Barke Obma

My aunt was here the other day. She is from the north east of the country, where the people have names ending with -ink. Lenferink, Geerdink, Obbelink. If you go a bit further north, all names end with -ma. Burema, Sipkema, Miedema. My aunt told me this: Barack Obama is a descendant of the Fries Jelle Obbema, who went to Africa and had many children by various mothers. One of his sons was Sjoerd-Bark Obbema.

Bark. It's a name.

Barke > Bare (bear)

The fact that my aunt told me this makes me very suspicious. My aunt has always been known among us younger generation as a notorious liar.

"Eating sprouts makes you invisible. Oh look ... I just found this ancient treasure map with burnt edges. That treasure you just found in the hollow tree at the back of the garden is 100 years old. Those are magic cookies, that is why they are still fresh and crispy after sitting a hundred years in a hollow tree. The lemonade too!"

Each summer vacation she wrote us letters on grimy torn paper in weird handwriting, signing them with "Japie Krikkemik, pirate". It took years before we found her out.

Barke Obbema's distant Fries cousin is Lieuwe (from Leeuwe - lion) Obbema, a famous eleven-cities-tour skater, who lived from 1912 to 1999. (Why are there no photos of this person on the internet?) He is also related to a six-fold Frisian champion fierljeppen. They can easily say that, no-one has a clue about those obscure Frisian sports anyway. Besides, Obbema sounds more like from Groningen, the province next to Friesland.

There is a perfectly plausible explanation for the name Bara(c)k.

Obbema/Obma, however... remains a bit of a mystery...

Barke Obma, first Frisian/Grunninger-American President of the United States. That doesn't quite rhyme as well as first African-American President. But one thing is true: he has a great strength in that everybody wants to be part of who he is.


  1. I enjoyed your aunt's version of Obama's family tree. Could be!

    I have to say, it's nice to have a President who has some strength of character and a Spirit. Been a long, long time.

  2. In addition, an uncle from Lieuwe changed his last name to Ossema en went to Saudi Arabia as head oildriller.

    (And your aunt is very right.)

  3. This is the first twist on the Obama story that has not been covered by the media. Thanks for the scoop. :)

    An Arkie's Musings

  4. Ohh cool! Unexpectedly cool! Like your article and its connection.

    Fully agree w/ you, that 'everyone' on earth finds one or more ways to be connected to President Obama. As Turkish people, undoubtly we found our way as well:) We're automatically drawn to his name, not Obama but Hussein for us:)
    Because he's really the First Global President in world history. His cabinet interestingly 'wonderful mix' from every color.

    Today our posts constructed on the same, how wonderful:) I just don't remember if we both agreed before or gave eachother a phone earlier, lol:))

    PS, I said Hallo for cute Benjamin, ours is still hot, ~16-18 degrees celcius and no jacket requires. Spring fever on us:)

  5. It's a good article, Thyme.
    I am content with Obama's election.

  6. @Sandy - I really like the things I've hesrd him say so far. This is a good moment to visit the US, I am happy to have that opportunity, even though two days is of course much too short...!

    @Xiwel - haha, that is very funny.. I have not read about any one claiming that kinship yet.. are you sure O'Sama is not more an Irish name??

    @Richies - You are welcome :-)

    @Nihal - Absolutely. His name alone may help bridge a gap between religion. And he doesn't even need to do anything for that! I will need to read your post, I have been to busy to do so before!

    @ Pietro, yes we are too. Let's hope something good will come out of this :)

  7. We are all delighted to have a new American president who will be so wise as to choose the best advisors he can have. We are also overjoyed that the Bush administration is over and done with, though Obama has a lot to work on, if he wants all traces of G.W.B remove.
    About Obama being Dutch, well as you said: the Irish will tell us that his name used to be O'Bama and consequently he is Irish. The Australian Aborigines will say he is Bama so of the people. And who knows what the chinese will say???
    O'Bami??? Joking apart, I think he is great.

  8. Informative post, I like your aunt's story.

  9. Thyme: about your question, both things are true. I think we feel protected by the mountains and at the same time they are something we like to discover and to go through. Of course we see them as a magnificent decorative scenery too.

  10. Your aunt's story is very interesting and fun. Even if it doesn't turn out to be true. I don't really care where he comes from if he can do a good job. I have great hope that this new president of ours will be able to bring about the change that he promises. Our country is at a low point and we all pray that our government will allow him to bring a good change.

  11. Scoop indeed! :D
    We have high hopes on him and it will take a good turn from here.

  12. One more thing.. @Nihal... Obama is also Cherokee, through his mother. I bought "Dreams of my father" at the airport, it is a fascinating read!


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