Saturday, June 21, 2008

Obama a good ol' Virginia boy?


Today's Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star has an amusing article suggesting that Barack Obama is a third cousin nine times removed of James Madison's, and (horrors!) a fifth cousin eight times removed of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
In addition to his father's village in Africa, Barack Obama may be able to add Montpelier and Stratford Hall to his list of ancestral homes.

According to a venerable genealogical society, the Illinois senator and presumptive Democratic nominee for president is a distant cousin of both President James Madison, who was born in King George County in 1751, and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, who was born in 1807 at Stratford in Westmoreland County.
Madison's and Lee's descendants are having none of it:
"We can't validate it one way or the other," an official of the Society of Lees of Virginia said of Roberts' findings. The official did not wish to be named.

Frederick Madison Smith, president of The National Society of the Madison Family Descendants, said Roberts' claims are "without merit as now presented." Smith criticized a lack of genealogical documentation in Roberts' work.

"In the absence of a proved genealogy, fully documented for each generation and individual claimed, we cannot consider these celebrity claims to be either 'authoritative' or valid, Smith wrote in an e-mail.
Genealogy is a funny thing. With my Dad's family being from Ireland and my Mom's from Sweden, I could probably trace some tenuous ancestry to both Brian Boru and the present King of Sweden. But I'm not gonna bother.

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