Click on the images to see larger pictures to decide for yourself if there is a family resemblance or not.
Chris Child at the New England Historic Genealogical Society took up the challenge and confirmed the connection in about 30 minutes. The story was posted on the Associated Press wire at: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gyXVIfZ2F2CTuuxH3_93vuTP-ywwD928D6QO0.
I don't get too excited about claims that a politician is related to someone else of fame. After all, I suspect that most anyone whose ancestors have been in this country at least 5 or 6 generations is probably related to everyone else whose ancestors have been in this country at least 5 or 6 generations. I don't find that to be terribly newsworthy.
What I do find interesting in this article is the SPEED with which Chris Child found the answers. I don't know if that is "news" or not, but I certainly am impressed.
Hey Chris, can you check on a couple of my brick wall ancestors?
Here is the announcement from the New England Historic Genealogical Society:
Boston Genealogical Society Confirms Obama and “Wild Bill” Hickok are Cousins
Obama Family lore talks of distant relationship to “Wild Bill” Hickok.
Boston, MA – July 30, 2008 – New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston has confirmed what Presidential candidate Barack Obama mentioned today in a Springfield Missouri speech.
During the speech, Senator Obama said, “If Senator McCain wants a debate about taxes in this campaign, I’m ready. Wild Bill Hickok had his first duel in the town square here. And the family legend is that he is a distant cousin of mine.”
Obama spoke of a family lore that tells of his being a distant cousin to legendary American west lawman, gambler, and gunfighter “Wild Bill” Hickok. NEHGS Staff genealogist Chris Child was quickly able to track down the information and confirm that it is indeed, true.
Obama and Hickok are sixth cousins, six-times removed. Their common ancestor is Thomas Blossom, who came to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1629 from Leiden, Holland. Obama’s 4th great-grandfather, Jacob Dunham, was 6th cousins with Wild Bill. Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann, is also a Dunham.
“The ancestry of Wild Bill Hickok was published by NEHGS some years back, which showed he descended from the Blossom family of Cape Cod, an early family written up in one of our scholarly publications,” said Child. He added, “Since we had also recently done the ancestry of Senator Obama, finding this connection was a little easier.”
Founded in 1845, New England Historic Genealogical Society is the country's oldest and largest non-profit genealogical organization. Located in Boston, NEHGS collects, preserves, and interprets materials that help make accessible the histories of families in America. The NEHGS research library, one of the most respected genealogical libraries in the field, is home to millions books, journals, manuscripts, photographs, microfilms, documents, records, and artifacts that date back more than four centuries. The award-winning web site www.NewEnglandAncestors.org offers access to more than 110 million names in 2,400 searchable databases. NEHGS has more than 23,000 members nationally.