Barack Obama’s Irish Family Roots Confirmed in Offaly County

ObamaBarack.jpgU.S. Presidential Hopeful’s Family Origins Traced to Moneygall; Records Found in Local Parishioner’s Cellar

PROVO, UTAH – May 3, 2007 —, the world’s largest online resource for family history, is now able to confirm that U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s Irish ancestors originated in Moneygall and neighboring Shinrone in County Offaly, Ireland.

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, revealed on March 12th that Sen. Obama has Irish branches in his family tree. Following the news and in response to several inquiries, continued its search of Obama’s Irish ancestors.

Baptism and probate records linking the family line back to Moneygall have been unearthed with the assistance of Canon Stephen Neill in the Templeharry Rectory records, which until recently were stored in a parishioner’s home.

“This research will once and for all put to rest any perceptions that Barack Obama is a first generation American, said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for “Like most of us he has an interesting mix of ancestry, including some impressively early all-American roots.”

Researchers initially thought that Obama’s third great-grandfather, Falmouth Kearney, who sailed from Ireland to New York in 1850 at 19-years-old, was the only member of the family to emigrate. However, records reveal that other Kearney family members had in fact been in America since the 1790s.

One ancestor, Falmouth’s paternal uncle, Francis, had in fact bequeathed land to his brother, Falmouth’s father Joseph, with the condition that he emigrate in order to inherit. He did so along with his wife Phebe and four children, including Falmouth, although at various times in the mid-19th Century.  

If interested, images of the Irish records are available upon request:

  • Baptism records – Falmouth Kearney siblings
  • 1825 marriage index – Falmouth Kearney parents
  • 1850 U.S. passenger list records – Falmouth Kearney
  • 1860 U.S. Federal Census – Falmouth Kearney
  • Tombstones – Falmouth Kearney’s siblings and parents

With 24,000 searchable databases and titles, is the No. 1 online source for family history information. Since its launch in 1997, has been the premier resource for family history, simplifying genealogical research for millions of people by providing them with many easy-to-use tools and resources to build their own unique family trees. is part of The Generations Network, Inc., a leading network of family-focused interactive properties, including,, and Family Tree Maker. In total, The Generations Network properties receive 10.4 million unique visitors worldwide and over 450 million page views a month (© comScore Media Metrix, March, 2007).

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20 thoughts on “Barack Obama’s Irish Family Roots Confirmed in Offaly County

  1. Pingback: 24-7 Family History Circle » Barack Obama’s Family Records

  2. As I am from Moneygall I find this very interesting. I have had contact from Kearneys 2 years ago and sent them Typed extracts of the same records independent of Stephen Neil. We have family papers witnessed by Joseph Kearney. My uncles had a small field in Moneygall which was known as Kearney’s Garden. Houses are now built on this field.

  3. As you can see from my name, I am interested in these connections. I would certainly appreciate any information.

  4. Hi,

    If you are interested in Irish American culture, then I think you and you members may have an interest in the following project.

    A website has been set up to collect short stories of Irish American nature. The website is not for profit, and is free from advertising. The Irish are supposed to be great storytellers and here is a place where they can be read/written. There is no cost for the service, it just seems like a great way of recording tales of people journeys and experiences.

    The website is called

    The website has just been set up, so we are looking for stories, we have a few entries already.

    Ways in which you could help would be to let friends, family, members of your website know about the website. Also, if you wanted to add the website as a link, what would be great.

    It’s an ongoing project, so if you had any suggestions on how to collect stories, improve the site we would love to hear them.

    Thanks in advance.

    Brian Reynolds

    Irish American Story Project

    Email: [email protected]

    Irish American Stories

  5. I think its great that he has such rich roots

    But to the person who commented….
    “top of the morning to ya”
    I live in ireland Born in Ireland
    and i have never heard an irish person say them words
    only irish/americans
    so it aint really irish

  6. Pingback: gedcom blog » More on Barack Obama’s Irish Roots [Roots Television | Megan’s Roots World]

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  8. I have been told that half of America is Irish, and the other half want to be !
    Its good to know which half Obama belongs to !
    It goes a long way back, but he is one of Erin’s own none the less.
    Another first, after the Irish American Catholic President, now we have the first Irish African American President.
    Great stuff,
    Good luck Obama, and good luck America

  9. Obama’s great great great grandfather was from a small village in Ireland. He emigrated to the United States in 1850. That makes Obama 6th generation Irish!

  10. I hate to split hairs, but is Obama half Irish? I don’t think so. Kearney is mentioned as a great,great,great grandparent. That makes him one of 32 great(x3)grandparents. Of what ethnicity were the other 15 on his (Obama) mother’s side? If you go back far enough I’m sure you’ll find a Mongolian or an Australian Aborigine. That doesn’t make him half Australian, Chinese, Russian or anything else. The only thing we can be sure of is that he is half African. We Irish like to claim anybody who makes good and bask in their glory. It’s all just nonsense.

  11. I am interested in our Presidents ancestors. My aunt told me our family (Kearney) was from Indiana also.

  12. I have to agree with Michael, Co. Kerry….The ancestory thing on Obama has just elevated this thing we are unfortunately perfecting in the USA called “celebrity worship” to another level. The Irish ancestory thing is intereting and makes for a cute YouTube ditty by the Corrigan Brothers but beyond that, quite frankly, his Irish roots are literally ancient history when you consider the big picture of how many grand and great-grand fathers he has and THEIR ancestral connections. Wonder if he has any Native American roots anywhere?

  13. Love all the comments about % of Irish….many of us are in the same situation, being only part of the grand Irish. Going back to Falmouth’s wife, Charlotte HOLLOWAY (I don’t believe it was Hollowell as some think), the Holloways were from Godfreys, Showells and Mumfords…early names in early America. My g-grandmother was Mary Ellen Holloway, sister to Charlotte. But she married a Hause (probably German) and their girl married a Dennis, my mother’s maiden name. I love my mixed background for I think it goes a long way toward making me who I am, an American (and yes, I think I have some Native American (Cherokee) in me, too. Cora

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