A pair of experts claim they’ve uncovered evidence that President Joe Biden’s family has a history of enslaving people in the United States.
According to Politico, genealogist Alexander Bannerman teamed up with an expert on presidential lineage, Gary Boyd Roberts, for a recent academic article on President Biden’s family tree. Along the way, the two reportedly discovered that ancestors of the president had enslaved at least three people in the mid-19th century.
Biden’s family tree
A spokesperson for the White House declined to comment to Politico and other outlets on the development, which was first outlined in the experts’ article for American Ancestors magazine.
According to Politico, Bannerman said census records from 1800 showed “Biden’s great-great-great-grandfather, Jesse Robinett,” had “enslaved two people in Allegany County, Maryland,” located northwest of the West Virginia panhandle.
Politico said the spelling of “Robinett,” a family name that is also the president’s middle name, “has changed over time.”
“Another 3rd-great-grandfather [of Biden’s], Thomas Randle, enslaved a 14-year-old male in the 1st District of Baltimore County, Maryland, in 1850,” Politico reported Tuesday, citing Bannerman’s research.
In 1860, census records show that Randle and his family had moved to Baltimore County’s 13th District, Bannerman said, and an 1860 slave schedule for the 13th District again shows Randle enslaving a single man.
“Not a lot of ancestors”
As Politico notes, Bannerman maintains that it’s not all that surprising that Biden’s ancestors had ties to slavery, given how far back the president’s family history goes. In fact, it may be surprising that there isn’t more evidence in that regard.
“Not a lot of ancestors, and not a lot of slaves,” the genealogist opined.
What’s more, Biden wouldn’t be the first high-profile lawmaker whose ancestors were known slave-owners. According to Politico, “[t]ens of millions of Americans have ancestral ties to enslavers or the Confederacy,” including many who are currently serving in Washington.
The New York Post reported Tuesday:
In 2019, it was revealed that then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s [R] family owned at least 14 slaves. The same year, former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke [D] revealed he and his wife were also the descendants of slave owners.
According to the Post, Bannerman is now working to uncover First Lady Jill Biden’s family history. Only time will tell what he uncovers this time.