In an interesting revelation, Ancestry.com, an online resource for family history, has confirmed through historical documents the identities of German ancestors in President Barack Obama’s family tree. Earlier, it also confirmed of his Irish roots and his family connection to the actor Brad Pitt.
The discovery was made by an Ancestry.com genealogical research team, which determined that President Obama’s 6th maternal great-grandfather Johann Conrad Wolfley was born in Besigheim, Wuerttemberg, Germany, in 1729 (present day Baden-Wuerttemberg).
Genealogists at the family history Web site revealed that President Obama’s German ancestor was born Johann Conrad Wolflin on January 29, 1729. He immigrated in 1750, sailing to America on the ship Patience.
Johann Conrad changed his last name to Wolfley once he settled among other German immigrants in Pennsylvania. His son, Ludwig Wolfley, President Obama’s 5th great-grandfather, was born in 1766 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. This research confirms that President Obama is one of the 17% of Americans with German ancestry.
The key to this discovery is a mid-1700s historical document known as the “Register of Souls,” a record that includes information about all individuals belonging to a specific parish. According to this record, in 1745 the Wolflin family resided in Beutelsbach, a village in Wuerttemberg, Germany, near Stuttgart. Listed on the document is young Johann Conrad with his parents, Johann Martin Wolflin and Maria Margaretha (the president’s 7th great-grandparents), and siblings.
The “Register of Souls” states that Johann Conrad’s father, Johann Martin Wolflin, was a field surgeon, born in 1690, who had a lengthy military career and participated in the battles at Peterwaradein, Temeswar, and Belgrade in 1716-17 during the Austro-Turkish War. He was reportedly hit with an arrow during the Temeswar Siege. The document also indicates that Johann Martin’s father, Conrad Wolflin (Obama’s 8th great-grandfather), served as a mayor for 30 years.
“When you begin to research your family’s past, you quickly discover that the world’s history is your history,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of Ancestry.com.
In recent months, Ancestry.com family history experts have made other fascinating discoveries in President Obama’s family tree, including confirmation of his Irish roots and his family connection to the actor Brad Pitt.
Recently, Ancestry launched the World Archives Project. The aim is to digitally preserve historical records spread across the world. The records are digitized and made available online.