Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Michelle Obama's Roots - Video and Article

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak has worked on the ancestry and family history of several current political figures. Her latest subject is Michelle (Robinson) Obama, wife of President Barack Obama (my cousin!).

Megan's search for the First Lady's heritage, and in particular the migration from the American South to Chicago, Illinois, are presented in the video. The video includes details about Michelle's Native and Irish heritage, free and enslaved ancestors, ten states that claim a piece of Michelle's past, and which relative invented a marble shooter!

The video is online at Roots Television in Michelle Obama's Roots.

There is an article in The New York Times today, by Rachel L. Swarns and Jodi Kantor titled "In First Lady’s Roots, a Complex Path From Slavery." The article provides more details about the life of Melvina, one of Michelle's slave ancestors.
Both the video and the article are excellent pieces of genealogy research work that demonstrate that genealogy research can unearth significant details in African-American families back to the time of the Civil War, and occasionally back into the 1700s.

The stories of Michelle's ancestors also demonstrate, to me at least, that any person in present-day America can succeed in life through education and determination.

Now I'm wondering if there are any genea-bloggers related to Michelle?

Nice work, Megan! I love it when genealogy research receive favorable publicity in the media.

UPDATED: I wonder if there is a male line from the son Dolphus Shields down to present-day Shields males. If so, then a Y-DNA test might confirm a white Shields paternity for Dolphus if they can find a white male Shields descendant from the 1850's Shields family.

No comments: