Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Pat's Mr. O'Bama

The Irish connection

Ronan McGreevy

Thu, Nov 06, 2008

A look at Obama's family tree

The story of Barack Obama's Irish roots begins with Moneygall shoemaker Fulmouth Kearney, who emigrated to the United States in 1850.

He was born in 1830 and died in 1878.

Shortly after arriving in America, he married Ohio-born Charlotte Holloway.

The couple had eight children, one of whom was Mary Ann Kearney, Barack Obama's great-great grandmother.

She married Jacob William Dunham. The couple lived in Kansas and the name survived another three generations down to Obama's mother, who was born Stanley Ann Dunham and was also brought up in Kansas.

Barack Obama's great-grandfather was Ralph Emerson Dunham.

He married Ruth Lucille Armour, who committed suicide aged just 26.

Their youngest child was Stanley Armour Dunham, Obama's grandfather and the husband of Madelyn Lee Payne, Obama's grandmother, who died just two days before the election.

The couple had a pivotal role in bringing up Obama. Their daughter, Obama's mother, married Barack Hussein Obama Snr from Kenya while the couple were studying at the University of Hawaii, but divorced two years later.

Their son and future US president was born on August 4th, 1961.

Moneygall native Henry Healy says Obama is related to him through Sarah Healy who married Joseph Kearney, Fulmouth Kearney's great grandfather, some time in the late 18th century.

He would be a ninth cousin of Obama.

In Ohio where Fulmouth Kearney originally settled, there are several families of Kearneys who can claim Irish descent and kinship with Obama.

Family tree: Fulmouth Kearney married Charlotte Holloway; their daughter Mary Ann Kearney married Jacob William Dunham; their son Ralph Emerson Dunham married Ruth Lucille Armour; their son Stanley Armour Dunham married Madelyn Lee Payne; Stanley Ann Dunham married Barack Obama snr; their son is Barack Obama jnr, the 44th president of the United States.

© 2008 The Irish Times

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