, and, as revealed in an SBS, Zoro himself. While Zoro remains unaware of his heritage, it nonetheless plays an important part in the Wano arc, as his resemblances to Ryuma and to his granduncle Shimotsuki Ushimaru (the former Daimyo of Ringo) are why the natives of Wano warm up to him so quickly.
  • The eponymous character of Ron Kamonohashi: Deranged Detective is descended from both Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis Moriarty. The series' Big Bad is a group of criminals who claim to be Moriarty's descendants who hate Ron for being of tainted blood.
  • Masahiro in Shōnen Onmyōji is often recognized as the grandson of the great Abe no Seimei, a fact that Masahiro despises.
  • In Twilight Star Sui and Neri, the residents of Tetsunagi Island are revealed to be the descendants of their ancestors who originated from a research lab, comprising of a union between sentient animals and human researchers, before setting foot into the island despite the losses they incurred during the expedition. Including the mirages of the old lady and the monkey that Sui encountered in Chapter 14.
  • In Vagabond, the younger, immature version of Yoshioka Denshichiro seen in flashbacks would often take pains to tell his adversaries how he was the son of the famous Master Swordsman Yoshioka Kempo, and let them assume that he was a badass they didn't want to cross due to being personally trained by his father with the expectation that he would help carry on the dojo's name. He later publicly admits that he was doing it because he was afraid and hoped that intimidating his opponent could get him out of tough situations without looking weak or incapable, as he secretly feared that he was. Because of an encounter with a certain deaf-mute swordsman who couldn't hear his boasting and some offscreen Character Development, Denshichiro grew out of it and into the stoic, stern, honor bound man we see in the present.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, Alex Brisbane is a direct descendant of Alexander the Great.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Wolffy's great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather Martial Wolf famously tried to get past the gate to Goats' Village by starving himself so that he could pass through the gate's iron bars. Once he's inside the village, Martial Wolf eats a rock due to being starved and dies; since then, the other wolves have honored his memory for generations.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Some comics state that Bruce Wayne is a descendant of Revolutionary War general 'Mad' Anthony Wayne. (This is also a Development Gag as Batman's surname was inspired by 'Mad' Anthony Wayne.)
  • Crimson: The modern-day Knight Templar Barnebeau D'Orense claims to be a direct descendant of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the Patron Saint of the Templars. Given that Bernard was a notoriously celibate monk and unlikely to have fathered any children, the only logical explanation is that D'Orense descends from one of his unrecorded nieces/nephews, rather than any direct offspring.
  • The DCU has Lance Cpl. David Reid, a grandson of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • In Marvel Comics, Iron Man's foe the Mandarin and the 50s Yellow Peril villain The Golden Claw both claim to be direct descendants of Genghis Khan. It's actually quite possible.
  • Legends of the Dead Earth:
    • In Batman: Shadow of the Bat Annual #4, King Bruce the 23rd of Nu-Gotham is a descendant of Bruce Wayne.
    • In the Guy Gardner: Warrior Annual #2 story "Hypersensitive: A Changer for All Seasons", the changer Stonewall Fencer, a resident of Gardner's Green, claims to be one of Guy's descendants but the postal officer Garland Marsh is less than convinced.
    • In the Guy Gardner: Warrior Annual #2 story "See My Finger. See My Thumb. See My Fist? You Better Run!", Guy switches bodies with a young boy named Gunner Gardner, seemingly one of his descendants, in the town of Alphalphaville on the planet Arkayo in the far future. While there, he meets Gunner's friends Bucky, Risa and an unnamed Tiger-Boy, apparently the descendants of Bucky Wargo, Arisia Rrab and Tiger-Man II.
    • In the Guy Gardner: Warrior Annual #2 story "Dateless in a One Gender Town", half-sisters Manzo, Crocker and Buxton Gardner, otherwise known as the Gardner Gals, travel to the one gender town of Steinheim on the planet Prozack to recover a family heirloom belonging to their ancestor Guy. It was stolen by Lizzie Jordan, a descendant of Hal Jordan. While there, they meet Annie Wargo, a descendant of Bucky.
    • In Aquaman Annual #2, two storytellers, one of whom believes that Aquaman was a great hero and one of whom believes that he was a terrible tyrant, each claim to be directly descended from him.
    • In Starman Annual #1, Lawrence Dare is a descendant of the O'Dare family, many of whom were members of Opal City's police force and friends of Jack Knight, the second Starman.
  • Maika Halfwolf of Monstress has these on both sides of her family, her mother was the infamous Moriko Halfwolf who is feared by both the Arcanics and Cumea, though why isn't clear. It is known that Moriko's mother, the Wolf Queen, is the most powerful living Ancient and de facto leader of the Dawn Court while her sister is the warlord known as "The Sword of the East". Meanwhile Maika's father, whoever he was, was one of the last descendants of the Shaman-Empress.
  • Superman:
    • In The Krypton Chronicles, Superman and Supergirl trace their lineage directly back to Erok-El, the founder of the first Kryptonian civilization.
    • In The Kents mini-series, Lois Lane mentions that she is related to famous abolitionist and Civil War general Jim Lane.
  • Tintin has an amusing variation in the Secret of the Unicorn arc. When a newspaper leaks out that Tintin and Haddock are going to hunt for Rackham the Red's treasure, the Captain's apartment is flooded for people claiming to be Rackham's descendant and therefore have a claim on the treasure. Unfortunately for them, Captain Haddock also (or rather: actually) has a famous ancestor in the Chevalier de Hadocque, Rackham's Arch-Nemesis, and makes it known that his ancestor's bellicose nature sometimes flares up without warning. The Thom(p)sons are crushed by the stampede of claimants running away.
  • In Ultimate Fantastic Four, Victor Van Damme can trace his lineage directly back to Vlad Tepes Dracula. And, since this is Ultimate Marvel, he probably really was a vampire.
  • Wynonna Earp is the great-great-granddaughter of Wyatt Earp.
  • X-Men: Colossus, a.k.a. Piotr Rasputin, is a direct descendant of the infamous Grigori Rasputin. Piotr doesn't claim kinship with any pride.

    Comic Strips 
  • Nero: The character Jan Spier is the last surviving descendant of Flemish resistance fighter Jan Breydel, who fought in the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302.
  • Royanne, a minor character in Peanuts, claimed to be the great-granddaughter of Roy Hobbs. Her life was ruined when Charlie Brown told her that Roy Hobbs was a fictional character.
