Category Archives: Ancestry

Genealogy helps crack Aurora cold case murder from 1996, police say

Aurora police on Wednesday announced that Wesley Backman, a truck driver who died in 2008 at the age of 53, was identified as the suspect through advancements in DNA testing, genealogical research, a relatively new technique for investigators that uses ancestry databases to identify relatives of suspected killers.

New DNA evidence links John Doe case to small American Indian tribe

The Kenosha County medical examiner is hopeful that new DNA evidence will help solve a 26-year-old mystery.
Medical Examiner Patrice Hall said new DNA testing shows an unidentified John Doe found in Pleasant Prairie in 1993 may have ties to a small American Indian tribe in South Carolina and to people in Sonora, Mexico.

Thanks to a new DNA analysis, a man is exonerated of rape and freed from prison after 17 years

(CNN) — A Georgia man who served 17 years of a 20-year sentence has been exonerated from his rape conviction and released from prison, after a judge agreed that new analysis of DNA evidence clears him.
Kerry Robinson, 44, walked out of prison in southern Georgia on Wednesday and into the arms of his sister, his son and other supporters, hours after a Colquitt County judge vacated his 2002 conviction and sentence.

Your DNA Could Catch A Criminal

Genetic databases are solving murders and rapes. Privacy scolds should pipe down.

Recent Discoveries Have Overhauled Our Picture of Where Humans Came From, And When

In recent years, anthropologists around the world have discovered new human ancestors, figured out what happened to the Neanderthals, and pushed back the age of the earliest member of our species.
Taken together, these breakthroughs suggest that many of our previous ideas about the human origin story – who we are and where we came from – were wrong.

Etched in DNA: Decoding the secrets of the past

Human origins research. The phrase probably evokes an image of dusty scientists hunched over in the sun, combing the ground for scraps left behind by people of millennia past. The field has long been the realm of stones and bones, with test tube-filled laboratories playing second fiddle.

Pentagon warns home DNA tests pose ‘personal and operational risks’ to military members

The Pentagon has advised military members to avoid using take-home DNA kits because of concerns about “unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission,” according to Yahoo News, which first reported on the internal memo. The memo doesn’t specifically lay out what the exact risks are, but it appears that it’s a generalized concern over health information affecting a military member’s ability to serve.T

What You’re Unwrapping When You Get a DNA Test for Christmas

So what do these developments mean for that DNA kit sitting under your Christmas tree? Men’s Journal calls them “one of the hottest gifting ideas,” and US Weekly promises that “they’re going to love it, no matter how tough of a critic they are.” But is using one of these kits also opening the door to letting the police use your DNA to arrest your cousin?

Could ground breaking DNA technique solve bizarre Sherri Papini kidnap case?

A forensic specialist believes one of the world’s most high-profile unsolved abduction cases could be solved using the same DNA technology used to identify the elusive Golden State Killer.
Three years after “supermum” Sherri Papini was kidnapped while jogging near her home in Redding, Northern California, local authorities are no closer to an arrest.

How to Store Data in Everyday Objects: DNA

ETH Zurich researchers and an Israeli scientist have discovered a new method for turning nearly any object into a data storage unit. This makes it possible to save extensive data in, say, shirt buttons, water bottles or even the lenses of glasses, and then retrieve it years later. The technique also allows users to hide information and store it for later generations. It uses DNA as the storage medium.

A DNA Firm That Caters to Police Just Bought a Genealogy Site

Just two years ago, GEDmatch was still an obscure genealogy website, known only to a million or so hobbyist DNA sleuths looking to fill in their family trees. The site was free, public, and run by two guys with a knack for writing algorithms that helped relatives find each other. All in all, it was a pretty controversy-free place.

Spain‘s ‘stolen baby‘ finds out she was adopted

The first person recognised by a Spanish court as one of the country‘s “stolen babies”, who were snatched from their mothers during the Franco dictatorship, has found her biological family following a DNA test.

Oregon Man’s Manslaughter Conviction Overturned Due To Undisclosed DNA Evidence

It was the year 2000 in the Oregon coast town of Coquille when 15-year-old Leah Freeman went missing and was soon after found dead.
The case went cold for almost a decade before Nicholas McGuffin, Freeman’s boyfriend at the time of her death, was indicted for her murder, without any evidence connecting him to the crime.

Buried Secrets: The DNA journey for a 91-year-old man to find his mother for the very first time

MOODY, Texas — Phil Ratliff will tell you he’s had a good life. All 91 years of it.
But there was that one bad day.

DNA testing shows Tom Hanks and Mister Rogers are 6th cousins

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (WSET) — Tom Hanks recently found out that he’s related to the man he is portraying in an upcoming movie.
Hanks and Fred Rogers are sixth cousins according to Ancestry.com, CNN reports.