Category Archives: Ancestry

I was writing about colonial America’s first enslaved Africans.

USA TODAY-The search for one woman’s family led a reporter to find her own roots using oral history, archives and DNA tests. It also led to stunning results.

Private DNA database leads to arrest in decades-old Delaware rape

A DNA database used for genealogy purposes has helped Newark Police identify a suspect in a 26-year-old rape case. Police Lt. Andrew Rubin said it is the first such use of an ancestry-type website by the department.

Playing Catch a Killer With a Room Full of Sleuths

At a forensic conference in California, law enforcement officials grappled with how to avoid destroying one of the field’s biggest innovations in decades.

Sexual Assault Kit Task Force to use genealogical searches to track down ‘John Doe’ rapists

The Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force will pilot a project that uses a federal grant to do genealogical database searches to identify ‘John Doe’ rapists they have indicted based on DNA profiles found in rape kits.

The Messy Consequences of the Golden State Killer Case

This summer should have been a triumphant time for genealogy and forensics. It marked a year since a genealogist had helped law enforcement track down the man suspected of being the notorious Golden State Killer, and in the ensuing months genealogists had helped police identify suspects in more than 40 other cases. In June, such work led to its first conviction. In July, the first exoneration.

The Massive, Overlooked Potential of African DNA

When evening falls on a solar-panel-clad building outside the Nigerian city of Lagos, its generators roar to life. The electrical grid here is unpredictable, and the company that works out of the building, 54gene, isn’t taking any chances. Losing power, even for a few hours, isn’t an option when you’re housing thousands of tubes of blood and spit at a stable –80 degrees Celsius.

DOJ Announces Forensic Genealogy Guidelines At Palm Springs Conference


It’s the largest DNA forensic conference in the world and it’s in our own backyard. The International Symposium on Human Identification is a place where the most respected in the industry can talk about emerging technologies.
The biggest topic on the agenda this year is forensic genealogy. Forensic genealogy is law enforcement going after unsolved crimes by utilizing databases through genealogy sites like Ancestory.com.

Scientists Find the Skull of Humanity’s Ancestor, on a Computer

Now researchers like Dr. Mounier are using computers and mathematical techniques to reconstruct the appearance of fossils they have yet to find. On Tuesday, Dr. Mounier and Marta Mirazón Lahr, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Cambridge in Britain, unveiled a virtual skull belonging to the last common ancestor of all modern humans, who lived in Africa about 300,000 years ago.

This Startup Wants to Stash Your DNA on the Moon

Paying US $99 for a trip to the moon sounds like quite the bargain. But before you sign up, be aware that it’s likely to be a one-way trip, without life support, water, or even air. In fact, you can leave your whole body at home, because the passengers will be strictly molecular.

A Brief History of Forensics and Human Identification– Infographic

It’s no question that the field of forensic science has come a long way in the past few decades. Some of you reading this article may remember the satisfaction of pouring a perfect gel or the exact method for calculating the half life of the radioactive materials you’d used. If this is you, you likely remember the Frye and Daubert hearings that followed.
As we look forward to the 30th anniversary of The International Symposium on Human Identification, we’d like to take a moment to celebrate the advances in forensic science and the people and moments that pushed the field forward. Some of these moments were triumphs in history, and others were times when the community came together following a tragedy. We’ve created an infographic highlighting these moments in time and invite you to scroll through history and perhaps down memory lane a little.
If you’re joining us at ISHI 30 this year, we invite you to celebrate history with us in person! Next to the registration area will be a museum exhibit showcasing historical cases, former technologies, and the people who helped shape history. We thank those who pioneered the field of forensics and look forward to witnessing what the future brings.

An Israeli soldier went MIA 37 years ago. International intrigue and DNA testing brought him home.

TEL AVIV — For decades, Israel’s National Center of Forensic Medicine has tested skeletal remains secreted across its northern border, checking whether the DNA matched that of Israeli soldiers missing in action behind enemy lines in Lebanon or Syria.
“From time to time they’d bring the samples,” said Chen Kugel, the head of the forensics center. “It’s body remains. It’s bones. It was always: maybe this time, maybe this time, maybe this time.”
There was never a match.
Then, earlier this year, a bag of bones arrived, and from the moment it was opened, it looked promising. The staff soon determined that the bones belonged to Staff Sgt. Zachary Baumel, who had gone missing in Lebanon 37 years ago.

The Importance and Impact of Cold Case Units

Practitioners from across the criminal justice system speak to the importance of cold case units and the impact they can have.

Under the Microscope – Jodie Ward

The Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research (AFTER) is the only human decomposition facility in the Southern Hemisphere. In April 2019, the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency DVI Committee (ADVIC) conducted a two-day national DVI exercise at AFTER involving 50 participants representing every police jurisdiction in Australia and New Zealand, the Australian Defence Force, specialist forensic disciplines and mortuary operations. The aim of the exercise was to test the ability of DVI practitioners from multiple jurisdictions to deploy to, and process, a DVI scene and undertake remote post-mortem activities in accordance with INTERPOL DVI Guidelines.

Italian princess ‘inherits £400m artworks’ after proving who her grandfather was

Dialta Alliata Lensi Orlandi has won a 25 year battle after DNA tests revealed she is the granddaughter of art baron Arthur Acton

DNA bus tours New Orleans to collect samples for national medical database

You may have seen the colorful bus around the city, just as 62-year old Sam Frazzella did, and wondered what on earth was going on inside. Turns out it’s one of the largest biomedical research studies in human history, and its results may change medical treatment as we know it.
“I was coming back from seeing my own doctor for my kidney stones, and I saw this giant bus under the bridge,” Frazzella said. He knocked on the door and was told the bus was part of a national research program called All of Us, which is collecting people’s DNA from all over the country. The goal is to develop better treatment for diseases.