Are you a lick away from Granny’s DNA? Forensic DNA For Genealogy ~ Artifact Testing

Oh, I can’t wait. I must have something processed with the new hope, new players for DNA for genealogy testing companies, it might be this will get off the ground this time. Toothbrushes, letters with stamps, hair. My brother-in-law has possession of two of my dad’s wisdom teeth that were pulled. I have two of his letters with stamps and partial flaps, that I have talked incessantly about testing since 2012.

There are so many artifacts of our loved ones and we should stop touching them and place them carefully in an appropriate safe place.

We work to identify family often because we loved granny so much, or never knew great granny, but there are also the very special artifacts that give us hope for the identification of deceased members of the military returning home, and the Jane and John Does and more.

I can’t imagine there is any Skilcraft Pen that was used for an emergency battlefield  tracheotomy, that has survived to get the DNA from, but I would not go without my vintage Skilcraft in my ladies bag, which yes includes makeup.

“…There are other things these pens can be reportedly used for that weren’t covered in the original requirements. It’s rumored that it can be used for an emergency tracheotomy where the plastic tube is placed in an incision in the trachea to allow breathing from an obstruction…”

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These are photos of my personal skilcraft.

A necessity for the well prepared – it will write too.

The possibilities are many and the questions are growing. What if the DNA turns out not to be the person you hoped for – someone else licked the stamp? When can you use hair shaft for having commercial autosomal DNA?

I rescued a box of letters from one family years ago. I have lots of letters and so on but one family collection in particular. I did find them and gave most of them to the descendant and spouse. I said then there have been a few that I worked with to identify and locate and those were in a shoe box and would have to come later.

The box is found and the possibilities are just wonderful – two generations – really three of letter writers and savers.

In the early 20th century brother Hugh writes to his sister Bessie. Bessie writes to Chris Sr and Chris Sr writes to Bessie. All these have sealed envelope flaps also and there are many. Later Bessie writes to her son in WWII Chris Jr and Chris Jr writes to his Mom. Then Chris has about a dozen letters of girl friends writing to him and another dozen of military friends writing to him from his training through the war.

I was able to find so many people, I need to make findagraves for those who do not have them. They are all gone now – but their DNA might be in amazing pieces of history.

Copy of bessie to chris and chris to later wife

This WWII letter from Chris Jr. to Margaret is marked RETURN TO SENDER. Idle Gossip Sinks Ships and adds ‘sealed envelope’. And it is still sealed, opened from the side, and empty. Could this be the DNA of Chris Jr. on the sealed back flap? There are several envelopes likely to have his DNA

Copy of hugh crane to bessie and friends to chris brown jr wwii

The top letter was from Margaret to Chris Jr.  I am willing to bet her DNA is what sealed the flap of that top envelope – it has S.W.A.K. and her kiss in red lipstick. There are several of them from Margaret S. (also identified) But the bottom letter, maybe there was no censor at that facility that day – but this would be scary to hazard more than a guess whether this will really be Hailey or not, but the back is sealed. It might also have just gotten stuck to itself but it would be a remote chance. Did he come back from the war? I still have not found his descendants to share the letter.


1 1Copy of Copy of bessie to chris father and chris father to bessie

The top love letter was from Bessie to Chris Sr, and the other two are from Chris Sr to Bessie. All the flaps are sealed on the envelopes


1 Copy of hugh crane to sister bessie and to chris jr

The top letter — from Hugh to his sister Bessie — would be priceless for researching Bessie’s father’s family,. The bottom is to Chris Jr and the writer begins ‘to Jr.’ and signs… ‘write son’ and then a terrible scribble of a signature.

LivingDNA is said to be taking on testing of artifacts but I am yet to see a price. There is also apparently an Australian company but I have not found it via google – I will update when I know more …

The list is growing of all the wonderful letters – possibly with DNA and I guess I have left the trail to mine in this digital record.

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1 Copy of Copy of margaret card 2

Of all the letters, Margaret wrote and wrote countless letters. Chris kept them all and several of the wonderful cards she sent along with a lock of hair.

1 Copy of margaret hair


Soon, we will be testing DNA from everything from hair brushes to toothbrushes but we will have to make sure they were not shared. The desire to get DNA from our deceased ancestors is so powerful that now many funeral homes offer to scrape for a fee. How far back can we go?

I want a tradition of music for genealogy – songs for blogs

Heirlooms by Amy Grant


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