Genealogists announced on Tuesday that President Obama and billionaire Warren Buffett are related through a 17th century Frenchman named Mareen Duvall
Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor who supported Barack Obama during the presidential campaign, might be more than just an informal adviser to the president: He might also be his distant cousin, according to a new study of Mr. Obama’s family tree.
Genealogists at Ancestry.com, the online genealogy site, reported Tuesday that Mr. Buffett and Mr. Obama are seventh cousins, three times removed, and share a great-grandfather who owned slaves in Maryland.
According to the online genealogists, Duvall — who immigrated to Maryland from France in the 1650s — is Obama’s 9th great grandfather and Buffett’s 6th great grandfather. The discovery was made by accident when the same team of genealogists who had researched Obama’s family tree went on to investigate details about Buffett’s relatives.
“We recognized the name Duvall and it made us wonder if this was a connection,” said Anastasia Tyler, the lead researcher on the project. “So we started focusing on Duvall.”
“We’re always looking for a way to show how interesting family history is. Like this, when you start finding similarities in family trees,” Tyler said in an interview. “The tree leads you in directions you don’t expect.”
The ancestor, Mareen Duvall, emigrated from France to Maryland as an indentured servant in the 1650s, the genealogists reported. By 1659, Mr. Duvall had purchased property in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, which he later named “Middle Plantation,” the report said.
According to historical records, Duvall belonged to a religious sect called the Jacobites, was a slave owner, planter and merchant and was “conservative in his political life.”
Family History of Mareen Duvall: The Society of Mareen Duvall Descendants