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Genealogy Blog

29 September 2011

New Genetic Evidence Links Spanish Americans of Southwest to Jews

A group of researchers in the United States and Ecuador analyzed DNA from two communities who trace back to Spanish colonial times: one in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, which includes Conjehos County, and one in the Loja Province of southern Ecuador.

The study found “observable Sephardic ancestry” in both communities and calculated Jewish ancestry among the Lojanos at about 5 to 10 percent and among the Spanish Americans, also called Hispanos, at about 1 to 5 percent.

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12 September 2011

Ned Kelly's Remains Identified After 130 Years

It was one of the longest-enduring and most baffling mysteries to face Australian historians and scientists: what ever happened to the body of famed bush ranger and folk hero Ned Kelly?

But 130 years after Kelly was hanged for the murder of three policemen in Old Melbourne Gaol, the nation has finally got an answer. Researchers from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine have announced that, after an exhaustive 20-month search that included testing of more than 30 skeletons and a trip to Argentina, Kelly's remains have been positively identified.

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1 September 2011

Remains of Australian Outlaw Ned Kelly Identified

The headless remains of Australian outlaw Ned Kelly have been identified, 130 years after he was hanged for murder, officials have said. His body was dumped into a mass grave, later transferred to another mass grave and again exhumed in 2009.

Although his skull is still missing the body was identified by comparing a DNA sample with that of a relative. Ned Kelly was seen by many as a cold-blooded killer and others as a folk hero of Irish-Australian resistance.

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25 August 2011

DNA Study Deals Blow to Theory of European Origins

A new study deals a blow to the idea that most European men are descended from farmers who migrated from the Near East 5,000-10,000 years ago. The findings challenge previous research showing that the genetic signature of the farmers displaced that of Europe's indigenous hunters.

The latest research leans towards the idea that most of Europe's males trace a line of descent to stone-age hunters. But the authors say more work is needed to answer this question. The study, by an international team, is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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3 August 2011

Viking Ancestry Explored on the Isle of Man by Researchers

Researching your family tree can only go back so far in time before records become patchy. Now genealogists from the University of Leicester are using DNA tests to trace Manx ancestry back to the Viking era.

Local men with popular Manx surnames are being asked to give a DNA sample to help researchers explore the links between Y chromosomes, surnames and common ancestry. The investigation starts on Saturday, 19 February 2011 at the Manx Museum.

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2 August 2011

iGENEA's King Tut claims

Interesting article by Dienekes Pontikos: "iGENEA is a Swiss ancestry analysis company which I had deservedly mocked a couple of years ago because of its ridiculous claims. Now, they have done it again, pretending to be able to link men with a particular R1b1a2 haplotype with King Tut. Note that the Y-chromosome of King Tut has never been published, and speculation about it is based on some screencaps from a Discovery Channel documentary that may or may not belong to the Pharaoh."

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30 July 2011

Remains of 12 WWII Servicemen Identified

The Pentagon has identified the remains of 12 World War II servicemen. The military said Thursday they died in a plane crash in Papua New Guinea on Oct 27, 1943. Their remains will be buried Monday at Arlington National Cemetery.

They are Army Air Forces 1st Lt. Jack Volz of Indianapolis; 2nd Lt. Regis Dietz of Pittsburgh; 2nd Lt. Edward Lake of Brooklyn, N.Y; 2nd Lt. Martin Murray of Lowell, Mass.; 2nd Lt. William Shryock of Gary, Ind.; Tech. Sgt. Robert Wren of Seattle; Tech. Sgt. Hollis Smith of Cove, Ark.; Staff Sgt. Berthold Chastain of Dalton, Ga.; Staff Sgt. Clyde Green of Erie, Pa.; Staff Sgt. Frederick Harris of Medford, Mass.; Staff Sgt. Claude Ray of Coffeyville, Kan.; and Staff Sgt. Claude Tyler of Landover, Md.

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23 June 2011

Pentagon Identifies Remains of 5 Servicemen Missing from WWII

The remains of five U.S. Army Air Force servicemen whose plane crashed in the Philippines during WWII have been identified, the U.S. Department of Defense announced today. The Pentagon said the men went missing on April 3, 1945, after taking off in a B-25J Mitchell bomber from Palawan Field, Philippines.

