Ex-policeman’s 42,000 ancestors on 6ft family tree (and they include Walt Disney, Winston Churchill and King Louis XVIII)

A former policeman has spent the last 30 years creating a 6ft family tree of 42,000 names.

David Sykes, 70, has traced his ancestry back to the 1600s in his garden shed and has found he is related to many iconic historical figures.

David Sykes

David Sykes

Mr Sykes, of Como Road, Aylesbury, claims his cousins include Barack Obama (23rd, twice removed) Marilyn Monroe (25th, once removed), Sir Winston Churchill (23rd), George Clooney (26th, twice removed), Walt Disney (25th, once removed) and King Louis XVIII of France (21st, six times removed).

Mr Sykes said: “I am just fortunate to have found the tree that I have today which is astronomical in its own history.

“It’s quite mind-boggling how it is all stitched in together.”

Mr Sykes often works on finding more of his ancestors for up to 14 hours a day.

He said: “You get so engrossed that you don’t even know it’s time to go to bed!

“I’ve had plenty of comments from my neighbour to say the office light has been left on over night only to realise that I have been there with a whiskey and I just keep plumbing in to it.

“But it’s something you can’t let go of.”

Mr Sykes has used a combination of websites, including Ancestry.com and admitted without the internet, he would be ‘none the wiser’.

He said: “People are telling me that everyone has got somebody in their background like this and yes they have.

“But when I have done other members of the family and traced them back five, six hundred years, they don’t have the same historical facts that I’ve got.

Mr Sykes has also patented a joist hanger invention to speed up the construction of fences and bridges.

But his fascination with family trees occupies his retirement and will continue to do so.

He said: “There is still a lot more, gaps to fill in. I need to go back over the information and check it is all right.”