Opposition research is one of the first duties of the political aide. Who are your opponent's friends, where is he getting his money, how did he buy his home (I was doing this when Duke Cunningham was still just a small-time crook ripping off Navy flyers), you'll be surprised what title searches can reveal. But, if this don't beat all for opposition research then I don't know shit.
Dick Cheney has researched Barack Obama back eight generations. That's a lot of work. What dirt could they hope to discover digging back that far? My only guess is they wanted to find some embarrassing genealogical connection to smear him with. And they did. Lynne Cheney herself today slandered Obama with the charge that he and Dick Cheney are distant relations. That is dirty politics.