President Obama and the Wordens
Barack Hussein Obama II, as he is shown on his birth certificate (b. 4 August 1961, not “Junior,” see http://fightthesmears.com/articles/5/birthcertificate) appears to be related to the Wordens in a number of ways. Obama’s ancestry has been the subject of a number of media reports in the last few months and has been a hot topic on various websites, including the medieval genealogy newsgroup on Google Groups (http://groups.google.com/group/soc.genealogy.medieval/topics?lnk=srg). The ancestry is also discussed by Gary Boyd Roberts on the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society: http://www.newenglandancestors.org/research/services/articles_ancestry_barack_obama.asp. Perhaps the most extensive examination of Obama’s ancestry is by William Addams Reitwiesner on
http://www.wargs.com/political/obama.html. I discuss here some of the ways the President
may be related to the Wordens. Of
course, the relationships between Obama and the Wordens are through his mother,
Stanley Ann Dunham, b.
One of the most extensively
reported descents of Obama is from William I (the Lion), king of
For many Wordens the closest
relationship to Obama is common ancestry from Joseph Holley and Rose Allen,
Joseph Holley = Rose Allen
Nathaniel FitzRandolph = Mary Holley
Samuel FitzRandolph = Mary Jones
Prudence FitzRandolph = Shubael Smith
Mary Smith = Jonathan Dunham
Samuel Dunham = Hannah ___
Jacob Dunham = Catherine Goodnight
Jacob Mackey Dunham = Louise Eliza Stroup
Jacob William Dunham = Mary Ann Kearney
Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham = Ruth Lucille Armour
Barack Hussein Obama II
The Holleys and Allens have been discussed in previous issues of WP. Rose Allen’s father was George Allen, from whom Winston Churchill is descended, through his American mother. So descendants of Dr. Samuel Worden are distant cousins of Churchill, along with Obama. Another descendant of Joseph Holley and Rose Allen is President Jerry Ford. Dr. Sam and Hopestill’s son, Peter Worden III married Mary Holley, a niece of Hopestill, so descendants of Peter III are doubly related to Obama through Joseph Holley and Rose Allen.
The father of the above Nathaniel FitzRandolph, husband of Mary Holley, was Edward FitzRandolph, who married Elizabeth Blossom. According to Roberts, Edward RitzRandolph is a descendant of John FitzRandolph (husband of Joan Conyers), who was a descendant of Hugh Capet, King of France, 987-996 (Roberts, Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants, 1993, p. 446, citing Magna Carta Sureties, lines 164, 155, 154 and Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists, 4th edition, lines 246, 151, 106; the descent in Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants does not appear in Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants, although it is referenced there). Peter Worden I is a descendant of Hugh Capet in at least 16 ways. Roberts’ references indicate some uncertainty as to the descent of the FitzRandolphs from Hugh Capet. I am more certain as to the likely descent of Peter Worden from High Capet (see my website at http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=sch-wood).
The supposed line from Hugh Capet to John FitzRandolph (and thence to Barack Obama) goes through Alice de Clare, daughter of Gilbert de Clare and Adeliza de Clermont. Peter Worden I is descended from Gilbert de Clare and Adeliza in four ways.
Reitwiesner shows a descent of Obama from Martha Eltonhead (married Edwin Conway), a 17th Century immigrant to Virginia, who is a central figure in American genealogy as the ancestor of thousands of people living today. Martha’s royal and aristocratic ancestry has been explored extensively. I do not know of any Wordens who are descended from Martha Eltonhead, but, according to Douglas Richardson (Plantagenet Ancestry, 2004, pp. 290-93) Eltonhead is descended from Henry II, King of England (1154-1189). Peter Worden is a 14th great-grandson of King Henry II.
One of the links in the descent from Henry II to Martha Eltonhead is William Stanley (b. abt. 1474-75, d. aft. 1528) m. Anne Harrington. Anne Harrington is the daughter of James Harrington and Isabel Radclyffe. Peter Worden I is descended from both the Harringtons and the Radclyffes. Strangely, Isabel Radclyffe is apparently the both the wife of James Harrington and a daughter of Agnes Harrington (I have not figured out the relationship of James to the rest of the Harrington family). Through her mother, Isabel is the great granddaughter of Sir Nicholas Harrington and Isabel English, sixth great grandparents of Peter Worden. Isabel is also the third great granddaughter of John Radcliffe and Joan (the identity of this Joan is in some dispute; she is usually shown as a Holand, but my colleagues and I have cast doubt on this; see my article in WP, February 2008). Joan is the 9th great grandmother of Peter Worden I (through another husband, Edmund Talbot) and John Radclyffe is a descendent of Richard Radcliffe (d. 1326), both a ninth and tenth great grandfather of Peter Worden. So these relationships provide additional connections between Obama and the Wordens. (The Radcliffe relationships in this paragraph depend largely on Burke’s Landed Gentry, 18th edition, 1972, pp. 738-741; Burke’s must be used with caution.)
The website http://geneweb.inria.fr/roglo?lang=en;m=RL;i=68234;l1=23;i1=2336479;l2=25;i2=2171509
gives a descent of Martha Eltonhead from Edward I (Gary Boyd Roberts also talks about a descent of Eltonhead from Edward I, but does not give it). Question has been raised about this descent in the medieval genealogy newsgroup. This website also shows many relationships between Obama and John McCain, including from Edward I.
However, Douglas Richardson (Magna Carta Ancestry, 2005, pp. 304-06) shows the descent of Martha Eltonhead from Saher de Quincy, Earl of Winchester and Magna Carta surety. As I discussed in the August 2006 issue of WP, Saher de Quincy was an ancestor of Peter Worden. I believe this cousinship between Obama and the Wordens is secure.
Of course, as with anyone with European ancestry, it is to be expected that Barack Obama is descended from Charlemagne. Several of the persons mentioned above are descendants of Charlemagne, including Saher de Quincy, William the Lion, Henry II, Hugh Capet, the de Clares, and the de Clermonts. Most are descended from Charlemagne in multiple ways, for example, Saher de Quincy in at least seven ways. I have observed there are at least 160 ways Peter Worden is descended from Charlemagne (see the August 2007 issue of WP; I haven’t finished exploring this topic, there are likely hundreds more) so through Charlemagne it is likely that the Wordens are related to Obama in hundreds of ways.
Among other individuals alleged to be distant cousins of Barack Obama are Lyndon Baines Johnson, Charles Addams, John Steinbeck, Christopher Reeve, Brad Pitt, Harold McMillan, Sarah Louise Heath Palin, President Jimmy Carter, Katherine Hepburn, Brit Hume, Harry Truman, Richard Cheney, Robert Byrd, John Pierpoint Morgan, John Hinckley (attempted assassin of Ronald Reagan), both presidents Bush, Gordan Hinckley (former president of the Mormon Church), Birch Bayh Jr. and III, Georgia O’Keefe, John Glenn, James Madison, and Robert E. Lee. I have not checked out any of these claimed relationships and as to Peter Worden I’s relationships to these people, I can be certain (relatively) only of that to the Bushes (through William the Lion).
I have contemplated whether Barack Obama has more royal blood than I have. Of course, neither of us has very much. If he is descended from Edward I (not a certainty, as I indicate above), it is likely he has more. If Henry II is the most recent royalty for both of us, it might be about even. Obama may have African royalty in his ancestry. Apparently that was part of his family lore, but in his book, Dreams From My Father, he indicates there is no evidence for that. But that evidence goes back only a few generations.
John Schuerman lives three blocks from the Obama’s