23 May 2011

President Obama's Irish Roots

It is a feel-good story involving genealogy and family history.
The Internet featured a flood of news reports about the visit President Barack Obama paid today (Monday 23 May 2011) to the small Irish village of Moneygall, in south-central  Ireland. It was the home village of his great-great-great grandfather Falmouth Kearney, a shoemaker before he emigrated to America. The stories of this improbable and memorable pilgrimage for America's first black president into his Irish past include reports of the high interest among the locals in seeing the U.S. president during his visit.
Obama walked the thronged Main Street of Moneygall, where Kearney, his ancestor on his Kansas-born mother's side, lived until leaving for the United States in 1850 at the height of Ireland's Great Famine. Obama's roots in the town were discovered during the 2008 presidential campaign (for a report, see http://blog.cleveland.com/openers/2008/10/kin.html).
The president even got to hug a distant relative: Henry Healy, a 26-year-old accountant for a plumbing firm.
Falmouth Kearney immigrated to Ohio and is buried in Fayette County. It is amazing to do a Google search on his name and see how many websites have information on him and his connection to Barack Obama.

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