PROVO, UT--(Marketwire - Apr 24, 2012) - With the NFL Draft kicking off Thursday evening, Ancestry.com (NASDAQ: ACOM), the world's largest online family history resource, has discovered that the expected first pick, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, is related to Hall of Fame Chicago Bears defensive lineman William Roy "Link" Lyman.
Luck, hailed as the finest pro quarterback prospect in over a decade and Lyman, credited with revolutionizing the defensive line position, are related through their common ancestor John Lyman. An immigrant to America born in England in the early 1600s, John Lyman is Luck's 9th great-grandfather and Lyman's 7th great-grandfather, making the pair 8th cousins, twice removed.
Recruited out of the University of Nebraska in 1922, "Link" Lyman contributed to what most consider to be the first ever professional football powerhouse, the famed Canton Bulldogs, where he coincidentally also wore Andrew Luck's number 12. A part of four NFL championship teams from 1922-1933, Lyman was also a member of the Chicago Bears' famous 1920's cross-country barnstorming tour that featured Red Grange. He is credited for pioneering a sliding, shifting style of defensive line play that confused opponents and made him one of the most respected players of the era. "Link" Lyman was inducted into the second Pro Football Hall of Fame class in 1964.
In 90 years since Lyman helped pioneer professional football, the game and its players have changed substantially. While the defensive line is traditionally known for its larger stature, Andrew Luck's 6'4, 235 lb. frame is actually larger than that of his cousin, who weighed in at just 6'2, 233 lbs, which was actually considered large for the day. Today's defensive linemen commonly tip the scales at 300 lbs.
"There is often speculation when someone is so talented in a given field that it must 'be in their blood,'" said Anastasia Harman, Lead Family Historian at Ancestry.com. "It's well known that Andrew Luck's father Oliver was also an NFL quarterback. But connecting his ancestry to an NFL pioneer and Hall of Famer is very exciting, especially as he embarks on what is forecasted to be his own very successful professional career."
To learn more about your ancestors, Hall of Famers or not, visit www.ancestry.com.
Ancestry.com Inc. (NASDAQ: ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than 1.8 million paying subscribers. More than 9 billion records have been added to the site in the past 15 years. Ancestry users have created more than 34 million family trees containing approximately 4 billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site, Ancestry.com offers several localized Web sites designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.