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Obama's German roots: Our diverse president is related to everyone!

June 5, 2009 |  7:23 am

124d489c-34e1-4181-80f1-99e2ae40d52a-124d489c-34e1-4181-80f1-99e2ae40d52a As President Obama does Dresden with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today, a genealogical study in Utah reports that the first African American president in U.S. history is actually German.

Well, partly.

Provo-based Ancestry.com has found that Obama's lineage -- on his mother's side -- can be traced to Germany.

Using online sources and microfilm from the Family History Library owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, genealogists found a document that went back to Obama's eighth great-grandfather, Conrad Wolflin, who served as mayor of Orsingen, Germany for 30 years.

"One of the things that I love about this find is it really illustrates what you can find out about your family history," Anastasia Tyler, lead genealogist on the project, told the Salt Lake Tribune. "World history is our history."

Obama's sixth great-grandfather, Johann Conrad Wolflin, was born on Jan. 29, 1729 in Besigheim, Wuerttemberg, Germany and in 1750 resettled in Pennsylvania. changing his name to Wolfley. Told of the Obama connection, current officials in Besigheim, tourist dollars dancing in their heads, jumped for joy.

Besigheim Deputy Mayor Klaus Schremps, whose town is photographed above, told the Associated Press Television Network he tracked down a copy of the parish record himself, and located Wolflin's name.

"If this turns out really to be the case," he said, "we will extend an invitation to Mr. Obama and if he would come and visit at some stage, it would be a great joy for the city and for the people."

This of course is through Obama's mother side, she of Irish and Kansas roots. His father was Kenyan.

If that were not enough to make the president feel welcome, relatives of survivors of Buchenwald Concentration Camp are also calling Obama family.

It seems the president's great-uncle (also on his mother's side), Charlie Payne, 84, helped liberate a sub-camp there when he was an infantryman fighting in World War II.

"The survivors see President Obama almost like a grandson of theirs," Volker Knigge, director of the Buchenwald memorial, told CNN. "The president is related to one of the brave men who came here and saw the Nazi horror firsthand."

-- Johanna Neuman

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Photo: A fountain figurine in front of the historic city hall of Besigheim, near Stuttgart in southern Germany, where Obama's sixth great-grandfather lived. Credit: Daneil Maurer / Associated Press

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