Birth Name: Michelle LaVaughn Robinson
Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Date of Birth: January 17, 1964
Ethnicity: African-American (mostly), including Gullah, as well as distant English, Scottish, and Irish
Michelle Obama is an American lawyer, writer, and university administrator. She was First Lady of the United States, from 2009 to 2017. She is the wife of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. Their children are Malia Obama and Sasha Obama. She is the first African-American First Lady of the United States.
Michelle is the daughter of Marian Robinson (born Marian Lois Shields), a secretary, and Fraser C. Robinson III, a city water plant employee. Her brother is college basketball coach and broadcaster Craig Robinson (not the actor of the same name).
Michelle’s parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents, were all black. She has Gullah roots. Michelle also has some European ancestry on her family tree, with distant English, Scottish, and Irish, roots. One of Michelle’s white ancestors was her great-great-great-grandfather, Charles Marion Shields. Charles was the son of Henry Wells Shields and Christian/Christianna Patterson.
Michelle’s paternal grandfather was Fraser C. Robinson II (the son of Fraser Robinson and Rosella/Rose Ella Cohen). Michelle’s grandfather Fraser was born in Georgetown, Georgetown Co., South Carolina. Michelle’s great-grandfather Fraser was the son of Jim Robinson and Louiser/Louisa. Rose Ella was the daughter of Caesar/Sesar Cohen and Tira/Tyra L.
Michelle’s paternal grandmother was LaVaughn Delores Johnson (the daughter of James Preston Johnson and Phoebe Moten). LaVaughn was born in Chicago, Cook, Illinois. James was born in Madison Parish, Louisiana, the son of Ruben “Ruby” Johnson and Carrie Don. Phoebe was the daughter of Nelson Moten, who was from Kentucky, and of Mary, who was born in Missouri.
Michelle’s maternal grandfather was Purnell Shields (the son of Robert Lee/Leacel Shields and Annie/Anna/Anne Lawson/Laws). Purnell was born in Birmingham, Jefferson, Alabama. Robert was the son of Dolphius/Adolphus Shields and Alice Easley. Anna was the daughter of Nathan Laws and Fanny/Fannie L. Humphrey.
Michelle’s maternal grandmother was Rebecca Jumper/Coleman (the daughter of James Jumper and Eliza Tinsley). Rebecca was born in North Carolina. James was the son of Peter Jumper, Jr. and Eliza Wade. Eliza was the daughter of Nelson Tinsley and Nancy Morehead, whose own mother’s name was Eliza.
Michelle’s first cousin, once removed, is Rabbi Capers Funnye. Capers is a Jew-by-choice. Michelle’s paternal great-grandparents, Fraser Robinson and Rose Ella Cohen, were also Rabbi Funnye’s maternal grandparents.
As stated, Michelle’s great-grandmother Rose Ella Cohen had the usually Jewish surname Cohen. Rose was an African-American woman, whose father, Caesar Cohen, was also African-American. It is not clear where the Cohen surname originates in this family, or if Caesar Cohen had Jewish ancestry of some kind.
Genealogy of Michelle Obama (focusing on her father’s side) – http://www.wargs.com
Notes on Michelle’s ancestry, by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak – https://www.megansmolenyak.com
Pictures and some of Michelle’s family history – http://www.dailymail.co.uk
Michelle’s paternal great-grandmother, Rosella/Rose Ella Cohen, on the 1880 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org