Eneclann guides Obamas through their Irish Family History Press Release

17 June 2013

For immediate release

Eneclann guides Obamas through their Irish Family History

At lunchtime Michelle Obama and her two daughters, Malia Ann and Sasha, took part in a private genealogy event about the President’s Irish ancestors at a special exhibit at the Long Room in the Old Library in Trinity College Dublin.

This very personal event was co-ordinated and presented by Fiona Fitzsimons with Helen Moss of Eneclann. Fiona, Research Director at Eneclann, gave an overview of the history of their family, which is better documented than that of other Irish-American presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton or even JFK. The Obamas’ story includes wig and shoemakers, merchants, farmers and (no surprise) politicians. While their deep ancestry (Kearneys, Donovans, etc.) are of Irish origin, an important line, the Benns (or Behn) were continental religious refugees who settled in Limerick before 1700.

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Fiona explained how the surviving paper trail enabled her and the Eneclann team to trace the family back to the 1600s. The exhibition contained a display of important documents from their Irish family history, including the parish register for Templeharry church in Moneygall kindly lent by the Representative Church Body Library, maps from the National Library, and records from Trinity College Library. Other records are detailed in the Eneclann online exhibition at:

http://www.eneclann.ie/exhibitions/barack-obamas-irish-ancestry/

This includes the Landed Estates Court rentals, which Fiona described as “The document that gave us the breakthrough that allowed us to bridge the generational gap in the parish registers, and trace the family back another four generations”. This important resource is now available exclusively at www.findmypast.ie

The detailed research carried out by Fiona, the Eneclann team and colleagues is available to view online for free at:

http://www.eneclann.ie/exhibitions/barack-obamas-irish-ancestry/

Fiona Fitzsimons is available for media interviews, comments, etc. Please contact Vicky McAlister at marketing@eneclann.ie  +353 (0)1 6710338.


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