Politics may make strange bedfellows, but it also reveals some interesting family trees.
President Barack Obama not only has a supporter in the form of Berkshire Hathaway chairman and investment expert Warren Buffett – the two are also distant cousins. Genealogists at ancestry.com found a family connection dating back to a 17th-century Frenchman named Mareen Duvall who emigrated to Maryland in the 1650s.
The accidental discovery places Duvall as Obama’s 9th great-grandfather through his mother and Buffett’s 6th great-grandfather through his father. According to Anastasia Tyler, the project’s lead researcher, “We recognized the name Duvall and it made us wonder if this was a connection. We’re always looking for a way to show how interesting family history is. Like this, when you start finding similarities in family trees. The tree leads you in directions you don’t expect.”
Duvall arrived in America as an indentured servant, but by 1659 had purchased property in Maryland, became a planter and merchant and was perceived as a “country gentleman”. Tyler noted that “It’s quite an achievement. You can see similarities to him in both (Obama’s and Buffett’s) lives.”
Buffett isn’t the president’s only high-profile relative. During the 2008 presidential campaign, researchers found that Obama is a distant cousin of former Vice President Dick Cheney.