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A study from Ancestry.com has determined that President Obama is related to John Punch, the first black African enslaved for life in America--which would make Punch the 11th great-grandfather of Obama.
The connection is made through Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunhan. The website's records say she had ancestors who were white landowners in Colonial Virginia who descended from an African man, Punch.
According to the site's press release, Punch tried to escape indentured servitude in colonial Virginia in 1640 and was punished by becoming enslaved for life. The records show that Punch had children with a white woman, and her status as free was passed on to her offspring. Punch's descendents became successful landowners in the slave-owning state of Virginia.