A WOMAN who researches family trees for a living has discovered that her own line – stretching back well over a thousand years - has links to Viking royalty, John F. Kennedy and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Karina Hooper, from Clanfield, near Carterton, has names in her family tree like King Canute, which she has traced back to 545 AD.

It includes eye-catching names in the ancient Danish monarchy such as Sweyn Forkbeard, Harald Bluetooth, Gorm the Old and Thyra.

The 47-year-old family history researcher has been looking into her own family tree for more than 12 years but is still amazed by her own ‘mind-blowing’ ancestors.

She has found a host of stories about intriguing relatives, having researched her mother’s line back to Scandinavian royalty, which ruled parts of Britain centuries ago.

Mrs Hooper, who is married, admits that her husband is ‘not interested at all’, but says her three children find parts of the research really interesting.

The somewhat tenuous link to Kennedy and Schwarzenegger comes from one female journalist: Mrs Hooper’s eighth cousin, Maria Shriver. She is the assassinated president’s niece; and, as the Austrian bodybuilder’s ex-wife, a former first lady of California.

That, Mrs Hooper says, makes JFK the brother in law of her seventh cousin, once removed, and Mr Schwarzenneger the husband of her eighth cousin.

Her descendants also include a line of the Danish monarchy and two other US Presidents.

Mrs Hooper has used various techniques in her work and believes there are around 100 ‘famous’ people in her extended family.

Two years ago, she turned the hobby into a profession, after numerous people asked her for help and advice with their own research.

Her company is called ‘End of the Rainbow’, to symbolise her position as the youngest of three siblings with the maiden name Rainbow.

She said: “I just do it because I love the job – it’s more of a lifestyle thing.

“My humble Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire ancestors had a noble beginning. Because of my local ancestry I set up lots of groups on social media to help others looking into their own local family history, to share memories and more.

“Recently I have discovered that I am related to the early Viking kings and queens, that came to Britain to sit on the throne.

“I also discovered last week that my ancestor Siward earl of Northumbria fought against the Scottish king known as ‘Macbeth’ [who Shakespeare based the famous play upon] and defeated him.”

She continued: “An ancestor that was a rich merchant built a hospital in Coventry for the poor that is still there, called Bond’s hospital.”

Mrs Hooper has also uncovered links to actors Alex Pettyfer, Mark Rylance and Oliver Reed; actresses Claire Foy and Gladys o’ Shea; American presidents Benjamin and William Harrison; and an American civil war hero.

Having had her DNA tested, she found out that she was roughly 53 per cent Scandinavian, 32 per cent English and 11 per cent Irish, Scottish and Welsh.