Ancestry.com has traced President Obama's roots back to Germany and linked him to Rush Limbaugh. Now the site has named a new potential Obama relative: the first documented African-American slave. CNN reports on the result of some 500 hours of work by four genealogists, who were able to link Obama, via, perhaps surprisingly, his mother's family, with John Punch. Ancestry.com explains that Punch was an indentured servant in Virginia whose foiled escape in 1640 earned him a lifetime of slavery (this was years before Virginia slavery laws came into effect).
The team apparently decided to begin digging after learning Stanley Ann Dunham had African ancestors—white Virginians who descended from an African man. The genealogists then traced Obama to a Virginia family named Bunch, and "all of the surviving evidence we studied very strongly points to conclusion John Bunch is the son of John Punch." (Ancestry.com explains that because Punch had children with a free white woman, those children were awarded her free status.)