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Purnell Shields

Ancestors of Michelle Obama in the 1940 Census

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 06.15.2012 | Celebrity
Megan Smolenyak

The cost for nine relatives of the First Lady -- including her mother, grandparents and great-grandparents -- to rent these cozy quarters in 1940? $45 a month or roughly the equivalent of $737 today.

Michelle Obama's Ancestors: Purnell Shields

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 04.25.2012 | Chicago
Megan Smolenyak

D.T. lived in hopeful expectation, but even today, it's stunning to think that the life of this one-time slave overlapped with that of his great-granddaughter, Marian, who now resides in the White House.

Michelle Obama's Ancestors: Rebecca Jumper (aka Coleman)

Megan Smolenyak | Posted 04.22.2012 | Celebrity
Megan Smolenyak

Michelle's maternal grandmother, Rebecca Jumper, did an admirable job of keeping her past a secret, but that's probably because she didn't know much about it herself. That's unfortunate, because hers is an intriguing history.