Obama Irish Roots Include Wigmaker

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Genealogists now believe the US presidential hopeful is descended from an 18th-Century Dublin businessman.

Previous records found Mr Obama's fourth great-grandfather was a shoemaker in the midlands village of Moneygall, whose son Fulmuth Kearney left for the US in 1850.

But researchers at Trinity College, Dublin, delved further into the would-be-president's colourful past to find his sixth great-granduncle was a prominent Dublin businessman in the 1700s.

Wig-maker Michael Kearney brushed shoulders with Ireland's aristocracy on a daily basis and bought and sold property throughout the city and parts of the country.

Research director with the Trinity company heritage group Eneclann Fiona Fitzsimons said they were amazed by the discovery.

"I didn't expect this," she said.

"When we started off we had Joseph Kearney, shoemaker, that sounded like a country shopkeeper. We were surprised to find any link to Dublin at all.

"He (Michael) made his money from periwigs and perukes, but then he invested the profits from that in a lot of property.

"I think we found 16 deeds in the registry of deeds and some of those refer to other deeds which we didn't find."

His wig company - regarded as an exclusive and profitable trade at the time - was located just metres from Dublin Castle - the then seat of British power in Ireland.

In the 18th century wigs were worn by the aristocracy, professionals and gentry so Kearney would have been mixing with the elite of the Irish capital on a daily basis...

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