DNA TESTING OF AUSTRALIANS FOR GENEALOGY
- I must correct a mistake the DNA Testing is NOT a project of the
CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS but a project of Brigham
Young University privately funded by multim millionaires. The Church
is just allowing the Scientists to utilisie their building.
I had an interesting snippet about DNA testing helping with
identifying missing soldiers in the Korean War.
Thought I'd reprint it
With regard to the BYU Molecular Genealogy Project happening in Perth
on Thursday 31st May and how it will help people doing family history
research, the following article appeared in RootsWeb Review Missing
Links Vol. 6, No. 18
REVERSE GENEALOGY TO FIND FAMILIES OF KOREAN WAR SOLDIERS
by Megan Smolenyak Megan_Smolenyak@...
Recently I had the thrill of finding the 100-year-old mother of
one of "my" soldiers alive and hoping for word of her son. She
was born at the turn of the 20th century and had lost her son at
the mid-point (the sad date of 2 November 1950 is still firmly
engrained in the family's collective memory), but she never lost
hope that she would at least learn what had become of him or be
able to give him a proper burial. Now, she may finally get her
Half a century after the conflict, there are still approximately
8,100 servicemen unaccounted for from the Korean War. Of these,
6,318 served in the U.S. Army. The Repatriation and Family
Affairs Division is responsible for locating and re-establishing
communications with the families of these soldiers, and I am
fortunate enough to be one of the genealogists to help them with
this undertaking. When a family is located, mitochondrial DNA
(mtDNA) testing is used in an attempt to make an identification,
and when a match occurs, the soldier can finally be put to rest
with full military honors.
The work is often challenging, given that the soldiers' files
generally have rather limited family information. In most cases,
they include the names of a parent and perhaps another relative.
Not surprisingly, many of these kinfolk have passed away over
the last 50 years. Others have left the area where the family
lived around 1950. Since mtDNA testing requires following the
soldier's maternal line, the researcher also has to deal with
several generations of name changes for the women in the family.
By way of example, one case of a soldier from Illinois resulted
in six DNA-eligible people with five different surnames (none
of them the same as the soldier) now living in Illinois,
California, Arizona, and Oregon. Because of the need to work
from the past to the present and the emphasis on maternal lines,
I refer to this kind of research as "reverse genealogy."
Because of the intensive nature of "reverse" genealogy, I get to
know these families quite well over time -- sometimes learning
more than they know about their own extended clan -- and I
consequently develop a sense of connection to "my" soldiers.
After having resolved more than 40 cases, I am still elated each
time I make contact with a family for the first time.
Even so, there are still more than 4,000 soldiers whose families
have not yet been located and just maybe you hold the key to one
or two of these. If you know of anyone who served in Korea and
did not return, please visit http://www.koreanwar.org .
On this site, you can search for any soldier by his name. Once
you locate him, you can leave a remembrance. By doing so -- and
providing any details you can recall about the soldier's family,
or at least your own contact information for follow-up -- may
help solve a case. The tiniest tidbit -- an old address, a
middle initial, the soldier's school -- can be that vital,
missing clue. If you see a "DNA" tag next to the soldier's name,
this means that this family is actively being sought at this
moment. If it is, it is even more urgent for you to leave a
remembrance or contact the U.S. Army directly at 1-800-892-2490.
Written by Megan Smolenyak
Previously published by Julia M. Case and Myra
Vanderpool Gormley, CG, Missing Links, Vol. 6, No. 18,
2 May 2001. RootsWeb: http://www.rootsweb.com/
Colin and Chris Hannan