  • Inverted in Safe Havens: thanks to Time Travel being involved, Samantha and Dave are the grandparents of Leonardo da Vinci.

    Fan Works 
  • A.A. Pessimal: The Smith-Rhodes family are the direct descendants of Sto Plains-born adventurer Sir Cecil Smith-Rhodes, who in the twilight of the Ankh-Moporkian Empire, did a bit of free-enterprise empire-building by conquering a substantial slice of Howondaland and, with superb modesty, naming it Smith-Rhodesia after himself.note  His descendants try, with varying degrees of success, to cope with this. A great-grand-daughter of Sir Cecil's visits the country named after her family in Gap Year Adventures. She is mortified to be treated as if she were some sort of visiting royalty.
  • Better Bones AU: Tall Shadow and Moon Shadow are descendants of Broken Shadow, the cat infamous for taking in the future tyrant Hollyleaf. Tall Shadow leaves the mountains and takes a leadership role amongst the new Clans in part to make the Shadow name known for something other than this.
  • Bound Destinies Trilogy: In Blood and Spirit, Sheik is stated to be descended from the original Skyward Sword-era Impa.
  • The Bridge:
    • The reason why Prince Blueblood is considered a prince is because he is the descendant of Princess Platinum, one of the founders of Equestria.
    • Nearly every member of Flash Sentry's family was a legendary soldier, guard, or police officer. This causes him some angst, as he tries to live up to their reputation, but he's constantly late to battles and disasters because he was distracted helping ponies with minor problems. The Sentry family's ancestor is Commander Hurricane, which the family only lets members know after they have proven themselves, to prevent them from getting swelled heads.
  • Broken Souls: Dunstan Pettigrew is a distant relative of Peter Pettigrew. It's implied that he took an espionage mission to Hong Kong in order to get away from his name's reputation.
  • Castlevania: Nocturne of Ruin: Oliver of the Order of Ecclesia, and the fic's shopkeeper, is a descendant of Shanoa, protagonist of Castlevania Orderof Ecclesia.
  • Emael Mosekhesailho: Two cast members are descendants of characters from the Rihannsu novels. Sahuel t'Khnialmnae is a direct descendant of Aidoann t'Khnialmnae, Ael t'Rllaillieu's Number Two, and it's mentioned she's got a lot of heritage to live up to. Meanwhile Senator Tal'Aura is said to be a member of Kaveth Ship-Clan, another group that fought alongside Ael.
  • Fallout: Equestria: This is very common. Littlepip and her cousin Velvet Remedy are descendants of Applejack, and Blackjack is descended from Twilight Sparkle's bastard daughter with Big Mac.
  • FFS, I Believe in You: Isolda is implied to be descended from the King Zora who sells Link the Flippers in A Link to the Past.
  • A Great and Powerful Legacy revolves around Twilight finding out that the famous wizard Starswirl has a living descendant named "Beatrix Lulamoon". Twilight is more than a little stunned to find out that this Beatrix is better known as "Trixie".
  • The Immortal Game: Twilight Sparkle is descended from Astor Coruscare, one of the greatest warriors and generals in the history of Equestria.
  • The Life and Times of a Winning Pony:
    • Cloud Kicker, like all members of her clan, can eventually trace her (admittedly indirect) descent to Shadow Kicker, one of Equestria’s most celebrated heroes and a champion of Celestia’s during the Lunar Rebellion.
    • Twilight and her family are direct descendants of Sunbeam Sparkle, Celestia's vizier and the Archmagus of Canterlot during the Rebellion, and another prominent figure in the war, though her adoptive daughter Midnight Sparkle. Sunset Shimmer can also trace her ancestry to Sunbeam, by means of Sunbeam’s bastard son Daylight Shimmer.
    • Discussed and deconstructed in The Freeport Venture. After Sunset gets her hands on an enchanted sword wielded by a historical revolutionary leader and beloved figure from Freeport's history, Kukri starts theorizing that Sunset could be related to them. The evidence, however, is entirely circumstantial, and Sunset points out that it wouldn't mean anything if she was; Trying to claim a relation without hard evidence would be seen as a power play, and even if she did get undeniable evidence, current Freeport government would refuse or just ignore it.
  • The Lone Traveler, in his voyages around the Fan Fic multiverse, encounters this quite a bit. Because of variations between universes exactly who is descended from whom varies, apart from canon examples like Lord Voldemort being descended from Salazar Slytherin.
  • A Moth to a Flame: Marcy has a Jaw Drop moment when The Core reveals she's a direct descendant of King Wu of Chu from Imperial China.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: Ash, Delia, and Delia's father are implied to be descended from Sir Aaron, which is later confirmed in later expanded stories.
  • Pony POV Series: Many the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic characters are descendants of My Little Pony 'n Friends and My Little Pony Tales characters, many of whom were considered great heroes.
  • Power Rangers GPX: Maria Aparicio, the GPX Yellow Ranger, claims to be related to famous Venezuelan Simon Bolivar. Her case is more plausible, however, since she says he's a very distant relative.

  • In the 1989 DTV skiffy movie Arena 1989, Steve Armstrong plays a short-order cook attempting to win the intergalactic boxing championship; it's mentioned briefly that he's a direct descendant of Neil Armstrong.
  • In Back to the Future Part II, a video in Biff's Pleasure Palace in 1985-A invites you to learn the amazing history of the Tannen family, starting with Biff's great grandfather Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen, fastest gun in the west. And in Part III, Marty ends up going back to 1885 to save Doc from being murdered by Buford over a matter of $80, engaging Buford in a showdown.
  • In Buffalo Soldiers, Colonel Berman discovers he's a descendant of a Confederate General named John Bell Hood. His boasting about it doesn't go as he'd imagined.
  • Forrest Gump claims that he got his name from his ancestor Nathan Bedford Forrest, founder of the Ku Klux Klan. For his part, he has no idea what the Klan really is and his mother chose that name as a reminder of how humans do stupid things.
  • In The Island (1980), John David Nau—leader of the pirate settlement—is the descendant of infamous pirate Jean-David Nau a.k.a. François l'Olonnais.
  • Nope: Horse rancher Emerald Haywood states that her and her brother's great-great-great-grandfather was the first man on film, the jockey who appeared in Edweard Muybridge's Sallie Gardner.
