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Genealogy Blog

31 March 2014

London Skeletons Reveal Secrets of the Black Death

Analysis of twenty-five skeletons uncovered in London’s Charterhouse Square during Crossrail’s construction works in March 2013 have provided evidence of the location of the second Black Death burial ground. It was established in 1348 to take the growing number of dead and is referenced in historical records as being located in what is now modern day Farringdon.

Due to the burial ground’s historical importance to London, exceptional levels of research analysis were carried out on the skeletons to understand the life and death of the inhabitants affected by the Black Death in the 14th and 15th centuries.

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27 March 2014

DNA Traces Relatives of Cpl Francis Carr Dyson Back to David Dyson of Minster of Sheppey

A 100-year-old First World War mystery has been solved with the help of a Minster man’s DNA. David Dyson was notified last week that his second cousin, Cpl Francis Carr Dyson, is one of 15 soldiers whose remains were discovered during construction work near the French village of Beaucamps-Ligny five years ago.

DNA samples provided by surviving relatives led to 10 of them being formally identified at a meeting at Endcliffe Hall in Sheffield.

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25 February 2014

Canada: DNA Test Identifies Missing Saskatchewan Soldier in German Grave

The mystery of a Saskatchewan-born Second World War soldier who was mistakenly buried with Nazi soldiers appears to have been solved. DNA testing of the remains indicate they are indeed those of Lawrence S. Gordon of Eastend, a private first class in the U.S. Army who was missing and presumed dead following a battle in France in 1944.

His body was never found. Family members aided by historians and well-wishers tracked down his suspected remains to a cemetery in Normandy, France that's administered by the German government.

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20 February 2014

DNA Kits Find Folks Have Neanderthals in the Family Tree

Scanning a printout of her ancestry results from a DNA testing company, Peggy Spatz announced that 2.7 percent of her genetic blueprint was handed down from her Neanderthal relatives some 50,000 years ago. That’s right: She’s part Neanderthal, and scientists say so is everyone else whose ancestors originated in Europe and East Asia.

Her husband, George, carries a slightly higher percentage of DNA from the Neanderthals, according to the results of his own DNA test.

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13 February 2014

Oldest Burial Yields DNA Evidence of First Americans

DNA harvested from the remains of an infant buried 13,000 years ago confirms that the earliest widespread culture in North America was descended from humans who crossed over to the New World from Asia, scientists say.

The research, detailed in this week's issue of the journal Nature, also suggests that many contemporary Native Americans are direct descendants of the so-called Clovis people, whose distinctive stone tools have been found scattered across North America and Mexico.

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12 February 2014

Richard III's DNA Decoded: Scientists To Sequence King in Car Park's Genome

Scientists are to sequence the entire genome of Richard III -- the King found buried beneath an English car parking lot -- in an attempt to discover once and for all what the long-missing monarch really looked like.

Experts hope the project will reveal the color of Richard's hair and eyes, and uncover the genetic markers for any health conditions he suffered, or might have been at risk of, had he not been killed, aged just 32, at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

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4 February 2014

New York City College Students Participate in Ancestry Project

Two hundred New York City undergraduate college students will get a personalized history lesson this semester. Students from across the city are participating in the New York City Student Ancestry Project, part of National Geographic’s Genographic Project.

National Geographic’s Genographic Project is “a multi-year global research initiative that uses DNA to map the history of human migration.” More than 600,000 people in more than 130 countries have participated in the initiative.

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30 January 2014

Black Death and Justinian’s Plague Were Caused By The Same Pathogen, Scientists Find

Two of the world’s deadliest pandemics – Justinian’s Plague and the Black Death – were caused by the same pathogen. These findings were revealed yesterday in an article published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The researchers, who include scientists from McMaster University in Canada, the University of Sydney and Northern Arizona University, were able to gather minuscule plague DNA fragments from the 1,500-year-old teeth of two victims of Justinian’s plague, buried in Bavaria, Germany.

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27 January 2014

Despite DNA Test, Woman Still Claims Grandmother Was Long-Lost Titanic Survivor

A Florida woman still insists her grandmother was a long-lost passenger aboard the doomed Titanic - despite recent DNA evidence indicating otherwise. "We regret that the recent irresponsible release of information to the world will cause a great deal of unnecessary confusion for many," Debrina Woods said.

Woods, 61, says that in April 2012, on the eve of the sinking's centennial, she discovered a trove of letters and legal documents in a suitcase — which had not been opened in 75 years — belonging to her late grandmother Helen Kramer.

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20 January 2014

Lost Child Of The Titanic And The Fraud That Haunted Her Family

It has been described as the Titanic’s last mystery and involves one of the most tragic of all tales connected to the sinking. Loraine Allison, then aged two, had been travelling on the liner with her family when it sank.

Initial reports said that she had died, along with her parents, but no body was ever found. In the years that followed, though, a sensational twist saw a woman, Helen Kramer, come forward claiming to be the child, and apparently able to provide details thought to be known only to the family.

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13 January 2014

19th Century Cholera Strain From Philadelphia Genetically Sequenced

A deadly cholera outbreak gripped Philadelphia and other metropolises along the Eastern seaboard in early 1849, the second in 20 years.

About 1,000 of the city's residents died as result of infection with the water-borne pathogen that year, a figure that might have been considerably higher were it not for a programme to wash the city's filthy streets with clean reservoir water. Now DNA isolated from the preserved 165-year-old intestine of a victim has yielded a complete genome sequence of the bacterium responsible — the first from a nineteeth-century strain of Vibrio cholerae.

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9 January 2014

Family Discovers Insemination Switch after Tracing Genealogy

A couple who underwent artificial insemination at a Utah clinic finds out the husband's sperm had been switched with someone else's. After a difficult search, the couple discovered who their daughter's biological dad was, that part of the story is even more jaw dropping.

The family who we will call Paula, Jeff and Ashley thought it would be fun to do DNA testing, but when Paula got the results she was shocked, " I felt my stomach just drop," says Paula, who, when she opened the results on her computer found that her husband did not have any DNA matches with the couple's daughter.

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DNA Shows Irish People Have More Complex Origins Than Previously Thought

Research into Irish DNA and ancestry has revealed close links with Scotland stretching back to before the Ulster Planation of the early 1600s. But the closest relatives to the Irish in DNA terms are actually from somewhere else entirely!

The earliest settlers came to Ireland around 10,000 years ago, in Stone Age times. There are still remnants of their presence scatter across the island. Mountsandel in Coleraine in the North of Ireland is the oldest known site of settlement in Ireland - remains of woven huts, stone tools and food such as berries and hazelnuts were discovered at the site in 1972.

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27 November 2013

The Genographic Project Returns to Ireland to Reveal DNA Results

Hundreds of County Mayo, Ireland residents gathered earlier this week to learn first hand what their DNA could show them about their ancient past. From Viking ancestry to descending from Niall of the Nine Hostages, the genetics of County Mayo proved intriguing, reaching far beyond Guinness and the rolling green landscape.

The Genographic Project Team returned to County Mayo Ireland to reveal the Geno 2.0 DNA ancestry results from 100 local residents that participated in the Gathering Ireland event this past June.

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10 October 2013

DNA Test Solves 80-Year Family Mystery

They sat at DFW Airport, the site of comings and goings, happy hellos and sad goodbyes. With nerves, they waited. "The way I felt about it, this day was never gonna happen," said Patrick "PJ" Holland. He was in the final 60 minutes of an 80-year wait.

"This is what we call a 'countdown,'" he said with a laugh, after asking yet again when his guests would be arriving.

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