Fulmoth Kearney, President Obama's Irish Immigrant Ancestor, Gets a Tombstone

Back in 2007, I researched then-candidate Barack Obama's roots and identified one of his third great-grandparents, Fulmoth Kearney of Ireland, as the most recent immigrant on his mother's side of the family.
12/18/2014 08:40 pm ET Updated Feb 17, 2015

Back in 2007, I researched then-candidate Barack Obama's roots and identified one of his third great-grandparents, Fulmoth Kearney of Ireland, as the most recent immigrant on his mother's side of the family. Thanks to a pair of tombstones in Ohio, I was able to pinpoint Moneygall as his place of origin, but was frustrated to not be able to find his place of burial.

Recently, another Kearney descendant, Dean Dillard of Chanute, Kansas, and his research companion, Norman Peters, were able to solve the mystery. Dillard is President Obama's second cousin once removed, and through detective work that involved tracking down old cemetery records that had strayed to Ohio, he and Peters were able to determine that Fulmoth Kearney died on March 21, 1878. As reported in The Chanute Tribune, Fulmoth and his wife Charlotte are buried in Fairview Cemetery in Labette County, Kansas.

Last week, 136 years after he died, Fulmoth Kearney finally received a headstone thanks to the dogged research and financial contributions of both Dillard and Peters.

Curiously, one of Michelle Obama's third great-grandparents, Melvina Shields Magruder who died in 1938, was commemorated with a headstone in Georgia just three months ago. 2014 has been a good year for previously overlooked Obama ancestors.