Although some witnesses later claimed to have seen the plane crash in a swampy area and remains were found, the evidence was not substantial enough to discern their identities. The remains were exhumed from unmarked graves three times since the crash in an effort to identify the men.

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Archaeological Evidence Reveals That Half of Britons Have German DNA

Geneticists have revealed that according to archaeological evidence, 50 per cent of Britons are German. It may shock those who take pride in quoting a world cup triumph and the outcome of two wars as signs of British superiority.

It is already known that tribes from northern Europe invaded Britain after the Romans left in around 410AD. But scientists now say that around half of Britons have German blood gushing through their veins.

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14 June 2011

US Identifies Remains of Soldier Missing Since 1951

Sixty years after vanishing on the battlefields of the Korean War and 20 years after being shipped back in a coffin, the remains of a US soldier have been identified using DNA testing.

The Pentagon said Monday it had identified Corporal A.V. Scott, who went missing in 1951 at age 27 and was sent back in one of 208 coffins bearing the remains of 200 to 400 soldiers returned between 1991 and 1994.

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12 May 2011

North America Was Populated by No More Than 70 People 14,000 Years Ago

Professor Hey, of Rutgers University, was quoted in Live Science as saying his method favoured 'actual genetic data over estimates used in previous calculations'. He said: 'The estimated effective size of the founding population for the New World is about 70 individuals.'

Archeological evidence supports his calculation that the initial settlement of North America occurred between 12,000 and 14,000 years ago. He said: 'The beauty of the new methodology is that it uses actual DNA sequences collected from Asian peoples and Native Americans, an approach that can provide a detailed portrait of historical populations.

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28 April 2011

DNA Solves Family Mystery of Lost World War I Soldier

Julie Hunt knew her great-uncle was killed in World War I and that his body had never been found. But what she could never have imagined was that her grandfather’s brother Matthew Hepple finally would be formally identified through DNA testing.

He was one of hundreds of Australian soldiers whose remains were found 95 years after their death, buried at Fromelles. Not only did this bring closure for Ms Hunt and solve a long family mystery but it also gave her the opportunity to meet distant relatives for the first time.

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26 April 2011

Titanic's Unknown Child Given New, Final Identity

Five days after the passenger ship the Titanic sank, the crew of the rescue ship Mackay-Bennett pulled the body of a fair-haired, roughly 2-year-old boy out of the Atlantic Ocean on April 21, 1912. Along with many other victims, his body went to a cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the crew of the Mackay-Bennett had a headstone dedicated to the "unknown child" placed over his grave.

When it sank, the Titanic took the lives of 1,497 of the 2,209 people aboard with it. Some bodies were recovered, but names remained elusive, while others are still missing. But researchers believe that they have finally resolved the identity of the unknown child -- concluding that he was 19-month-old Sidney Leslie Goodwin from England.

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7 April 2011

14 More Fromelles Diggers Named

A further 14 World War I Australian soldiers killed in the 1916 Battle of Fromelles have been identified. Veterans Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon said the diggers, originally from NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, were among 250 Australian and British soldiers recovered from mass graves in Pheasant Wood, France, in 2009.

Mr Snowdon said it brought the total number of Australians identified at Fromelles to 110. But, of the 250 recovered soldiers, 100 Australians and two Britons remain unnamed. The Battle of Fromelles on July 19, 1916, was the first action in which Australian troops fought on the Western Front. It proved disastrous.

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24 February 2011

DNA Ancestry Portrait: From Saliva in Your Mouth to Wall Art

What would you do with a giant QR code—you know, the kind of URL you can scan with your phone—of your DNA ancestry? When I was asked this question, I didn't know the answer. Does anyone really have a need or want for a huge QR code that lets people see details about your family history? And for $440 (or more) a pop?

Balk at the price all you want, but someone is apparently buying these things. The company behind them, DNA 11, creates a number of different personalized portraits (some of which Ars has given away in the past, in fact), including standard DNA portraits, fingerprint portraits, and kiss portraits.

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