    Em: "There's another 'great'."
  • In Sky High (2005), the main character has two very famous superheroes as his parents. It appears to be a subversion of this trope, until he gains loads of powers. The busdriver is a true subversion.
  • According to Quentin Tarantino, Django Freeman and Broomhilda Von Shaft are the ancestors of John Shaft.
  • In Turning Red, Mei's ancestor, Sun Yee, is the originator of the Lee family's hereditary ability to transform into a giant red panda and is revered with a large part of the Lee family temple dedicated to her.

  • Ax had this a lot in Animorphs. His brother, Elfangor, was an Andalite war hero and his name was instantly recognized by many Andalite characters when it got mentioned (although Ax didn't always say it himself).
  • In Breakfast of Champions, Eddie Key, the black driver of the Martha Simmons Memorial Mobile Disaster Unit, is a direct descendant of Francis Scott Key.
  • In Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, Jose Bauer might be the daughter of science fiction author Philip José Farmer.
  • All the magicians in the Children of the Red King series are descendants of the Red King, from whom they get their powers.
  • The Chronicles of Prydain:
    • In the first book, Eilonwy (who turns out to be Princess Eilonwy) happens to mention that hers are the people of Llyr Half-Speech, the Sea King. In later books she self-identifies as "Eilonwy daughter of Angharad daughter of Regat of the house of Llyr." This is a bit of a subversion of the trope, however, because in Prydain it's perfectly normal to introduce yourself as 'son of' or 'daughter of.'
    • Fflewder Fflam, a wandering bard (and a king, albeit of a very small, self-sufficient kingdom) is distantly related to the Sons of Don. This, unfortunately, means that he has no choice but to leave Prydain with the rest of his kin at the end of the series.
  • Sitara in The Crosses-Boy's Counselor claims that her mother's ancestry can be traced back to a Spanish lord from the 1850s, who passed down a lamb recipe through the family line to Sitara's grandmother, who then passed it on to Sitara herself.
  • John Henry Booth in Cthulhu Armageddon is a Dramatic Irony one, Booth is revealed in The Tree of Azathoth to be a relative of John Wilkes Booth (despite being Black). However, he's a relative of him through his brother, Edwin Booth, who famously rescued Lincoln's son from death so he is not a Villainous Legacy.
  • Vimes from Discworld is a descendant of 'Stoneface' Vimes, who beheaded the last king of Ankh-Morpork, Lorenzo the Kind (he, emphasis, wasn't). Vimes seems quite proud of this.
    Rhys: You had an ancestor, I believe, who was a regicide?
    Vimes: I've always thought that was a bit unfair. I mean, he only killed one king. It's not as if it was a hobby.
  • In the Doctor Who New Adventures, the Doctor's traveling companion Roz Forrester comes from a rich and powerful African family in the 30th century who claim descent in the direct line from Nelson Mandela, and she'll occasionally namedrop her famous ancestor if she's feeling disrespected. This is sometimes played for laughs, such as when she does it in the 1940s to someone who has no way of knowing who Nelson Mandela is and wouldn't be impressed anyway.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward, lacking a male role model (his father is abusive), models his behaviour and principles after what he has read about his famous ancestor, Seleg. When Oreg, who has known Seleg, unintentionally reveals a nasty fact about him, Ward has an identity crisis, as he has always tried to be like Seleg, but now doesn't want to be, anymore.
  • The Da Vinci Code: The holy grail, who in this story is actually a bloodline and not an object, is the descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
  • It turns out in The Dresden Files that all the Knights of the Cross we've met so far are descended from royalty - Shiro from the last king of Okinawa, Sanya from Saladin and Michael from Charlemagne.
    • It's been estimated by genealogists that nearly all persons with European ancestry are descended from Charlemagne.
    • In a non-genetic example (but still relevant due to the importance of 'apprenticeship lineage' among wizards), the collection of journals owned by Ebeneezer McCoy strongly suggests that Harry himself carries magical knowledge originally taught by Merlin. The first one. This may explain why exactly Knights of the Cross keep trusting their swords to him.
  • In Dune, it is revealed that Paul Atredies is descended from Agamemnon. This is part of the trope that good people are descended from good people and bad people from bad people.
    • Agammemnon was actually quite the S.O.B. and his family - the House of Atreus - was noted for its murderous proclivities - not to mentions divine curses and general bad luck.
    • The trope that Good People have Good Ancestors is very strongly averted in the Dune books: Paul's maternal grandfather is Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and his maternal grandmother is Reverend Mother Helen Mohiam, though no one but a very select few Bene Gesserit know this until later (even Paul's mother is not aware of it when the book opens). Thanks to the Bene Gesserit breeding program, it's implied that most noble families are related to each other more closely than they realize.
  • Heather Key from Elliott & Win is descended from Francis Scott Key, which is why her family's bakery is called the Star-Spangled Cookie.
  • Paridell from The Faerie Queene claims to be a descendent of Paris, kidnapper of Helen and hero of Troy. This foreshadows that he will kidnap the bride of his host (fittingly named Hellenore), as Paris did.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Voldemort is a descendant of Salazar Slytherin, one of Hogwarts' founders, from whom he gets his ability to speak to snakes. Given that Salazar Slytherin was born when the Kingdom of England was at its infancy, this is either much less impressive than it sounds or the Gaunt family are extremely inbred even by the standards of British pureblood wizards. If the ring is any indication, he's also the descendant of Cadmus Peverell, the creator of the Resurrection Stone.
    • Similarly, Sybil Trelawney decided that having a seer for a grandmother entitled her to a spot teaching Divination. She did actually have the gift of foresight, but it didn't work that often.
    • Harry himself is apparently the direct descendant of Ignotus Peverell, the creator of the Invisibility Cloak that is currently in his possession.
    • In Order of the Phoenix, Sirius tells Harry that most pureblood families are related to each other in some way or another. It's simply a product of having a limited choice in who one's children can marry to keep the bloodline "clean". It's noted that even the Blacks and the Weasleys (who are purebloods themselves) share common ancestors. This explains quite a lot about British magical society, really...
  • Played for humor in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy as Mr L. Prosser (the man who wants to build a bypass through Arthur's home) is revealed as a direct male line descendant of Genghis Khan but the blood only shows up as predilection for little fur hats, a preference for axes over the door, and the occasional disturbing visions of screaming Mongol hordes on horses, houses on fire, and fleeing peasants with spears sticking out of their backs.
