Yeah, THAT ObamaDec 2nd, 2009 | By Rick@Leonard Family Legends & Legacies | Category: Featured Articles
Remember “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”? It’s a trivia game based on the concept of the small world phenomenon and rests on the assumption that any actor can be linked through his or her film roles to actor Kevin Bacon within six steps. (Description lifted directly from WikiPedia ‘cuz they’re really, really smart over there.)
To be honest, the concept of the “Human Web” has been around a lot longer that that, but let’s digress no further. To get to the point, what do you think the chances are that you and I are connected to The POTUS (President of the United States)? I’ll tell you… 100%. This revelation courtesy of an article cousin Dixie dug up on Barack Obama’s g-g-grandfather… and a recently discovered will for Luzanna (Leonard) Mitchell. Here’s how:
The November 14th article in the Kansas City Star says a Civil War veteran by the name of Robert WOLFLEY was Obama’s g-g-great-grandfather. He was born in Delaware County, Ohio, served in Company A of the 145th Ohio Infantry, and is buried in Olathe, Kansas.
Switching now to Luzanna (Leonard) Mitchell’s recently discovered will, we find her leaving 1/16th or her estate to each of her living nieces and nephews. They included Edmund, Isaac, Daniel, et. al…. and one Lucretia WOLFLEY (formerly Harmon, granddaughter of Daniel Leonard the elder) of… Olathe, Kansas. Lucretia was married to Lewis WOLFLEY, also a Civil War veteran from, ta-da, Company A of the 145th Ohio Infantry. Coincidence? I think not, but their relationship still needs to be proven.
My suspicion that Lewis and Robert were brothers is bolstered by census reports that show Lewis two years older than Robert and in all the same locations. Prior to 1850, only heads of household names were listed in the census reports and we don’t know, at the moment, who their father might have been. Civil War records might shed more light and I KNOW there are at least a couple of Civil War nuts hanging around this here blog. (Hint, hint.)
So the bottom line is this… President Obama’s g-g-grandfather is five generations removed from him. Lucretia (Harmon) Wolfley is only four generations removed from yours truly (yes, I’m THAT old). Obabma’s g-g-grandfather and Lucretia’s husband were probably brothers. Ta-da! Something less than six degrees!
But wait! If you order in the next fifteen minutes… (I have to stop writing while watching the shopping channel)… I’ll throw in the OTHER Leonard connection that just might invlove Leonard blood in Obama’s veins. It’s a bit more of a longshot, but Mrs. S.P. (Sarah) DUNHAM, formerly Hipple, of Los Angeles, California is also listed in Lucretia’s will. Obama’s mother, Stanly Ann DUNHAM, was born in Wichita, Kansas. His grandmother, Madelyn Payne DUNHAM, raised him after his mother died of ovarian cancer… and was the great-great-granddaughter of the said Robert WOLFLEY. That one’s too tangled up for me to unravel just yet, but the way everyone congregated and intermarried in local communities, it wouldn’t surprise me..
Thirdly, and this is probably nothing at all… Robert’s obituary was written by someone with the initials W.H.L.. William Henry Leonard, also mentioned in Luzanna’s will, lived in Oswego, Kansas. So, any of you genealogical sleuths wanna pick up the chase?
And finally, having very little to do with the Obama connection, is the coincidence that Robert Wolfley’s wife, Rachel Wolfley, is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery, Snohomish County, Washington… spitting distance from my house.
Since this post was originally intended to be a “What to get the genealogist who has everything for Christmas” article, I’m deviating from the format just a bit to tell you to check out the following:
- Ancestry.com is running a number of specials (in the right-hand column) Additional ancestry coupons are available here.
- The Genealogy Gifts Blog has a number of wacky items, including “Professor Ahnentafels Portable Gedcomulator.”
- And finally, possibly my favorite, Fun Stuff for Genealogists. Be sure to check everything in the left-hand column.
So that’s it for this week. Happy hunting and/or shopping.