Friday, May 20, 2011

Obama To Visit His Irish Ancestral Homeland

On Monday President Barack Obama will visit the ancestral homeland of his Irish ancestors. Did you know he was of Irish descent? Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, who has helped document that part of his life, plans to be among the thousands on hand when he visits Moneygall in County Offaly, Ireland. Her Huffington Post article about how she was able to trace his Irish ancestor, Fulmoth Kearney, is interesting reading. As with many of our own ancestors, both Fulmouth's given name and surname endured many spelling variations. There is also an eight minute documentary by Gabriel Murray about Obama's Irish roots on YouTube. Murray notes that the Kennedy family departed Ireland 2 days before Barack's. 

This is another interesting twist of genealogical fate. Both Barack, "W" Bush and I share descent from a Plymouth Colony family. For more on this story search "Obama" in the box in the upper left corner of this blog page.

Back to Ireland. An LATimes story from 2009, "Moneygall, Ireland: A village of Obama family-tree huggers," is interesting reading. The lively YouTube song mentioned in this article "There's no one as Irish as Barack OBama by the Corrigan Brothers" will help you learn the correct pronunciation of "Barack." Stay tuned for their sequel for next week's Presidential visit. 

Those of you who research genealogy will be interested to note the Obama's family records were traced down by a combination of technology (iPhone) and community action. The phone belonged to the parish priest and the records had been taken home by a parishioner for safekeeping. You never know where the record you need may be located.

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