    • Which turns into a Mythology Gag in the sixth book of the trilogy, where rich oaf Buff Orpington is a descendant of the Viking hero Sigurd, the only outward sign of which is his fondness for mead and sealskin leggings.
  • The Bond family's coat of Arms The World Is Not Enough from the James Bond novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service is the same as Real Life's Sir Thomas Bond's. The relation is implied but never outright stated.
  • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Samirah al Abbas is a descendant of Amir ibn Fadlan, a medieval-era Abbasid emissary to the Kievan Rus' who documented the way of life of the Varangians (Norse settlers of the Kievan Rus').
  • Charles Stross' The Merchant Princes Series has an example similar to the Charlie Bone series: Worldwalking is enabled through a recessive gene which, 300 years ago, was possessed by exactly one man. All the worldwalkers now are therefore not only descended from him, but descended from him through both parents.
  • The protagonist of J.C. Hutchins' novel Personal Effects: Dark Art, Zach Taylor, is a many times great-grandson of U.S. President Zachary Taylor.
  • Red Dwarf book Last Human has an inversion: Rimmer's one-night stand with Yvonne McGruder led to Michael McGruder's birth. To spare her embarrassment, she tells Michael that Rimmer was a magnificent hero of a man (an idea reinforced by the fact that he was the only crewman resurrected as a hologram). Michael tries to emulate his father's made-up achievements and becomes one of the best officers of the Space Corps, freezing himself in time so he can meet up with his heroic father. Needless to say that when they meet, he isn't pleased.
  • The Reynard Cycle:
    • Duke Nobel claims to be descended from Aquilia, the man who delivered the killing blow to Stormbringer, the Demon King. He considers this to be proof of his claim to the throne of Arcasia.
    • Tartarin, Count Terrien's heir, will happily tell anyone he meets that he was named for his ancestor, Tartarin the Lionslayer. Both Rukenaw and Hirsent are bored to tears by this during a sea voyage. Later, he is slain by a large cat chimera with a mane of snakes.
  • Sun Jian from Romance of the Three Kingdoms, along with his children, all claim descent from Sun Tzu.
  • One of the major enemies of The Shadow was Shiwan Khan, who claimed to be the last descendant of Genghis Khan. While he probably was descended from the great Khan, his notion of being the last descendant of Genghis Khan is almost certainly nonsense - Genghis really got around, as did his sons and their sons, and as a result of this roughly a twentieth of Asia can trace their lineage back to the man.
  • Sherlock Holmes mentions at one point that his grandmother was a sister of the French artist Vernet (though he does not specify which of the several artists in the Vernet family he is referring to), and attributes his and his brother's unusual abilities to their having "art in the blood".
  • In Small Persons with Wings, Mellie Turpin is descended from Archbishop Turpin, one of the Twelve Peers of Charlemagne. In 775, the Parvi Pennati gave him their moonstone in exchange for sanctuary. Ever since then, the Turpins have safeguarded the moonstone, and have been obligated to provide a home to the Parvi whenever they need one.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Several great families have historically important characters as their ancestors.
    • House Stark descends from Brandon the Builder, who built Winterfell and the Wall and possibly helped with Storm's End.
    • House Baratheon has Orys Baratheon, Aegon the Conqueror's best friend (and possibly half-brother) as its founder, while they descend from Durran Godsgrief, the builder of Storm's End through Orys' wife, Argella Durrandon.
    • House Lannister descends from Lann the Clever, who reportedly stole Casterly Rock from its original owners, the Casterlys.
    • House Arryn descends from Artys Arryn, who united all the Andals that had established themselves in the Vale against the First Men led by King Robar II Royce (himself ancestor of House Royce). Artys may also be a descendant from Hugor of the Hill, the mythical First King of the Andals and an important figure for the Faith of the Seven.
    • House Martell's most famous ancestor is Queen Nymeria of the Rhoynar, who led the survivors of the war against the Valyrians to Dorne and married Prince Mors Martell.
    • House Tyrell is a cadet branch of House Gardener, descended from mythical king Garth Greenhand. In fact, it is a common knowledge that half of the noble houses in the Reach are descendants of Garth Greenhand.
  • Robert A. Heinlein lampshades this in Time Enough for Love, saying a lizard he knows boasts of its descent from a brontosaurus, on its mother's side.
  • Waltharius: Werinhard is a descendant of Pandarus, the Trojan noble who, as the poem alludes to (v. 728-29), broke a truce between Greeks and Trojans by shooting an arrow at Menelaos on the command of Athena (The Iliad). Like his (in)famous ancestor, Werinhard fights with bow and arrow, but fails to do any damage, then tries to attack Walther (who is on foot) from horseback, but is quickly dispatched without putting up much of a fight, and then begs for his life before Walther beheads him. Werinhard's all-around dishonorable behavior may indicate that Pandarus' dishonorable breaking of the truce has rubbed off on his descendant.
  • In the Shira Calpurnia trilogy of Warhammer 40,000 novels, the Calpurnia family hails from Ultramar and is noted as having a long history of members with distinguished careers in many different areas of Imperial government and military, even two who became Ultramarines. Shira is commended at one point for seeing this as something to strive to build on and not something to use to lord over others.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm:
    • The villainous Lily tells the other new recruits at her evil Wizarding School that she is a descendant of Merlin, arguably the most famous wizard to ever exist.
    • Gelila, one of Lily's classmates, claims to be descended from Empress Seble Wongel of the Ethiopian Empire. Unlike Lily, Gelila doesn't seem to think this makes her an inherently better witch than her peers. It does, however, motivate her to learn dark magic so that she can rebuild that empire and take the throne which she believes should be hers by right.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On 30 Rock, Tracy Jordan learns he is a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings. It triggers some Character Development, as he tries to make a serious film re-interpreting his life on a shoestring budget.
  • Played twice in Bones; Agent Seely Booth is distantly related to John Wilkes Booth, and isn't too proud about it, while Angela Montenegro's father is Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. Her full name is Angela Pearly Gates Montenegro, "Pearly Gates" being what Gibbons named his guitar.
    • Booth's ancestry is brought up in the episode where they were trying to prove that Lee Harvey Oswald really did act alone. Booth, being an Army Ranger sniper, manages to perfectly copy Oswald's shots with a replica of the assassin's rifle.
