Zach Braff related to Mitt Romney via 17th century 'witch'

A genealogist discovers that actor Zach Braff is related to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney through a woman who died at the Salem witch trials.

Actor Zach Braff is related to former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney -- through a 17th century woman who was tried as a witch.

The "Garden State" star was alerted to the bizarre find by fans on Twitter earlier this year, but he admits it took a little while before he accepted that the rumor could very well be true, thanks to his mother Anne Hutchinson Maynard's ancestry. During an appearance on U.S. talk show "Rove LA" on Saturday, Braff said, "It's very bizarre because believe it or not, I thought it was another prank on the Internet because I've been killed off on the Internet, I came out of the closet on the Internet, a lot of things have happened to me on the web and I start getting wind that I was related to Mitt Romney through a witch!

"That sounds like a joke, but this genealogist, who I guess has way too much time on his hands, went and tracked my mother's maiden name and figured out she grew up in Rhode Island and discovered that Mitt Romney and I are related through the very last woman who was killed through the Salem witch trials. And I thought it was like, a tabloid thing, (but) it was a reputable genealogy journal, so yeah, Mitt and I are related through a witch!"

Braff isn't the only celebrity to share a familial link to a Republican politician -- Halle Berry was recently revealed to be a distant relative of former U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Researching celebrity family trees has grown in popularity in recent years following the success of TV genealogy shows like "Who Do You Think You Are?," which has allowed stars including actors Martin Sheen, Rita Wilson, Rob Lowe and "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling to explore their roots.