DNA testing of unknown Recovered Bodies


Seumas

Member
Mar 25, 2019
720
398
108
Glasgow, Scotland
I'm wondering if anything worth testing for valid results remains in those graves. Pine caskets with wet bodies, buried in 1912? I'm thinking even the bones will have turned to mush by now. And the claim of minimum excavation of graves, how is that done? Do you drill a hole into the earth until you hit wet wood and organic material? This needs to be explained, since no matter what, the casket (if there is anything remaining) has to be violated.

You can look up the facebook page that Bill mentioned or why not just send him a PM ? He's been very open and straightforward about what he is proposing and provided a lot of detail.

There are also a lot of victims relatives who want to go ahead with this. Their wish should be respected.
 

Bill Willard

Member
Mar 24, 2001
286
17
183
We are in a hold pattern with the world locked down with the Covid-19 virus. We've added a world known expert in ancient DNA on our team to even further enhance our opportunities to identify the victims. We have also upgraded several of our project components - memorials, etc.
 

Bill Willard

Member
Mar 24, 2001
286
17
183
for PRR5406 - Seumas is correct - we would welcome you to the FB group (Project NAME THEM ALL) and I am happy to address any of your questions. For those who are sensitive to this issue, I am going to use the scientific terms, which may appear callous - it is not meant to.

First, the wood in the coffins would be the first material to decompose. In 2001, there were small bones found of now-known Sidney Goodwin. It is believed that, because an adult male's bones are significantly larger with more mass, and also more dense (we old timers have hard bones compared to young children) that it will take much longer to decompose. Our experts say there is a good chance there are remains, though maybe not complete remains. We know there is a short window to recover and identify using today's genetic testing technology. We may have passed the opportunity, if in fact all the remains are gone. And, we acknowledge that might be the case - but our Titanic families (over 240 now) support our effort to try.

Next - you asked about the procedure. Somewhere someone started a "they will using a strip mining operation to recover them." Well, that is as far from the truth as it could be. We will isolate one grave at a time - cordon it off for tourists, bystanders, onlookers and the like. Only the essential personnel will be there. We are asking each cemetery to assist by opening the graves, just as they would for a burial, down to about 4 feet. That is the size of the opening. One of our technicians will go down, and trowel the dirt into containers. IF something is found, we stop, and get our forensic anthropologist to identify an appropriate bone for retrieving DNA. We would take 4 samples (that is our current plan), and ship 2 to a laboratory in the US, and 2 to a lab in Denmark. Both are well credentialed. We feel two independent testing locations provide confidence and integrity to the verification. Each sample will be between 10 - 20 grams, depending on the source. Nothing else will be removed. If we go and find little, we will sift (the process is called screening) the troweled soil, and carefully examine what is filtered out. When we have our samples, we return respectfully the troweled dirt, then ask the cemetery technicians to return the dirt they removed, and then the topsoil is replaced.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

Bill Willard

Member
Mar 24, 2001
286
17
183
Also - my apologies for not answering right away - though I have been an ET member for many years, I only check here occasionally.
 
Nov 14, 2005
2,166
1,070
308
I know some disagree but I think you guys are going about it in the right way. I don't see anything wrong with the way you all are doing it. I grew up in a place where before the antiquities act it was not all that common for people to spend their weekends digging up graves looking for pots and artifacs. I always thought that was out of bounds.Especially for their personal collections. But the way you guys are going about it is a completely different thing so I hope you are successful in your project.
 

Bill Willard

Member
Mar 24, 2001
286
17
183
Thank you Steven. With over 240 Titanic family members (direct descendants, nieces/nephews and cousins) endorsing our project with the hope of finding their loved ones, we aim to identify all for which we can obtain viable DNA.
 

Mike Spooner

Member
Sep 21, 2017
1,014
203
138
I don't know if is coincident or psychic. Only yesterday I had a long chat with Trevor Baxter from BTS Who has spent a lot of time into investigating the where about of Titanic crew and passengers grave sides in the UK. Some are quite badly neglected where will see if can be repaired or just clean up. He ask me to take a visit the Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey about 20 miles away. Where captain Smith wife Eleanor and daughter Melville are buried, Also Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon. I will report back on my findings in the near future with photos.
Do I have the neve to ask if a DNA test has be done!
 

Similar threads

Similar threads