    • While Angela's father is played by the real Billy Gibbons and is known to be a famous Texas rocker, his name has never been mentioned so it's never been officially established on the show that Gibbons is playing "Billy Gibbons" and not "a fictional famous guitarist from Texas who resembles Billy Gibbons."
  • Bottom: When someone asks Eddie Hitler jokingly whether he's related to Adolf, Eddie enthusiastically answers: "Yeah!"
  • California Dreams: In "Family Tree", Lorena discovers that she is descended from Benito Juárez, who served as President of Mexico from 1858 to 1872, after researching her family tree for a school project.
  • On CSI, Doc Robbins' wife looked into his family tree in 'Genetic Disorder' and there's a snippet at the end where he finds he's distantly related to William "Buffalo Bill" Cody.
  • Downton Abbey has "Great aunt" Roberta Crawley, who loaded the guns at Lucknow during the Sepoy Mutiny.
  • Rose, on The Golden Girls, believed for years that Bob Hope was her biological father.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Deconstructed in the lore found on the Blu-Ray. The Hound points out that his House was founded by his grandfather who was kennelmaster to Tywin Lannister's father while most of Westeros' great noble families trace their lineage back to someone from the Age of Heroes whose existence are often so vague it's impossible to prove or disprove their claims. For example, the Starks are apparently descended from Brandon the Builder, Lannisters from Lann the Clever, Baratheons from Durran Godsgrief & Orys Baratheon, and the Tyrells from Garth Greenhand & Harlan Tyrell.
    • Daenerys, along with other members of the current House Targaryen such as Viserys, Maester Aemon and Jon Snow, are directly descended from Aegon the Conqueror, the first king to unite all of Westeros except Dorne. Through the female line, even House Baratheon and House Martell are Aegon's descendants. Furthermore, the current House Targaryen descends from Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen and her son, since her brother and rival king died without male issue.
  • In Head of the Class, Darlene discovers that she is descended from Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings.
  • In an episode of Lizzie McGuire, Matt pretends for a school report that their family in descended from, among others, Elvis Presley and Davy Crockett. Leads to An Aesop about lying.
  • In Jekyll and Hyde (2015) Robert is the grandson of Dr. Jekyll, Max is the grandson of Gabriel Utterson, and Lily is the granddaughter of Sir Danvers Carew.
  • The King Loves: Won's mother is Kublai Khan's daughter, making him the great-great-grandson of Genghis Khan. Her classmates are impressed as they have no idea who Juárez is.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Elros Tar-Minyatur, Elrond's brother, was the fist king of Numenor. And despite the Numenorians' hatred for Elves, he is fondly remembered by his own descendants, such as Ar-Pharazôn. His own son, Kemen, Queen Miriel, Elendil and his three children, Anárion, Isildur and Eärien, all trace their ancestry back to Elros.
  • The Outpost: All Blackbloods are descendants of Aster, one of a god-like ancient species whose union with a human woman created the first Blackblood, who fathered all the rest.
  • Octavian happily uses this on Rome. Even though the father he speaks so highly of was actually his great-uncle, and Octavian found out he was adopted when he read Caesar's will.
    • Brutus also has a Famous Ancestor, being descended from the man who rid Rome of its last king. His mother and the men who conspire to kill Caesar often bring it up.
  • Roots: The Next Generations: Mrs. Bulfinch tells Alex Haley that she has traced her family's lineage back to William the Conqueror.
  • Every member of the teams of Samurai Sentai Shinkenger and Ninja Sentai Kakuranger (bar sixth rangers) have a famous ancestor - more specifically, they were the original group.
  • Sliders: In "Way Out West", Ben Siegel is the grandson of Bugsy Siegel.
  • Spock of Star Trek fame claims descent from Arthur Conan Doyle (or perhaps from Sherlock Holmes, depending on how you wish to interpret the quote) through his human mother, Amanda Grayson.
    • And Miles O'Brien claims descent from the legendary Irish king Brian Boru. This is at least justified, as Boru is traditionally believed to have founded the O'Brien clan.
    • Subverted with Kathryn Janeway as she was inspired to join Starfleet by the stories of her ancestor, Shannon O'Donnell, an original Mars Colonist who single-handedly pushed through a massive tower project against huge opposition. As it turns out, Shannon was never an astronaut, was only a consultant on the tower and there was no massive opposition and somehow the stories grew over the years to enhance her impact. Janeway's big worry? How she'll break it to her aunt that the great family legend is false.
    • La’an Noonian Singh is a descendant to the infamous Augment dictator Khan. Sadly for her, this has caused her a lot of grief.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Profile in Silver", Professor Joseph Fitzgerald, a time traveling historian from 2172, is a descendant of John F. Kennedy.
  • On The West Wing, Pres. Josiah Bartlett is supposed to be descended from the delegate to the Constitutional Convention of the same name.
  • D'Angelo from The Wire is the grandson of Butch Stamford. We don't know who he was but the mention of his name alone unnerves the hardest Baltimore police.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • The Bible states that Jesus Christ is a descendant of King David as this was one of the requirements to be the Jewish Messiah, making this trope Older Than Feudalism.
    • Given that the Bible tells us that David's son Solomon had over 700 wives and 300 concubines, it's quite safe to say that David has a lot of descendants. Jesus's mother Mary was one of them is very plausible. In fact, by the time Jesus was born, it's likely that most Jews were descended from King David. In fact Jesus is given two completely different lines of descent from David in different books, which could be read as Mary and Joseph's different bloodlines or as different parts of the same family tree. (One other interpretation is that one of these genealogies actually traces the succession rather than strict generational descent, thus establishing Jesus as both a descendant of King David and the rightful heir to the kingship of Israel.)
    • Ancestry in general was a big deal to the Jews in the Bible, given that each of the 12 tribes was named for the son of Jacob/Israel who was the patriarch of the tribe. On top of that, members of the tribe of Levi were destined to work in the temple, and only the descendants of Aaron could be priests.
    • Fun fact: the word "Semite" means one who is descended from Shem, who was one of the three sons of Noah. He was an ancestor of Abraham, and thus of all Abraham's descendants, Jews and Arabs both (remember, the Arabs claim descent from Abraham through Ishmael).
  • Owing to folk etymology, the Ancient Greeks believed the Persians to be descended from Perses, son of Perseus and Andromeda, which would make Zeus the ancestor of at least 60% of the population of Iran. (In reality, the term Persia has no relation to either Perses or Perseus).

