Sherlock star releated to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Genealogy sleuths have discovered that Benedict Cumberbatch is directly related to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

It turns out that the star of the hit BBC series Sherlock and the author who created Sherlock Holmes more than 100 years ago are 16th cousins, twice removed, according to researchers at

“We love that through family history we can connect the creator of this brilliant detective and the captivating actor who portrays him,” said Ancestry historian Lisa Elzey in a statement. “Making family history connections is similar to piecing together a mysterious puzzle, one that the great Sherlock Holmes himself would be intrigued to solve.”

Cumberbatch and Doyle share a common ancestor in John of Gaunt, who was the Duke of Lancaster and a close friend of The Canterbury Tales poet Geoffrey Chaucer. John of Gaunt, born around 1340, was also the fourth son of King Edward III of England — another ancestor Cumberbatch and Doyle share.

“How rare that an actor in a major series has the chance to play a character created by a relative, especially one as iconic as Sherlock Holmes,” Ancestry historian Jennifer Utley said in a statement. “Imagine our surprise to discover that the connecting link between these two is British royalty. Seems fitting.”

See the genealogical connection between the author and the actor in the chart below.


Representatives for Cumberbatch did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment. Sherlock‘s fourth season, which stars Cumberbatch as well as Martin Freeman as John Watson, arrives Sunday on PBS Masterpiece.

Credit: EW