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'Obscure' family detailed
Doris Buffett publishes book on family history

 Doris Buffett worked for the past 30 years on research for a new 272-page book about her family's history.
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Date published: 12/24/2012


Doris Buffett has spent parts of the last 30 years traveling all over the world on a personal mission to track down her family's roots.

That's meant combing through photographs, personal letters, probate records, birth certificates, obituaries, church documents, diary entries and more. The Fredericksburg philanthropist contacted just about every Buffett she could find to see what insights they could offer. That list included singer Jimmy Buffett, with whom Doris Buffett traveled to New Zealand as part of the project. The pair are at best very distant relatives.

The result of her efforts is a handsome hardbound book recently published by Capital Offset Co. titled "An Obscure Family: The Buffetts in America." The 272-page book is full of Buffett-family pictures and records, a departure from the somewhat bland tradition of genealogies.

Doris Buffett's love for genealogy was kindled when she was 13 and received a letter from an uncle with details about her family's past. She got serious about the project in 1983, sending out requests for information to 116 Buffetts in America.

Over the next three decades she learned that John Buffett, a French Huguenot who came to Long Island in the mid-to-late 17th century, was likely the first member of the family to arrive in the New World. Her forebears were farmers and sea captains, grocers and teachers, a congressman and an occasional artist.

In the mid-19th century her ancestors moved to Omaha, Neb., where she grew up and her famous brother, billionaire investor Warren, continues to live. Doris Buffett said her brother, who is 82 and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, was most interested to know whether old age is a trait that runs in the family.

The title of the book springs from a conversation Doris Buffett had with a genealogist in London while researching the book. She was told that information was not easily obtained because many records had burned and because she was part of "an obscure family."

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