S452, “Case Studies in DNA”

February 15th, 2017 by National Genealogical Society Blog Editor

DNA, S452, “Case Studies in DNA”

4:00 pm, Saturday, 13 May 2017

Claudia Breland, MLS, full-time professional genealogical researcher, author, and lecturer in Washington. Her books include Genealogy Offline and Searching for Your Ancestors in Historic Newspapers. Claudia describes how “results from DNA testing can solve family mysteries, disprove traditions, and lead to new avenues of research.

In 1883, 54-year-old Rhoda Jones was bedridden and could not walk across her bedroom unaided. One June morning she was found next to the railroad tracks a half mile from her home with her skull crushed. The Michigan newspapers called it a sad case of suicide. DNA testing provided a link to her parents, and traditional genealogical research uncovered a motive for murder.

John Reade, born in New Hampshire in 1812, ran away from home when he was beaten by his father, who owned a sawmill. DNA testing of a male-line descendant links him to the family of Revolutionary War Veteran Supply Reade, who owned a sawmill in Cheshire County, New Hampshire.

Katherine Cluny was a 7-year old living in a Catholic orphanage in Paterson, New Jersey in 1870. Traditional research tied her to parents, and tentatively to four siblings who lived with their aunt in the next town over. DNA testing of Katherine’s great-grandson matches a descendant of one those siblings.

One client’s family has a long-held tradition of full-blood Cherokee and Choctaw ancestry, but his DNA shows no Native American ethnicity. Most surprising of all, ethnicity estimates show 38% Great Britain and 19% Ireland. Matches in Ancestry DNA circles led to the Buckley family, who left England for Virginia in the 18th century.

There’s never been a better time to be a genealogist!”