President may have ties to Louisa County

Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Is President Barack Obama related to the nation’s first slave?

A genealogical research project conducted by Ancestry.com suggests he is.

But the Louisa County Historical Society is conducting its own investigation, because linking the President to slave John Punch hinges on tenuous ancestral connections in Louisa County.

Researchers from the genealogy website company have proposed that Punch, reportedly the first recorded slave in the U.S., is the president’s 11th great-grandfather.

According to research, Punch was born in York County in 1640, when slavery moved from indentured servitude to a lifetime of service.

The project was able to make the claim that the president is related to the slave based on DNA testing and by connecting Punch to a man named John Bunch, who’s grandson John Bunch III moved to and died in Louisa County in 1742.

“Any factual connection beyond the John Bunch we know came to Louisa is hard to prove,” Elaine Taylor, director of the Sargeant Museum, said.

To read the entire story, see the Oct. 11 edition of The Central Virginian.

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