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Genealogy Blog

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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30 May 2013

AfricanAncestry.com Rolls Out New and Improved myDNAmix Admixture Test as Part of its 10th Anniversary Celebration

African Ancestry, Inc., the pioneers of genetics-based ancestry tracing for people of African descent, today announced new product enhancements to its myDNAmix Admixture product offering.

myDNAmix determines various ancestries included in one's genetic make-up from five distinct populations: Indigenous Americas (Native American), East Asia, West Sub-Saharan Africa, West Europe and India Subcontinent.

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21 May 2013

Mysterious Minoans Were European, DNA Finds

The Minoans, the builders of Europe's first advanced civilization, really were European, new research suggests.

The conclusion, published today (May 14) in the journal Nature Communications, was drawn by comparing DNA from 4,000-year-old Minoan skeletons with genetic material from people living throughout Europe and Africa in the past and today.

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All Europeans Are Related If You Go Back Just 1,000 Years, Scientists Say

A genetic survey concludes that all Europeans living today are related to the same set of ancestors who lived 1,000 years ago. And you wouldn't have to go back much further to find that everyone in the world is related to each other.

"We find it remarkable because it's counterintuitive to us," Graham Coop, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California at Davis, told NBC News. "But it's not totally unexpected, based on genetic analysis."

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10 May 2013

Genomics Recapitulates History in Europe

Most of us know our families back a few generations but, beyond that, have little idea who our ancestors were or where they lived. Jumping further back, all of us alive today likely share most of our ancestors from 3,000 to 4,000 years ago.

What happened between then and now? We've pieced together a broad picture of human kinship based on disciplines from archeology to linguistics to history. In Europe, for example, several relatively recent migrations have helped shape links and gaps amongst today's populations.

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8 April 2013

Boy, 17, Builds DNA Testing Machine in His Bedroom To Find Out Why His Younger Sibling Has Ginger Hair

With Fred's straight brown hair and Gus's curly ginger mane, the teasing the Turner brothers got from their friends was rather predictable. Less predictable, however, was Fred's response to it.

After putting up with endless jokes about the boys having different fathers, 17-year-old Fred settled the matter once and for all – by designing his very own DNA testing machine.

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8 March 2013

1st African American Man Dates Back 338,000 Years

A miniscule bit of DNA from an African American man now living in South Carolina has been traced back 338,000 years, according to a new study.

The man’s Y chromosome — a hereditary factor determining male sex — has a history that’s so old, it even predates the age of the oldest known Homo sapiens fossils, according to the report, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

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25 February 2013

Black Celebrities Trace Slave Ancestors

Samuel L. Jackson is amongst the personalities whose ancestry is discovered in a new series of the US programme Finding Your Roots.

The American version of the popular British show Who Do You Think You Are?, Finding Your Roots premieres in the UK this Sunday (February 24) and episode one traces the ancestral backgrounds of Jackson, along with former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Ruth Simmons, president of America’s prestigious Brown University.

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