Tracing President Obama’s Irish Ancestors

When US President Barack Hussein Obama visits Moneygall, on the Tipperary / Offaly border, towards the end of May next, there is no doubt that he will receive the warmest and friendliest of Irish welcomes, for which this country is renowned for bestowing on it’s visitors.

Towns all over Ireland are feeling the ‘teeth ‘ of our mainly self inflicted financial recession. During a recent visit to Monegall, we noticed, what appeared to be just one of Irelands many ‘ghost estates’ or half finished housing estate projects, blighting the village landscape. However, thanks to this strong minded local community, through research, enterprise and drive, the leader of the most powerful country in the world is coming to visit their tiny village.

This village and surrounding areas must now surely prosper, working together as they have, displaying kinship and teamwork, this community have assured themselves a proper place in Irish American lore, and highlighted a destination to which many Americans and Irish Americans will wish to visit in the coming years.

Documents show that Barack Obama’s ancestors, like John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy‘s great grandfather Patrick Kennedy, from Dunganstown, Co Wexford and Ronald Wilson Reagan‘s great grandfather, Michael O’Reagan, from Ballyporeen, CoTipperary, sailed from Ireland to America in search of  a dream, leaving behind them a then ‘God Forsaken ‘ island called Ireland. All left Ireland around the time of the ‘Great Famine,’ 1845-1849, as did of course later (1873) John P. Holland, inventor of the modern submarine, the ‘Fenian Ram’, in 1881 and “Father of the U.S. Submarine Service,” and earlier (1760’s) Commodore John Barry, credited as “The Father of the American Navy,” by his contemporaries.

America has been a friend to the Irish and Irish immigrantion has greatly benefited America’s progress as a nation. History will continues to identify and catalogues the lineage of great and influencial world leaders, such as US President Barack Obama, brought about through often forced Irish immigration.

Barack Obama Ancestry

President Barack Obama’s lineage is easily catalogued:-
Joseph Kearney (c.1794-1861) and Phoebe Donovan (c.1800-1876), – Falmouth Kearney (c.1830-1878) and Charlotte Holloway (c.1834-1877), – Jacob William Dunham (1863-1936) and Mary Ann Kearney (1869-1936), – Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham Sr. (1894-1970) and Ruth Lucille Armour (1900-1926), – Stanley Armour Dunham (1918-1992) and Madelyn Lee Payne (1922-2008),- Barack Hussein Obama Sr. (1936-1982) and Stanley Ann Dunham (1942-1995)- US President Barack Obama.

Leaving his spouse and off springs here in Ireland, Joseph Kearney travelled to America to claim land. It is not documented how he got to England, however, one means of cheap travel at this time was by consenting to travel, as ballast, on an empty British coal boat. Human ballast at this time saved those transporting coal into Ireland by open sea barge, the cost of paying men to shovel sand into these empty barges, to stop them riding high in the water on their return trips to England.

History does record that he reached the port of Liverpool where he boarded the ‘Caroline Read,’ and eventually arrived in New York City on 25th of April 1849. His eldest son Falmouth Carney (Kearney) was soon to followed this 3,000-mile Atlantic voyage. The passenger list for the ship 903 ton ‘Marmion,’ which entered the port of New York on March 20th in 1850, includes a 19-year-old labourer named Falmouth Carney whose destination was Ohio.

………..ID……………NAME ………………. AGE…GENDER …FROM……..PORT……….. TO DEST……. SHIP………ARRIVED……
…….304353……Falmouth Carney……….19………M……..Ireland….Liverpool…………OHIO…….Marmion……03-20-1850…..

Later records reveal this ship ‘Marmion,’ Captained by F. W. Jordan, with 1,300 tons of coal on board, under a strong south easterly wind and in heavy seas, foundered off Cape Flattery, on November 8th. 1879.  The ship was abandoned, and the crew boarded the ‘Tam O’Shanter,’ which had been standing by, and all were taken to San Francisco.

Falmouth was followed by Phoebe Kearney and her children, William and Mary, some 17 months later, entering  New York again on the ‘Clarissa Courier,’ on August 28th 1851.