  • Classic radio-serial (and later comic book, movie and TV) hero The Green Hornet (real name Britt Reid) was the grand-nephew of John Reid, better known as The Lone Ranger. The origins of the Reid family fortune could be traced back to the Lone Ranger's original silver mine.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ars Magica: The major virtue Mythic Blood makes a character the descendant of a legendary wizard, dragon, or supernatural entity, granting them both bonus powers and a personality flaw related to their ancestry. However, it's common enough in Magical Society not to grant any bonus Reputation in its own right.
  • The Legend of the Five Rings game relies heavily on this. Each character can roll on heritage tables at character creation, which essentially gives the PC randomly selected bonuses or penalties based on who his ancestors were. Some of the magic calls upon ancestors, including one high-level spell that summons an ancestor to scold your enemies into submission. Finally, one of the Disadvantages is "Haunted", which means that one of the PC's ancestors dislikes him and occasionally shows up in ghostly form to heckle him during the roleplaying session.

  • Brand by Henrik Ibsen spoofed it in one sentence, when some of his townspeople bragged about their famous viking heritage: "A dwarf will get no taller by having Goliath as his great-grandfather".

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • The first few games of the franchise are centered around Desmond Miles learning how to be an Assassin from his famous ancestors via Genetic Memory.
    • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey: It's revealed that Pythagoras is the real father of the Eagle Bearer, who is already the descendant of the legendary Greek king Leonidas of Sparta through their mother Myrrine. The final few scenes of the Legacy of the First Blade DLC reveal that the Eagle Bearer's son Elpidos is not just related to Darius but he's also the ancestor of Aya/Amunet, the co-founder of the Assassin Brotherhood in Origins.
  • James Lee Quatermain of Deadfall Adventures is the great-grandson of Allan Quatermain, H. Rider Haggard's adventurer. James Lee doesn't have much respect for his forebear, but is quite happy to live off his diaries. His attitude changes when he finds himself amidst the kind of adventure in which Allan would have revelled.
  • In the Dragon Age franchise the dwarven city of Orzammar has a long history and relatively tiny population, so pretty much everyone there acts this way. Dwarves who live elsewhere will almost always bring it up as a reason they hate going there.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • The sole claim to fame of the protagonist of the original Dragon Quest is that he's the descendant of the legendary hero Loto/Roto/Erdrick.
    • The protagonists of Dragon Quest II are royalty because they are the descendants of the descendant of aforementioned legendary hero who married the Princess he rescued.
    • In Dragon Quest III, you're the descendant of a different legendary hero, and ultimately receive the title of Loto/Erdrick, making them the Famous Ancestor of the prior games' protagonists.
    • Dragon Quest V: Queen Cleohatra doesn't say which of the Dragon Quest IV Hero's companions is her ancestor, but the abilities of her lineage would seem to imply that it's fortuneteller/healer Meena.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, supposed Thieves' Guild traitor Karliah is, according to the journals of her deceased lover Gallus, the illegitimate granddaughter of God-Emperor Tiber Septim and Barenziah, the Dunmeri Queen and later Queen Mother of Morrowind. Given that all others of the Septim bloodline have perished, this would make her the legitimate heir to the Empire. However, most accepted lore says that there is a very slim chance at best that she is actually descended from Tiber Septim. Her mother, Barenziah's illegitimate daughter Dralsi Indoril, claims that her father is Drayven Indoril. Barenziah's pregnancies by Septim and Drayven were about 300 years apart, meaning that Dralsi would no doubt know if Drayven was her father or not judging by her own age. Further, according the in-game book The Real Barenziah (one of the more apocryphal tales of Septim's life), Septim had Barenziah's pregnancy by him forcibly aborted. Still, being Barenziah's granddaughter is pretty distinctive in its own right, regardless of her exact lineage. Furthermore, being part of the Indoril line means that she is likely a distant relative of the ancient Dunmeri hero Indoril Nerevar, whose reincarnation played a major part in the events of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
  • Eternal Radiance: Ruby is descended from Zaneth, a famous mage who accidentally caused the Akleim Cataclysm and helped establish Veritas's academy.
  • In Fallout 2 the PC is The Chosen One, just because he/she is the grandchild of the original Vault Dweller, the hero of the first game.
  • In the Fatal Frame franchise, Kunihiko Asou is a 19th century folklorist in Japan, famous for his research into the occult and the supernatural. Throughout the series, some of his descendants are either playable (twins Mio and Mayu Amakura in II; Misaki Asou in IV, Ren Hojo in V) or are major characters (Yuu Asou in III). This relationship becomes a major plot point in Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In the Archanea games, Marth is the great grand nephew of the hero, Anri.
    • Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776 have all the nobles descended from the Twelve Crusaders who received Superhuman Transfusion from Dragons.
    • Binding Blade and Blazing Blade have many of the royalty and nobles of the continent descended from the legendary generals of the human dragon/war. Protagonists, Eliwood, Hector, and Roy are specifically all descendants of Roland. In a lighter example, Canas is Niime's son, but he's more surprised that people know about her than anything and doesn't think it's anything to make a fuss about (much to Pent's shock).
    • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, the royal family of the Halidom of Ylisse, including Supporting Leader Chrom, are all descended from a nameless hero only called the First Exalt.
  • Hidden City has a line of side-quests aptly named "Famous Ancestors", which reveals how the various characters are actually descended from famous figures (e.g. the Huntress is descended from Joan of Arc, Juliette from St. Walpurga, and the player character from St. George).
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • In Lionheart: Legacy of the Crusader the Player Character, whichever one you choose, is a descendant of Richard the Lionheart, who in the game's Alternate History had magical powers from being tied to an elemental spirit that's now possessing you. Of course, by the game's setting of 1588 Richard has had many descendants and your character "shouldn't expect to be sitting on the throne of England any time soon."
  • In the Neo Geo game Ninja Commando, Ryu Eagle claims to be Fuuma Kotaro the 32nd.
  • Susano of Ōkami is a highly ineffectual and ineffective wandering swordsman whose claim to fame is being a descendant of Nagi, the legendary warrior who defeated and sealed away Orochi 100 years ago. This turns out to be a major plot point in the first part of the game: Susano, being absolutely sick of everybody constantly reminding him of his ancestry, decides to pull out the sword imprisoning Orochi in order to prove the legend of Nagi wasn't true. We also eventually learn Nagi was actually as much of a wuss as Susano is, but, like Susano, got really lucky and had lots of help from Amaterasu.
