Born Mareen DuVal, in 1625 at Nantes, France, Obama’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather (on his mother’s side of the family) was a French Protestant, a Hugenot, who fled his home in France sometime around 1650 to escape religious persecution from Catholics and the French Crown. After a short stay in England, he left that country and arrived in the New World on August 28, 1650, almost 450 years ago. He settled in Maryland, changing his name along the way to Duvall.

He became quite prosperous and his Middle Plantation in Davidsonville, Maryland and La Val were “as luxurious and courtly as any of the manors of the English gentry.”

He died in 1699 and his third and final wife, Mary Stanton, administered his substantial estate. Duvall had purchased sizeable tracts of land. Combined, he owned several thousand acres in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties.


In genealogies, he is often called “the emigrant” to distinguish him from descendants also named Mareen Duvall.[7]

His notable descendants include President-Elect Barack Obama of Illinois, as well as President Harry S. Truman, Vice-President Dick Cheney and Bessie Wallis Warfield Simpson (better known as Wallis Simpson for whom Edward VIII gave up the throne). Other famous relatives include U.S. Associate Supreme Court Justice Gabriel Duvall, and actor Robert Duvall. They are all related.

Mareen Duvall is also the link between Barack Obama and Harry Truman (Duvall is his ninth-great grandfather as well) and Barack Obama. Furthermore, Vice President Dick Cheney is a relative because Duvall is Cheney’s eighth-great grandfather.

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