NEHGS Confirms Obama and “Wild Bill” Hickok are Cousins

New England Historic Genealogical Society put out the following press release yesterday:


Obama Family lore talks of distant relationship to “Wild Bill” Hickok.

Boston, MA – July 30, 2008 – New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston has confirmed what Presidential candidate Barack Obama mentioned today in a Springfield Missouri speech.

During the speech, Senator Obama said, “If Senator McCain wants a debate about taxes in this campaign, I’m ready. Wild Bill Hickok had his first duel in the town square here. And the family legend is that he is a distant cousin of mine.”

Obama spoke of a family lore that tells of his being a distant cousin to legendary American west lawman, gambler, and gunfighter “Wild Bill” Hickok. NEHGS Staff genealogist Chris Child was quickly able to track down the information and confirm that it is indeed, true.

Obama and Hickok are sixth cousins, six-times removed. Their common ancestor is Thomas Blossom, who came to Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1629 from Leiden, Holland. Obama’s 4th great-grandfather, Jacob Dunham, was 6th cousins with Wild Bill. Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann, is also a Dunham.

“The ancestry of Wild Bill Hickok was published by NEHGS some years back, which showed he descended from the Blossom family of Cape Cod, an early family written up in one of our scholarly publications,” said Child. He added, “Since we had also recently done the ancestry of Senator Obama, finding this connection was a little easier.”

Founded in 1845, New England Historic Genealogical Society is the country’s
oldest and largest non-profit genealogical organization. Located in Boston,
NEHGS collects, preserves, and interprets materials that help make accessible
the histories of families in America. The NEHGS research library, one of the most
respected genealogical libraries in the field, is home to millions books, journals,
manuscripts, photographs, microfilms, documents, records, and artifacts that
date back more than four centuries. The award-winning web site offers access to more than 110 million names in
2,400 searchable databases. NEHGS has more than 23,000 members nationally.

Media Contact
New England Historic Genealogical Society
Tom Champoux, Director of Marketing
Office: 617-226-1211
Cell phone: 617-306-4282
[email protected]

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