Honorary citizenship papers sent to Obama

A certificate making United States President Barack Obama an honorary citizen of a Swiss village is being sent to Washington, along with proof of his Swiss ancestry.

This content was published on July 14, 2010 - 16:31

The village of Ried bei Kerzers in canton Fribourg held a press conference to announce the genealogy find on Tuesday.

The event was attended by the US ambassador to Switzerland, Donald Beyer, who told media he believed Obama would be interested in the findings.

“The event provided an ideal opportunity for the embassy to celebrate the close relations that exist between our two countries,” the US embassy in Bern later told

A Swiss archivist traced Obama’s family tree on his mother’s side to Hans Gutknecht, Obama’s grandfather seven generations ago, who was born in Ried bei Kerzers and baptised in nearby Murten in 1692. The find was authenticated by the Fribourg cantonal archives.

The certificate and family tree will be sent to Washington by diplomatic post to the president. The embassy said however that it could not comment on the “accuracy of the substance in the documents detailing the honorary citizenship”.

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