Maybe it should be President O’Bama?
Researchers at Ancestry.com trace the Irish branches in Barack Obama’s family tree back to Falmouth Kearney, Obama’s third great-grandfather. More than a century and a half ago, 19-year-old Falmouth Kearney sailed from Ireland, landing in New York harbor on March 20, 1850.
Settling in Ohio among Irish relatives, Falmouth married, had eight children, and eventually moved to Indiana. Three of Falmouth’s daughters married three brothers with the last name Dunham. Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, is descended from one of these couples.
Falmouth was among the thousands of Irish immigrating to America to escape the late 1840s potato famine in Ireland. By 1860, New York City had the largest Irish population in the world—a quarter of its residents had been born in Ireland.
President Obama isn’t the first Commander in Chief with ties to Ireland. Ronald Reagan’s great-grandfather Michael O’Regan was born in Ireland in the 1820s, as was John F. Kennedy’s great-grandfather Patrick Kennedy. In fact, JFK’s home state of Massachusetts boasts the highest per capita Irish population in the United States, with 24 percent of its residents claiming Irish heritage. Interestingly, the White House was also designed by Irishman James Hoban.
Outside of the Oval Office, the legacy of Irish immigration lives on through some 34.7 million Americans who claim Irish ancestry—that’s almost nine times the current population of Ireland (U.S. Census Bureau).