President Barack Obama

Genealogists Say Obama Could Be Descended From First Documented Slave

ICTMN Staff
7/31/12

Could President Barack Obama, the first African America president of the United States of America, be related to the first documented African slave in America? Genealogists at Ancestry.com say it’s likely.

Their research from Virginia records and DNA analysis shows that Obama could be the 11th great-grandson of John Punch, an indentured servant in Colonial Virginia. Punch was enslaved for life in 1640 after an escape attempt.

This connection isn’t the only news to come out. The connection to Punch isn’t through Obama’s African father, but through his white mother, Stanley Ann Dunham.

Ancestry.com said in a press release that they determined using DNA analysis that Punch fathered children with a white woman, passing her free status to them.

“Punch’s descendants went on to be free, successful land owners in a Virginia entrenched in slavery,” the release states.

While genealogical research is rarely conclusive, as Elizabeth Warren discovered in her journey to figure out if her family stories of Cherokee ancestry were true, Elizabeth Shown Mills, an expert in southern research and past president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, feels Ancestry.com’s findings are sound.

“A careful consideration of the evidence convinces me that the Y-DNA evidence of African origin is indisputable, and the surviving paper trail points solely to John Punch as the logical candidate,” Mills said in the release.

“Two of the most historically significant African Americans in the history of our country are amazingly directly related,” said Ancestry.com genealogist Joseph Shumway in the release. “John Punch was more than likely the genesis of legalized slavery in America. But after centuries of suffering, the Civil War, and decades of civil rights efforts, his 11th great-grandson became the leader of the free world and the ultimate realization of the American Dream.”

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tmsyr11's picture
tmsyr11
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
Barack Obama wasn't born to parents unlike all people (race/color/creed). Affirmative Action invented Barack Obama. So the story of being born in the first place and having slave ancestors is FALSE.

delosnavajos's picture
delosnavajos
Submitted by delosnavajos on
There are a number of problems with the assertion that he is connected to the first documented American slave. The term American was first used to describe the indigenous population of the continent of America and was later incorporated by the English colonists to describe themselves. There were other so called American slaves prior to Mr. Punch including one that was that is quite famous. Tisquantum (Squanto), a Patuxet, had been enslaved in 1614 with others in what would become the US by Thomas Hunt and brought to Spain. These were among the first Americans enslaved by the English. The Spanish also enslaved the Americans, the first being brought to Europe by Columbus. The first African slave in what would become the US was Estevanico who came with the Spanish Narváez expedition and later traveled with explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. Estevanico was killed at Zuni Pueblo, in what would become the State of New Mexico in 1539, a hundred plus years prior to this `first US slave´.
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