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A House Divided
Posted at 12:27 PM ET, 07/30/2012

Obama related to country’s first slave

Ancestry.com has released a study that concludes that President Obama, through his white mother, is related to John Punch, the first African person in this country to be enslaved for life.

According to Ancestry.com, Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, had ancestors who were white landowners in Colonial Virginia who were descended from an African man, and records indicate that man was  Punch.

That would make Obama the 11th great-grandson of Punch, according to a news release from the subscription-based online family history research company.

According to the study, Punch was an indentured servant who tried to escape his servitude in 1640 and for punishment was enslaved for life. This is the first documented case of slavery for life in the colonies and occurred decades before initial slave laws were enacted in Virginia.

Records indicate that he had children with a white woman whose free status was passed on to their offspring. Punch’s descendants went on to become successful landowners in the slave state of Virginia.

Other Ancestry.com studies have documented Obama’s Irish and German roots.

By Linda Wheeler  |  12:27 PM ET, 07/30/2012

 

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