Two years after his arrived in America, Falmouth Kearney married Charlotte Holloway, with possibly his uncle, one William Kearney, serving as Justice of the Peace.  American Census records in 1860 show that Falmouth, a farmhand, his wife Charlotte and several children are living in Deerfield, Ohio. Later, according to the census of 1870 show this same family are listed as a farmers with an address in Tipton County, Indiana.

As already shown, both Falmouth and Charlotte both died, one year apart and were survived by their five daughters and possibly three sons.

US President Barack Obama is the great-great grandson of Falmouth Kearney’s youngest daughter, Mary Ann.

Irish Americans everywhere examine your achievements and raise your heads with pride, follow the call “Yes We Can.”

Our thanks to Ollie Hayes and his bar staff, who assisted us greatly on our recent visit.


15 comments to Tracing President Obama’s Irish Ancestors

  • Nuala Holloway

    I have read your most interesting article on President Barack Obama’s ancestory. I believe from what information I have gathered from family members that I’m also related to the President. My great great great grandfather, Robert Holloway whose gravestone can be seen in Clonmacnoise, Co.Offaly died in 1832. My late father, John Holloway often spoke about Robert and his connections with England and the U.S. Its ironic the close proximity of the two families…..they only lived a short distance from each other. I feel Charlotte Holloway, the President’s great great great grandmother is related to me but I need more time to look into it further.
    In the meantime I feel that a “Holloway” should be there in Moneygall to greet this wonderful man.
    If he is allowed to take gifts,as a well known artist I can present him with a painting of a “Famine” ship (circa 1850)… similar to what his ancestors would have travelled in, to America.
    I also happen to be the most famous “Holloway” in Ireland having been a former Miss Ireland and now a successful artist and fluent Irish speaker. You can check out more information on me on Wikapedia.
    Kindest regards,
    Nuala Holloway.

  • Nuala, I think I worked with you on “The Flame Is Love” if it was Barbra Cartlands black magic film, – star – Timothy Dalton. I was Timothy’s stand-in for that film about 1970 – something.

  • Nuala Holloway

    Hi George,
    I think we are talking about 1979 for that film. What is your sir name.
    Regards Nuala.

  • Name is same – George Willoughby.
    You played a seamstress – producer was Michael O’Herlihy of Ed Friendly Productions “Little House on the Prairie” fame.
    Not sure of the year – That was my second film with M O’Herlihy – Had been stand-in for Rod Taylor the previous year in “Cry of the Innocent”
    See link:

  • Nuala Holloway

    George, so lovely to catch up with you. Are you on Facebook? I gave up the acting to become a Secondary school teacher and Artist. I’m exhibiting my work this coming early December at The Sol Art gallery, Dawson Street, Dublin with another Miss Ireland whom you may know, Jakki Moore.We have been friends for many years…..she lives in Norway but is at present exhibiting her work in Istanbul.
    We are on the “Tracing President Obama’s Irish Ancestors” page…..are you connected in some way? Only recently I discovered that there is a possible connection with myself and Charlotte Holloway. My late father knew a lot on this topic…..sadly he died when I was still at school in 1974.
    I’m trying to find out more on the connection at the moment. Time is the biggest factor……..I’m extremely busy but I would like to be present when he arrives in Moneygall. Before I knew of any connection I prayed he would be elected President…..I’m a huge admirer of this great man.I don’t usually take any notice of politicians.
    Kindest regards,
    Nuala Holloway.

  • Nuala Holloway

    Hi George,
    I hope your keeping well. Just a short note to let you know that I received a lovely letter from President Barack Obama yesterday. He thanked me for my “Wonderful Gift”. It was a total surprise as I had been thanked already from the American Embassy staff.
    Needless to say it will be a letter I will treasure forever.
    Kindest regards,

  • Nuala, that is one for framing. Fifty years from now I can see Sotheby’s auction house rubbing their hands.

  • Kathy Egan

    I also have Carney/Kearney ancestors from Thurles. I don’t suppose President Obama has done any genome testing for genealogy purposes?

  • George Willoughby

    You could check at the National Human Genome Research Institute.

  • Kathy Egan

    That’s really more related to health research than genealogy, but thanks.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




20 − 12 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.