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Obama may have a Swiss ancestor

US presidential candidate Barack Obama may have Swiss roots, according to a French archivist.

Six generations back, in 1749, one of Obama's ancestors, named Christian Gutknecht, emigrated from the village of Bischwiller in Alsace in eastern France and settled in America.

But the Bischwiller archivist, Christian Gunther, says the Gutknecht parents probably came from canton Bern at the very beginning of the 18th century. They lived in a street specially built for immigrants from Zurich and Bern.

Christian, who was born in 1722, changed his name to Goodnight in America.

According to the Swiss family name handbook, the name Gutknecht is native to villages in the cantons of Zurich and Fribourg.


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