DNA-The Next Big Gold Rush?

By |2017-05-29T18:05:24-07:00May 29th, 2017|

The discovery of gold at Sutters Mill, CA in 1848 promised untold wealth for those who had the resources and stamina to outlast the competition.  At the dawn of the California Gold Rush, there were no laws governing property rights; prospectors depended on a system of staking claims to protect their discoveries. Early prospectors did well, earning many times what they would have taken in as common laborers. But within a short time, the techniques of extracting gold became more efficient and sophisticated - far beyond the financial resources of the individual 49er. The tens of billions of dollars of gold recovered from the hills of California were ultimately controlled by only a few.  Many later prospectors returned home empty-handed. We are now experiencing a [...]

Big Business or Big Brother?

By |2022-07-08T21:30:57-07:00May 2nd, 2017|

At the recent American Academy of Forensic Science meeting in New Orleans, I attended the workshop The Opiate Crisis, Dirty Bombs, Big Data/Big Problems, and Driverless Cars:  On the Leading Edge of Forensic Science - 2017 Theoretical Forensic Sciences "Think Tank".  It seemed like a good session to discover where forensic research is going, aside from the serious look the community is taking at standards of proof within the various forensic disciplines.The talk Who You Are Out in the World and What Do You Think? by Lucy Davis presented an interesting look at the big business side of genetic genealogy.  The substance of the talk was a discussion of the informed consent, the terms and conditions of service (TOS), [...]

Who Am I? What is My Name? – Part XII – Taking Stock

By |2022-07-06T01:22:19-07:00December 8th, 2016|

INTRODUCTION As with all research projects, there have been so many zigzags in this story, it's only reasonable to take a break to take stock of where we are in solving the puzzle of Pnina's identity.  We haven't solved all the mysteries yet, but we know so much more now than we started with a few years ago. Pnina Gutman is in her 70s and lives in Israel. She leads a normal life as a mother, a grandmother, and a great grandmother, but she has an unusual story.  Pnina was smuggled from the Warsaw Ghetto in late 1942 when she was an infant and hidden on the Aryan side by Charlotte [...]

For Immediate Release – Grant from the Elie Wiesel Jewish Studies Center, Boston University

By |2016-11-07T16:42:13-08:00November 7th, 2016|

The Center for Professional Education at Boston University has been awarded a competitive grant from Jewish Cultural Endowment Fund of the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies to hold a one-day workshop "Holocaust Survival and Reunion Stories:  Separating Fact from Fiction Using Genealogical Research Techniques". The workshop will be conducted by internationally recognized forensic genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD, founder of Identifinders International.  Dr. Fitzpatrick will focus on stories of child survivors and their efforts to connect with their birth families, covering five topics:  Introduction to Holocaust Research Discerning the True from the False when the Impossible is the Norm The Mascot - A Holocaust Literary Fraud? Holocaust Archives and Repositories Who Am I?  What [...]

ISHI 27 – David O'Shea and the Grandmothers of the Plaza

By |2016-10-02T16:29:05-07:00October 2nd, 2016|

The keynote at the 27th annual International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI27) was given by internationally recognized video journalist David O'Shea. O'Shea addressed the conference on the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Asociación Civil Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo), a human rights organization formed in Argentina in 1977 in response to the disappearance of hundreds of children who were either kidnapped or born to mothers who were "disappeared" political dissidents during the country's "Dirty War" in 1974-1983.

Who Am I? What is My Name? Part V – Gertrude and Sonia’s Escape

By |2022-07-06T01:27:48-07:00March 7th, 2014|

Pawiak Prison Gertrude and Sonia Preiss-Spiro's names are listed on the transport to Auschwitz of 141 women from Pawiak prison in Warsaw on 24 August 1943.  Pawiak prison was originally used by the Polish judicial to incarcerate criminals, but after the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, it was converted into a Berman Gestapo prison.  Approximately 100,000 men and 200,000 women passed through the prison, mostly members of the Armia Krajowa, political prisoners and civilians taken as hostages in street round-ups.  An estimate 37, 000 were executed and 60,000 sent to German death and concentration camps.  There were few known escape attempts. Even if Gertrude survived Auschwitz, she would [...]

Los Angeles Times Article "DNA Sequencer could give doctors wealth of genetic information".

By |2014-01-11T00:07:42-08:00January 11th, 2014|

An article appeared in the Los Angeles Times last Saturday January 4, 2014 that is of interest to the genetic genealogy community: DNA Sequencer could give doctors wealth of genetic information. www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/viewer.aspx The article was prompted by the recent FDA approval of the Illumina MiSeqDX DNA sequencer that can sequence a human genome in a couple of hours for about $5,000. Also approved last fall were two Illumina assays that can sequence for 139 genetic variations associated with cystic fibrosis, one of the most common inherited diseases. The rapid turn-around, low cost, and more accurate sequencing of genetic data prompts the question:  Now that we can sequence a genome faster, cheaper, and [...]

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