STAR-BULLETIN / DECEMBER 2004
Barrack Obama speaks at a Democratic Party fundraiser in Honolulu a month after winning his seat in the U.S. Senate. CLICK FOR LARGE
Obama's presidential lineage
Sen. Barack Obama has commander-in-chief genes
KAILUA-KONA » A Big Island genealogist says presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Barack Obama has some ancestral ties to the White House.
Bruce Harrison, founder of the Waikoloa-based Family Forest Project, said he found links between the Democratic senator from Illinois and Presidents George Washington, James Madison, Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter.
Millisecond Publishing Co., the company that was first to establish the cousin relationship between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry in the 2004 race, traced Obama's maternal ancestors in establishing his relationship to the former presidents.
Harrison said Obama's exact relationships are calculations based on a wealth of fully sourced knowledge within the "Family Forest," his company's proprietary family history research tool.
The company searched the ancestors of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, dating back many centuries.
He said the Family Forest shows Dunham having a number of her ancestral pathways leading back to early colonial Virginia and New England, and some extend back for many centuries into Europe.
One of her ancestral pathways leads to one of Obama's 12th great-grandfathers, the Hon. Laurence Washington, who built Sulgrave Manor in Northamptonshire, England.
Over the course of five centuries, according to recorded history, he became the ancestor of Washington, Carter, Gen. George S. Patton, Gov. Adlai Stevenson and Quincy Jones, Harrison said.
"Of course, the Honorable Laurence Washington is also the ancestor of at least a million other living people, including some very famous ones, but most are everyday folks," he said.
Harrison, who has spent tens of thousands of hours poring over historical documents and entering the data into a genealogy software program, said links also popped up to four other presidential contenders.
The Hawaii-born Obama shares ancestors with former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Arizona Sen. John McCain, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Harrison, who founded the Family Forest Project with wife Kristine in 1995, said the ancestry research program has enough data now to map generation-by-generation ancestral pathways of up to 2 billion people. If all the charts were printed out, he said, it would top 30 billion pages.