Benjaman Kyle – Close Calls, Part I

By |2010-12-12T02:00:05-08:00December 12th, 2010|

Hi Colleen:   I read the article about you in the June 2010 issue of More Magazine, and am curious about one thing. Are you the same person who competed on Wheel of Fortune in 1991? If so, I was one of your competitors. Just curious!   Margot Theresa Cox   In fact, I was on Wheel of Fortune in 1991.  (I lost.  I was the third contestant in line, and the other two women, including Margot, mopped up on the puzzles before I could get a letter in edgewise.)   When I wrote her back, identifying myself as her competitor, Margot answered: When I got your response I had to [...]

Bonnie's New Family

By |2010-09-06T01:43:45-07:00September 6th, 2010|

Finding Bonnie's birth father was one of our most difficult birth parent searches.  Bonnie and her brother Michael knew they were born in Germany in the 1950s, but they did not know they were adopted until 2002.  Although Bonnie had a copy of her birth cerificate, she had not questioned why her parents names did not appear on it, and why it was issued two years after she was born.  When Bonnie's mother passed away, a chance remark by a neighbor revealed the truth.  Bonnie explains: We only found out [we were adopted] because of a neighbor woman, who knew my mother through Bingo.  I was walking my dogs when she approached me and offered her condolences.  She casually mentioned to me [...]

Unknown Child on the Titanic – Part IV (Conclusion)

By |2010-08-21T14:55:54-07:00August 21st, 2010|

When AFDIL attempted an identification through Y-DNA, I was asked by my colleague Dr. Odile Loreille to find a Y-DNA reference for Sidney Goodwin.  We were just finishing up the identification of The Hand in the Snow, so she knew I was available for a new project. Of course, my first step was to search Ancestry.com to obtain information about the Goodwin genealogy.  I immediately found Sidney's parents Frederick and Augusta in 1901 living in Middlesex with their four oldest children Lillian (5), Charles (4), William (2), and Jessie (1).  Frederick was listed as a print compositer.  Because Frederick and his sons perished on the Titanic, to find a Y-reference for the family I researched Frederick's [...]

Unknown Child on the Titanic – Part III

By |2010-08-19T01:05:26-07:00August 19th, 2010|

To understand what happened next, you have to know a little about mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).  Mitochondrial DNA is contained in small, football-shaped inclusions outside the nucleus of a cell. It's widely believed that mitochondria were once independent bacteria that invaded primitive cells millions of years ago.  Instead of being digested, these bacteria took up residence in the cell, forming a symbiotic relationship with it.  The cell provided them with food and water, and the mitochondria provided the cell with energy for metabolism and heat.  The arrangement worked out so well that millennia later, a human cell has up to 1,000 mitochondria, each carrying five to ten copies of its own genome.     [...]

Maurice Conway

By |2010-08-11T23:03:49-07:00August 11th, 2010|

The best part of our projects is the good friendships we form with the people whose lives we  touch.  On our recent trip to Ireland, Andy and I visited with Maurice Conway and his family in Co. Limerick.  Maurice provided the DNA match that confirmed that the remains found in the wreck of Northwest Flight 4422 were those of his distant cousin Francis Joseph van Zandt.   During our time together, Maurice took us to the old Conway farm where Frank's mother Margaret Conway was born and grew up.  We walked the road she walked with her sisters and brothers as they started from home for America.  And of course we paid our respects at the Conway [...]

23 and Me Male and Female Haplgroups

By |2010-08-10T22:34:31-07:00August 10th, 2010|

I just spent the evening reviewing the male and female haplogroups of Benjaman's 23 and Me matches that are predicted to be at the 3rd and 4th cousins levels.  I was hoping to find a geographical pattern that might indicate his origins.  Unfortunately, the haplogroups of his matches do not reveal too much information because of their variety.  His male haplogroups are mostly R1b1b2a and its downstream subclades, with one I1* [European], one Q1a3a [Native American], one E1b1a8a [African America], and one G2a [Turkey and the Mediterranean].  His female haplogroups are quite varied.  These include HV0 and various subclades of H1, H5, and H7, also subclade U2, various subclades of U5, one T1, two [...]

Benjaman's Powell and Davidson Matches

By |2010-08-09T18:47:02-07:00August 9th, 2010|

In February 2009, Jim Barrett, Group Administrator of the Powell Surname DNA Project, contacted me regarding 34/37 marker matches Benjaman Kyle had with members of the study.  For about a year, I researched how these Powells might be related to Benjaman. In the Spring of 2010, however, while I was reviewing Benjaman's matches in the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation Y-database, I noticed a 27/28 marker match with a Davidson that I had not taken too seriously.  This match did not appear to be competitive with the matches with the Powells. But on closer examination I discovered the Davison match was just as important because of the way Sorenson scores its markers.  Whereas DNA Heritage [...]

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