Details concerning the First Lady and her ancestry have just emerged, according to The New York Times. The newly discovered story of Mrs. Obama’s maternal ancestors—the slave mother, White father and their biracial son, Dolphus T. Shields—for the first time fully connects the first African-American First Lady to the history of slavery, tracing their five-generation journey from bondage to a front-row seat to the United States Presidency. The findings—uncovered by Megan Smolenyak, a genealogist, and The New York Times— substantiate what Mrs. Obama has called longstanding family rumors about a White forbear.

The outlines of Mrs. Obama’s family history were unfolded with 19th century probate records, yellowing marriage licenses, fading photographs and the recollections of elderly women who remember the family.—BB