TWO generations up her family tree, on Hillary Clinton’s father’s side, is Hugh Rodham, who was born at Oxhill, near Stanley.

The year was 1879 and the area was an industrial powerhouse with many pits across the coal rich countryside.

But three years after Hugh’s birth, his own father, a miner named Jonathan Rodham, for reasons unknown, moved his family to Pennsylvania in the United States, where the boy was raised and went on to marry a Welsh woman named Hannah Jones.

The couple’s son, also named Hugh, was born in 1911 in Scranton, and their granddaughter, Hillary Diane Rodham entered the world in Chicago, Illinois, in 1947.

Her fascinating North-East connections emerged more than 20 years ago when her husband, Bill Clinton, was elected President of the USA, and she in turn became First Lady.

But recently, the 67-year-old former Secretary of State, has announced she is running for the top job herself in next year’s Presidential elections to replace Barack Obama, who beat her to become the Democrat nominee in 2008.

Historian Jack Hair, who researched her family history in early 90s, lives less than 50 yards from the spot where her grandfather was born over 135 years ago.

He said: “The idea that someone could go from a simple place like Stanley and in two generations their granddaughter could be put up for the president of the United States of America, the biggest job in the world, is incredible.

“I told this story to the children at Greenland Primary School a few weeks ago to give them some inspiration and say that anything is possible. You have to believe that. This girl’s granddad went to America and in two generations she was First Lady and could be president. She has a good chance of winning too.”

The late Durham County councillor, Tony Moore, wrote to the White House when Mrs Clinton was First Lady, inviting her to visit to trace her roots, but his offer was politely declined.

Mr Hair said he would like to renew the offer should she be successful in her bid to become the superpower’s Commander-in-Chief, but accepts she may be a ‘bit too busy at the minute’.

It is not beyond the bounds of possibility.

Former president George W Bush visited Tony Blair’s Sedgefield constituency in November 2003 when both men were in power.

And in 1977 Jimmy Carter won over North-East crowds in Newcastle by famously greeting them with the Geordie phrase ‘Howay the Lads’.

Brian Boggon, 57, a father-of-two, who works for Darlington Borough Council, has known about his connection to Hillary from the time she first entered the White House over two decades ago.

He has traced his genealogy and it emerged the pair share great, great, great grandparents: Jonathan Rodham, who was born in 1779 at Birtley Fell, and Ann Parkinson, born in 1786 in Bishop Auckland.

Mr Boggon, the council’s assistant director of regeneration, said: “When I was researching my ancestry it was long before it was fashionable. I worked at Durham County Council next to the County Archives and that made research over lunchtimes very convenient.

“There was a chap called Andy Guy, from Beamish Museum, who was researching the Rodhams, and he contacted me and we put the family trees together.

“It turns out Hillary and I would be distant cousins a few times removed.

“It is quite interesting. Whether or not I ever get to see her or not is a different matter. I’d be interested to meet her as I would any relative.

“I am more interested in the social history of the time and why people emigrated from the area. I would imagine the reason lies in poverty.”