  • In Persona 2, during the Sengoku Period, the samurai Tatsunoshin Suou, princess Maihime Amano, and ninja Junnosuke Kuroda assassinated the warlord Kiyotada Sumaru. In modern day Sumaru City lives their descendants: Tatsuya Suou (and his brother Katsuya), Maya Amano, and Jun Kurosu, respectively. Maya and the Suou brothers can eventually summon their ancestors as Personae to fight against villains, including a resurrected Kiyotada. It's heavily implied that none of these ancestors actually existed, but were actually created by rumours.
  • Fred Bonaparte, direct descendant of Napoleon in Psychonauts, is a notable inversion as he has all the direct opposite qualities of his ancestor i.e. tall, uncompetitive and strategically ineffectual. He has the same hat though.
  • Tales of the Abyss: Tear (and hence Van, too) are descendants of Yulia Yue who originally read the Score, which is why they know Yulia's Hymns and can sing and understand them.
  • Tomb Raider (2013): Sam Nishimura, Lara's best friend, is descended from Himiko, the Sun Queen of Yamatai, a fact that Sam takes much pride in until everything that happens to her and Lara on the island.
  • Remilia Scarlet of the Touhou Project series claims to be a descendant of Vlad Ţepeş. She's lying.
  • Nathan Drake of Uncharted claims to be a descendant of Sir Francis Drake, despite history stating that Francis Drake never had any children. According to Drake's Deception, however, this statement is simply a Changeling Fantasy.

  • In Homestuck, all of the trolls have these. There's Marquise Spinneret Mindfang, Orphaner Dualscar, the Grand Highblood, Neophyte Redglare, The Sufferer, Expatriate Darkleer, The Summoner, Her Imperious Condescension, The Ψiioniic, The Disciple, The Dolorosa and The Handmaid. These ancestors go to Vriska, Eridan, Gamzee, Terezi, Karkat, Equius, Tavros, Feferi, Sollux, Nepeta, Kanaya and Aradia respectively.
    • This is actually a subversion though. The Act 5 trolls are actually the direct parents of their "Ancestors," who were sent back into their distant past to become figures of legend, with the exception of The Handmaid, whose meteor landed in the future.
      • Although the above is not quite true, due to the fact that both ancestors and present trolls were created at the same time through ectobiology. Admittedly it was Karkat doing the ectobiology, but still...
  • Charlie Blackmane in The Story of Anima is descended from a legendary pirate clan.
  • In SwordCat Princess, Kathryn is the semi-secret daughter of High King Brian Boru of Ireland. Julia and James acknowledge that she is the daughter of Lord Oberon.

    Web Original 
  • Subverted in "Ayla and the Late Trevor James Goodkind", the intro novel for Phase in the Whateley Universe. Trevor, a scion of one of the richest, most powerful families on the planet, scoffs at the filthy rich Walcutts:
    Trevor: Oh sure, the Walcutts have made similar claims, but in my opinion they're a bunch of poseurs. "We're descended from one of the signers of the Constitution!" Oh, big deal, I mean, who isn't?
  • Lenneth Archimedes from Fate/Nuovo Guerra combines this with Beethoven Was an Alien Spy. As her last name implies, she is descended from Archimedes, who turns out to have been a magus, and was able to pass his magical research to a son (who continued the bloodline) before the Romans caught and killed him. Given how magi from the Nasu Verse operate, direct descent is the norm, and so her claims are more valid than most.
  • In RWBY, Jaune Arc comes from a famous, heroic lineage, and his great-great-grandfather was a war hero. Ironically, while he may have great leadership potential and tactical instincts, his actual combat skills or Huntsman knowledge were so lacking that he had to run away from home and forge his transcripts to get into Beacon Academy and gain a chance to live up to his family legacy. His Famed In-Story teammate Pyrrha ends up secretly training him to help him catch-up to his classmates.
  • In Camp Camp, Space Kid says his real name is Neil Armstrong and that he's named after his great-grandfather. Everyone brushes him off until "Parents Day", when his Honorary Uncle, Buzz Aldrin, shows up in place of Space Kid's parents and confirms that he is in fact Neil Armstrong Jr., the great-grandson of the first man to walk on the moon.
  • C0DA, written by former The Elder Scrolls series writer/designer Michael Kirkbride, takes place in the far distant future of TES universe. Jubal-lun-Sul, the protagonist, is a descendant of Alandro Sul, a shield-bearer for St. Nerevar. Jubal brings up his lineage several times.

    Western Animation 
  • Each of the main characters from Class of the Titans is descended from a different Greek hero: Jason, Odysseus, Atalantanote , Hercules, Theseus, Achilles, and Narcissus. One episode also introduces a descendant of Medea, who gets brainwashed into going after Jason's descendant.
  • Family Guy:
    • Played for laughs when Peter claims to be descended from Adolf Hitler's brother, Peter Hitler. (Although given that it's Peter, the legitimacy of this claim is questionable, especially considering that none of Hitler’s brothers were named Peter.)
    • In a later episode, Stewie finds out that's he's the descendant of Leonardo da Vinci, through his mother Lois.
    Brian: Wait, that means you're Italian.
    Stewie: Of course! My love for Spaghetti-Os and smoking on the toilet! It all fits!
  • The titular character of Milo Murphy's Law is a descendant of Edward A. Murphy Jr., the man who Murphy's Law was named after. In the show, said law is a Hereditary Curse that has given Murphy and all of his male descendants ridiculously bad luck.
  • Averted in The Owl House. It's implied over the course of the show (and confirmed via Word of God) that the Clawthorne family are direct descendants of Caleb Wittebane, the first human to live on the Boiling Isles. However, their ancestor's very exsistance has been lost to time by the present day in part due to the actions of his younger brother and murderer Philip.
  • Staci from Total Drama: Revenge of the Island brags about her ancestors' feats. They're Blatant Lies.
  • The Venture Brothers:
    • Rusty Venture (father of the titular brothers Hank and Dean) comes from a long line of super scientists. It's subverted as he's not a very good scientist and is constantly shown to be living in the shadow of his much more famous father. Later episodes show him grooming his son Dean (Hank not so much) to be a super scientist as well.
    • Phantom Limb is the grandson of Fantômas.
