Author Erin Aubry Kaplan has written a thoughtful piece for the Los Angeles Times on a fascinating recent genealogical find: According to researchers at Ancestry.com, President Obama may likely be a descendantÂ ofÂ the first black man to be defined as a slave in the early American colonies - and not via the African side of his family.
Aubry writes about how according to genealogists, there's a good chance that Obama could be "the 111th great-grandson, to be exact" of John Punch, who in 1640 became the first black person to be defined, legally, as a slave. But as it turns out, Punch would have been an ancestor of Obama's white mother from Kansas, not his black father from Kenya.
If the researchers are correct, the nation's first mixed-race president would have a lineage more complicated than anyone might have imagined, with complicated implications. Aubry writes: