CNN is hyping this story, but when you dig into it, there’s no firm evidence, only piecing together assumptions and conjecture.
Obama’s family tree connection to first African American slave (emphasis mine):
His family tree has been linked to Brad Pitt, Sarah Palin and both Presidents Bush but now President Barack Obama may be related to the first documented African slave in pre-revolutionary America….
“We have two of the most significant Africans in our country’s history being directly related to each other,” Joseph Shumway, an Ancestry.com genealogist, told CNN….
Yet the greatest obstacle was the volume of records that had been lost or destroyed over the last three hundred plus years. The researchers had to use clues to cobble together some of the facts…. Through these deductions genealogists were able to trace the president’s lineage to a Caucasian family in revolutionary Virginia named Bunch.
But the question remained: were any sub-Saharan Africans also members of the Bunch family?
Shumway said the team “gleaned” every possible clue and came to the conclusion the Caucasian Bunch family was indeed related to African American John Punch.
“[A]ll of the surviving evidence we studied very strongly points to conclusion John Bunch is the son of John Punch,” said Shumway.
For instance, in 1640 population counts show there were only 150 Africans living in pre-revolutionary Virginia. Shumway points to other clues such as the phonetic similarities between Bunch and John Punch’s name. He says that in colonial times spellings were not standardized and genealogists routinely find the same surname spelled quite differently. In addition Shumway found evidence that the family that owned the slave John Punch married and lived for generations with members of the Bunch family.
“[A] lot of pieces of circumstantial evidence pointed at John Punch as the only logical candidate who could fit as this African American ancestor,” of the Bunch family said Shumway.
Et tu, Ancestry.com? Why have you sold your integrity by “cobbling” together facts, making “deductions” and ultimately telling us that Obama is related to slave “John Punch” because the last name sounds like Obama’s mother’s ancestor “Bunch.”
I’m just waiting for someone to link Obama’s first black slave ancestor to Elizabeth Warren’s Cherokee ancestor, you know, the one with the high cheekbones.DONATE
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