Obama is a 10th-Generation Grandson of Edward FitzRandolph

There’s a lot of Obama family history to be found in newspapers this week. The following teaser is from a very good article in the January 18, 2009 Boston Herald (article initially written for the Cape Cod Times).

A young Barack Obama with maternal grandfather, Stanley Dunham

According to the family history, compiled by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Obama is a 10th-generation grandson of Edward FitzRandolph, a 17th century farmer who arrived in Barnstable from Scituate in 1639, after having journeyed from England, according to “Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families,” a book of historical Barnstable families, published in 1979.

“He is called in deeds a yeoman, or farmer, and does not appear to have been employed in any official station,” the book reads of FitzRandolph, who is believed to have fathered four children in Barnstable. “He had received a good education for those times and … he probably belonged to a good family.”

After 30 years in Barnstable, Edward FitzRandolph and his family moved on to Piscataway, N.J., where the family became involved in politics and helped found Princeton University. A gate bearing the FitzRandolph name still stands on the Princeton campus.

The FitzRandolph connection to the Obama bloodline launched centuries later when Edward FitzRandolph’s great-granddaughter Prudence married a man named Shubael Smith, whose daughter Mary married Jonathan Dunham, joining the FitzRandolphs with the Dunham clan. Five generations later, Jonathan Dunham’s great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter, Ann Dunham, gave birth to Obama.

Read the full article in the January 18, 2009 Boston Herald.

8 thoughts on “Obama is a 10th-Generation Grandson of Edward FitzRandolph”

  1. My middle name is often used as a middle name by other members of my family and their male forbears.

    It is a shortened version of Fitzrandolph. The Fitzrandolph coat of arms hangs in my dining room, have been acquired by my father, Laurence Randolph Swain, Sr (I grew up as Jr).

    Is there anywhere I can go to find out more about my forebears back to the Fitzrandolphs?

    Larry Swain

  2. Whilst there is no mention of a church in Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England in the A.D.1086 Domesday Book survey, the neighbouring town of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England is stated to have had two churches and two priests. There can be little doubt one of these churches was that of St Mary Magdalene at Sutton in Ashfield and the remains of part of a Norman arch can be seen, now built into the west wall of the south aisle of the church.

    The Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene, Sutton in Ashfield was presented to Thurgarton Priory, Nottinghamshire, England in A.D. 1189 by Gerard, son of Walter de Sutton.

    Edward Fitzrandolph, was baptised at the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene, Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England in July 1607. We are advised that the 44th President Barack Obama is the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of Edward Fitzrandolph who was one of earliest settlers in Massachusetts at the time of the Pilgrim Fathers.

    A copy of a parish record showing Edward Fitzrandolph’s baptism at the church of St Mary Magdalene in Sutton in Ashfield in July 1607 is still held in the town’s library with the original at the Nottinghamshire county archive.

    As a consequence there is little doubt that direct ancestors of the 44th President may still be lying in the medieval churchyard in Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England which is well worth a visit!

  3. I live in Mansfield, nr Sutton in Ashfield, and I warn you that the town is tiny and there is nothing here of any interest really, except the church of Obamas long lost relative. The church is in a run down area, but in itself is quite an interesting building. Mansfield has a church that is even older. Mansfield and the surrounding area are ex-mining towns, hence the run-down state. Interesting history, but if you are looking for anything else*, I wouldn’t bother. Lol

  4. I am a direct dendedent of John “capt Jack” Randolph, who father was Joseph, hose father was Joseph, whose father was Joseph, whose father was Edward Fitz Randolph. My father is Jesse, his father is Carl, His father is William, His father is Elija, His father is Wood, His father was John Capt Jack Randolph. I quess I am related to Obama. Whats up Cousin.

  5. It looks like Obama is my bro too! Edward FitzRandolph is my 9th great grandfather. Edward FitzRandolph> Joseph FitzRandolph>Johnathan FitzRandolph>Thomas FitzRandolph>Barzilla FitzRandolph>Simeon FitzRandolph>Phinneas FitzRandolph> Chester FitzRandolph>Birdsall FitzRandolph>Alexandra (My Mother)

    Really, when it comes down to it, we are all related in some way. Pretty amazing though.

  6. Me too! 10th generation. Who knew. there is a connection to royalty in England as well. House of York and Richard III. Check it out. Just found this out recently.

  7. I am a bit late to the conversation, but I believe I have a connection as well to the FitzRandolph family mentioned in this article. My branch of the family had the surname morph a bit from FitzRandolph to Randolph, and later to Randall at some point in the 1700s.

    I am working on using commercially available, painless DNA testing to sort out some of the (Fitz)Randolph connections. The particular testing I would be doing requires a male with the FitzRandolph surname. Anyone interested may contact me at cctafel (at) aol (dot) com–I would be eager to continue the conversation!

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