ObamaAncestry?

Public figures are regular targets for genealogical researchers hunting for a great story.  There is a good one!  John Punch, who is regarded as the first African-American slave in British North America is possibly an ancestor of President Obama.  The Bunch Surname Project administrator, Mark Bunch,  was involved in this New York Times story and shared this email with his project members.  (Thanks to Mark for sharing!)  Hope you enjoy.  Terry

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good Morning,
 
This is going out to all the "usual suspects" (participants in the Bunch y-DNA Project) plus a few additional interested parties.
 
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/us/obamas-mother-had-african-forebear-study-suggests.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
 
I was contacted about 3 weeks ago by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Washington (D.C.) correspondent with the New York Times about a possible story on President Obama's link to John Punch, regarded by many as the first African slave in British North America.  That story was published this morning (I'm usually up this early anyway -- honest!), so I thought I'd send a link to it out to those who might be most interested.  I'll be placing a link on the project's "Patriarchs" page as well (www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/bunch/pats).  The little girl in the photo is my daughter Eleanor and her twin brother Alistair is standing right behind her.  I'm holding the 1997 edition of the Bunch Family Record, published by inveterate Bunch researchers DeWitt and Frances Bunch.
 
Hats off to Brent Bunch as (I believe) the first person to mention a possible Bunch-Punch connection to me, and to Jim Farmer who is the first serious proponent of the theory that I've communicated with.  My take on the Punch connection is that it's definitely a possible origin for the old American Bunch line, but just one of the necessisarily many given the paucity of documents.  It's not likely to ever be proven true or false, but I definitely need to add it to the list of where Old John Bunch may have come from.
 
Now I need to go read the Ancestry.com paper referenced in the article.  Have a great day!
 
-Mark

Bunch-Punch Connection

Hi Terry,

Kudos to the Ancestry research team -- they didn't quite dot every i and cross every t (as far as I'm concerned), but the volume of research is truly breathtaking.  They have apparently ruled out the Lancaster County, Virginia roots of the Old Line Bunch family (that John Bunch was European and died in 1657 -- I have long wondered why there was no mention of his color in the Lancaster records), and found records that I never knew of supporting York County roots.  There will have to be some revisions to the information presented at the Bunch project.

We (the Bunch project) essentially received 500 hours of professional genealogical research by dint of being related to the President, but that owes a lot to our data being useful -- which in turn owes a lot to the whole idea of surname projects as supported by FTDNA and implemented by World Families.  I'm only sorry there was no direct mention of FTDNA or World Families in the newspaper articles (although the Bunch site on World Families is referenced in the Ancestry.com research).

-Mark Bunch