President Barack Obama found out years ago he had an Irish ancestor who fled the potato famine in Ireland in 1850. He can now claim 28 living relatives who also descended from that Irishman, including a Vietnam veteran, a school nurse and a displeased Arizona Republican.Others are also reticent to know they're related to this miserable failure.
The president's newly identified relatives are revealed in a study released to The Associated Press by Ancestry.com, a family history website whose genealogists also traced descendants of 23 other Irish passengers on the ship that brought Falmouth Kearney to the United States when he was 19.
The survey allowed genealogists to further trace branches in Obama's family tree and others who arrived on the ship, known as the Marmion, on March 20, 1850.
According to the survey, the passengers' descendants live in Canada, Syria and throughout the United States. Among Obama's newly identified relatives is 83-year-old Dorma Lee Reese, of Tucson, Ariz.
"I'm not a Democrat, so I can't say I clapped," said Reese, a retired brain-imaging technologist. "I don't appreciate what he's done by any means, but I do appreciate that he holds that office."
Kearney arrived with his brother-in-law William and his wife, Margaret Cleary. They were destined for Ohio, where Kearney's relative had left property in his name. Kearney married, had 10 children and later settled in Indiana, where he worked as a farmer.
Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, was a descendant of one of Kearney's daughters, Mary Ann Kearney, and Jacob William Dunham. The White House didn't immediately return a message Wednesday seeking comment on the president's Irish heritage.
Another distant relative of Mr Obama, Roma Joy Palmer, 66, of Mulvane, Kansas, a Republican, said: ‘I really don't like to claim a relationship to Obama.’
The retired insurer added: ‘He is not my favourite president. I don't have anything against him personally. But I don't think we have the same agenda.’
They fail to mention one of Obama's more famous relatives, our friend Dr. Milton Wolf.