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Dublin: 13°C Saturday 23 October 2021

Michelle Obama shares husband's Irish roots

Part of Michelle Obama’s ancestry has been traced back to Irish immigrants.

Image: Charles Dharapak/AP/Press Association Images

MICHELLE OBAMA’S ANCESTRY has been traced back to an Irish slave owner who emigrated to America in the 1700s.

A new book, published tomorrow, claims the First Lady’s roots trace back to Andrew Shields, a man who fought against the British in the American War of Independence.

The Shields family were farmers and owned Obama’s maternal great-great-great-grandmother Melvinia, who was just 8 years old when she arrived on their farm as a slave.

Shields’ grandson Charles is likely to have fathered Melvinia’s son Dolphus who is a direct ancestor of the First Lady.

The claims were made in an adapted excerpt from ‘American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama’ by New York Times writer Rachel L Swarns.

Genealogist Megan Smolenyak, who discovered President Obama’s Moneygall roots, was among the team who proved the First Lady’s links to the Shields family.

Though the book does not identify exactly where the Shields came from, it was most likely Northern Ireland as the family was Protestant and Scots-Irish emigration to the American South was considerable at the time.

The book traces dozens of white relatives of Michelle Obama who were, up until now, completely unaware of any connection to the First Lady.

Michelle Obama has not yet commented on the claims of her Irish roots or slave ancestry.

Obama has a pint with his Moneygall relatives.

The Obamas’ Irish visit: A timeline.

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