Genealogists have reportedly found evidence that President Biden’s paternal colonial ancestors owned slaves.
The reported finding, detailed in an adapted excerpt from POLITICO correspondent Ben Schreckinger’s upcoming book “The Bidens: Inside the First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power,” was recently discovered by Alexander Bannerman, a genealogist in West Virginia, and lineage expert Gary Boyd Roberts.
After the 2020 presidential election, Bannerman worked alongside Roberts to put together Biden’s genealogy for the winter 2021 issues of American Ancestors magazine.
Bannerman told Schreckinger that during their research, the pair found that two of Biden’s ancestors on his father’s side enslaved people while living in Maryland.
Jesse Robinett, the president’s great-great-great-grandfather, enslaved two people in Allegany County according to the 1800 census, Bannerman said, while Thomas Randle, another third-great-grandfather of Biden, enslaved one 14-year-old boy in Baltimore County in 1850. The state of Maryland does not list any Bidens in its slavery database.
Bannerman’s and Roberts’ published genealogy of Biden does not note these reported ties to slavery. Bannerman explained to Schreckinger that it is not uncommon for Americans with roots in the Colonial Era to have ancestors with ties to slavery, and in Biden’s case, it was very minimal.
“Not a lot of ancestors and not a lot of slaves,” Bannerman said of the ancestry of the president — who frequently touts his Irish heritage.
Bannerman is now working on a genealogy of First Lady Jill Biden.
His and Roberts’ Joe Biden genealogy was the second completed one of the president’s ancestry, the first having been commissioned by Biden himself in 2004, according to Schreckinger.
The then-senator had James Petty, a genealogist in Salt Lake City, Utah, put together the genealogy, although the results were never published. James Petty died in 2020, and his widow Mary Petty declined to provide Schreckinger with any of the information collected, citing client confidentiality.
It is unclear if Biden’s reported connection to slavery ownership was found in the 2004 genealogy or if he was informed of it. Mary Petty, who also worked on the genealogy, reportedly spoke with Biden’s sons Beau and Hunter during the process.
The White House did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment Tuesday.
During Biden’s presidential campaign last year, misinformation about his ancestry was spread online, claiming his great-grandfather fought for the Confederacy and owned slaves. The misinformation was later proven false by several fact-checkers.
In 2019, it was revealed that then-Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell’s family owned at least 14 slaves. The same year, former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke revealed he and his wife were also the descendants of slave owners.