  • Vikingskool: Erik is the descendant of famous but later disgraced Viking hero Olaf Forkbeard, whose magic sword is now in his possession. His desire to become as great of a hero as Olaf and reclaim his family's heroic image is a major aspect of his character.

    Real Life 
  • There is a scientist fellow who claims that 0.5% of the world's males have a genetic lineage traceable to Genghis Khan, or his close male relatives, but this is disputed too.
    • Timur the Lame claimed descent from Genghis Khan, but this was false. However, he did marry a Genghid princess, so his descendants—the most famous of whom being the Mughals of India—were descended from Genghis Khan.
  • Several US presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and both Roosevelts, plus other famous Americans such as Robert E. Lee and Humphrey Bogart, claimed descent from European royalty. George W. Bush is known to be a descendant of Edward I, who ruled England from 1272 to 1307.
  • Voice actor Shun'ichi Toki is descended from Toki Yorizumi, a Muromachi period daimyō.
  • Tom Hanks is a relative of Abe Lincoln by way of Abe's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Referenced in Toy Story 2 when the first thing Jessie the cowgirl says upon meeting the Hanks-voiced Woody is "Sweet Mother of Abraham Lincoln!"
  • John Scalzi is distantly related to John Wilkes Booth. He's joked about getting a twitchy feeling around five-dollar bills.
  • The British royal family is descended from The Prophet Muhammad (via Arab kings of Spain).
    • Also, in 2011, then Prince Charles publicly claimed that heredity proves that he is a descendant of Vlad the Impaler, the Romanian tyrant who was the inspiration for Dracula. The claim accompanied his announcement of a pledge to help conserve the forested areas of Transylvania.
  • Julius Caesar claimed descent from the Greek mythological hero Aeneas. Or more accurately, Roman poet Virgil claimed Caesar was descended from Aeneas. Aeneas is also the son of Venus.
    • Descent from the heroes of Troy was a common claim of medieval royalty. Aeneas is said to be the ancestor of both the kings of Rome (through his dependent Romulus) and the kings of Britain (through his great-grandson Brutus). The Merovingian dynasty claimed descent from Hector, which for starters Hector's son to have survived the war in defiance of the actual myths.
  • Alexander the Great claimed descent from Hercules, who according to the geneaology would be his seventeen-times great-grandfather. This was the traditional claim of the Argead dynasty of Macedon, but he also claimed descent via his mother from Achilles. If badass is hereditary, his claims weren't far-fetched. Since Hercules' father was Zeus and Achilles' mother was Thetis, one of the Nereides, and his father was a grandson of Zeus, this means Alexander also claimed to descend from an Olympian.
  • Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis, is a descendant of Nasser al-Din Shah, Shah of Persia from 1848 to 1896. She herself puts it down, noting that kings of that period had hundreds of wives and thousands of children, so there were plenty of others with similar claims.
  • Christopher Lee was a direct descendant of Charlemagne and had the documentation to prove it. This inspired him to record the symphonic metal concept album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross.
    • Of course, since Charlemagne had lots of children with several wives and concubines and lived twelve centuries ago (which would correspond to forty generations until the present day) he has many descendants. German genealogists already joked that "every German is descended from Charlemagne" at least a hundred years ago, and the same also goes for the French. The fact that Lee was able to document it was the impressive part.
    • Lee had a further connection to notable medieval ancestry: his mother's family (through whom he claimed descent from Charlemagne) were loyal servants of Frederick Barbarossa and given the title of count for their trouble. Descendants of Barbarossa certainly married into the Carandini comital line.
  • It was common during the Middle Ages for English kings to claim to be descended from King Arthur. Henry VII, who besides being King of England was also Welsh (and therefore had a particularly strong reason for emphasising Arthur, whom the Welsh considered one of their own and was thus especially popular in Wales) hired Welsh genealogists to "prove" that he was a lineal descendant of the legendary king, and named his eldest son Arthur to shore up the connection. (Poor Prince Arthur died young, leaving his position as first in line and his bride to a more famous Tudor.)
  • Frank Zappa discovered in 1984 that there actually lived a composer in the 18th century Italy called Francesco Zappa. Even though they weren't related in any way Zappa did feel they were kindred spirits, as this composer also wrote music that was a little bit eccentric and faded away in obscurity after his death. Seeing that Zappa's own music was also overlooked and ignored by people in his own era he decided to bring this music out on record: Francesco Zappa. Despite explaining in the liner notes that Francesco Zappa was not some kind of pseudonym, and the man wasn't an ancestor of his, many listeners still assumed it was.
  • The paternal grandmother of actress-model-socialite Brooke Shields is Dona Marina Torlonia di Civitella-Cesi. Through her, Shields is a descendant of:
  • King Louis IX of France is the only French monarch canonized by the Catholic Church and produced many children with his wife Margaret of Provence. While his direct Capetian line had long died down, through that vast progeny his descendants managed to enter several monarchies in both Europe and the Americas such as Brazil, Mexico, the Holy Roman Empire, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Russia, Romania, Sweden, and Spain, the last of whom is still active (the House of Bourbon being founded by Louis' son Robert).
  • Jean-Michel Jarre is
    • the son of the movie composer Maurice Jarre (Doctor Zhivago)
    • also, the son of France Pejot, an important member of La Résistance
    • and the grandson of André Jarre, co-inventor of the mixing desk; he wouldn't be where he is now without his grandpa's creativity
  • Chris Peppler, the actor for Krim Steinbelt in Kamen Rider Drive, is a descendant of Akechi Mitsuhide via his grandmother’s lineage. Knowledge of this fact spread when he did a Role Reprise of the character for Kamen Rider Zi-O: Over Quartzer, which saw the heroes visit the Sengoku era and meet Krim’s ancestor being courted by Oda Nobunaga.
  • Nathan Fillion is descended from American Civil War general Jubal Early Joss Whedon named a black bounty hunter in Firefly after him as a kind of Take That! at the real Early’s racism.
  • Katharine Hepburn, who played Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter, actually is descended from Eleanor... from both of Eleanor's marriages.
  • According to his biography, J. R. R. Tolkien was descended from none other than the Hohenzollerns, the very same royal family that ruled Imperial Germany. Apocryphally, Bilbo's ancestor Bullroarer in The Hobbit is based on Tolkien's own ancestor George von Hohenzollern, who fought in the Siege of Vienna.