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DNA searching: a personal experience

This post originates from a comment from Matthew Kleid, and rather than have it lost in amongst the responses I thought it had resonance enough with the Somerton Man’s DNA project to include it as a dedicated post.

Identifying my birth parents from my DNA sample taken in 2018 was an evening project for three months. And that was four years ago now. Very fortunately, I connected with a first cousin once removed. What’s more is he was familiar with the family politics, and armed with that information my placement in the tree came swiftly, even though my father was one of nine and mother one of four siblings. Also helpful were online obituaries – basically family trees in a gift basket.

Point is, it really should be possible for Rachel Egan to reconstruct her grand-paternal family tree in this day and age, just by web sleuthing, and from there identify a missing relative. Also, there should be someone still living with memories of the Somerton Man, but we do not have long.

Evoking my personal experience once again, I was able to connect recently with the 95 year old sister of my great-grandmother on whom I had the least information. She was a total cipher and there is no web information about her at all. My guess is the Somerton Man was estranged from his family as well and left few to no public records. So time is of the essence here…

I am under no illusion that this is something you do not already know. Just sharing my own personal experience with this line of work.

Matthew K.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Clive #

    Interesting and informative post from Matthew, that proves you can find DNA information with a bit of luck and some information. I suppose in the SM case, it all boils down as to just how much Rachel Egan wants to dig?

    February 17, 2022
    • And what influences may be denying her the ability to do so. The great irony may be that the individual who strived so hard to have the body exhumed for DNA testing may be the same one who has put on the brakes.

      February 17, 2022
      • Matthew Kleid #

        Thanks for posting. Happy to share. I believe expert DNA genealogist, Colleen Fitzpatrick, and Prof. Abbott began exploring matches since the 2015-2016 time frame. The public DNA databases then were quite small. The profile body has since grown into the hundreds of millions.

        Along those lines, I understand that Rachel has matched recently with Thomson ancestors and that has left the professor’s head “spinning.” A note of thanks to Byron Deveson for sharing his research. Unfortunately this leaves us with more questions than answers, since Jestyn’s friend has said emphatically she told him Robin was not Prosper’s. We don’t need the Somerton Man’s DNA. Rachel Egan has it, a quarter precisely. I don’t believe for a second there is a reasonable chance TSM is NOT her grandfather. The concordance of facial features is said to be like winning the lottery. Here’s another uncanny coincidence that one of the proposed identities is a man named Carl Thompsen? Spellings were not necessarily consistent in the 19th century.

        So why hasn’t anyone pursued this option more rigorously? Has anyone done the genealogy for Carl Thompsen’s in Australia to see if he is related? I estimate that it took about 300 hours of work or thereabouts to find myself – a mere amateur. Certainly nothing the ancestry sleuths cannot pull off in a couple of months. I would love to take a crack at it myself if I had the profile.

        Matthew K.

        February 18, 2022
  2. Matthew Kleid #

    Interesting video from 2015. Prof. Jeremy Austin. Australian Center for Ancient DNA.

    February 19, 2022

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