On Monday (July 30), the genealogy experts at the website Ancestry.com unveiled research that connected President Barack Obama to the first African slave enslaved for life in America: John Punch was revealed to be the President’s 11th great-grandfather, this according to painstaking research done by the website. However, the interesting angle of the revelation is that the link to Punch came by way of Obama’s late White mother, Ann Dunham.
Watch Obama’s tie to slave John Punch here:
Through DNA analysis, property, and marriage records, researchers determined that John Punch was bought to America before 1640 and later captured that year after attempting to escape in Maryland. He was then extradited and tried in Virginia, where he was ordered by the court to become a permanent slave. Punch would later father children with a White woman, who would pass on her freed status to their children who then became landowners. Punch fathered John Bunch, with Bunch’s children marrying in to White families later.
Obama’s mother is from Kansas and his father was from Kenya. According Ancestry.com’s press release, genealogist Elizabeth Shown Mills said that the findings were as accurate as possible.
“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. Genealogical research on individuals who lived hundreds of years ago can never definitively prove that one man fathered another, but this research meets the highest standards and can be offered with confidence,” she said.
Genealogist Joseph Shumway added, “We have two of the most-significant Africans in our country’s history being directly related to each other.”
To learn more about Ancestry.com’s research on President Barack Obama’s family tree, follow this link.