mtDNA

While you read, please listen to Tracy Oost’s interview with CFRA Ottawa.

Audio – Tracy Oost CFRA Ottawa Radio January 23, 2014 – (17 minutes)

Similarly to other historical forensic cases, such as the Anna Anderson/Grand Duchess Anastasia claim, Mrs. Kramer’s claim to be Loraine Allison is most suited to Mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA testing.  mtDNA is a type of DNA that is passed down from generation to generation through the female line.  A mother passes it down to all of her children, male and female, however, only the female children will pass it down to their children, and so on.

In the following diagram the cross hatch indicate all of the individuals with the same mtDNA:

Kinship chart

Allison Family Tree

For the purposes of this project, we needed to determine who would be the best candidates for mtDNA.  Below is the female lineage that Bess Allison and Loraine Allison belong to:

Kinship Tracy 1


This diagram shows Sarah Daniels, Bess’s mother, at the top.  She passed down her mtDNA to both of her daughters, Maybelle and Bess.  Bess would have passed the same mtDNA down to her daughter Loraine.  Mrs. Kramer is included here because this is the supposition that we were testing.
Had Loraine survived the sinking of the Titanic, she would pass down the same mtDNA to her offspring.  Therefore, if the theory that Mrs. Kramer was Loraine held true, her daughter Adele Ferguson, would have the same mtDNA, and Adele’s daughters, Debrina Woods, and Deanne Jennings would also have the same mtDNA.As Bess did not survive the sinking, and her body was never recovered, there was no way to test her mtDNA directly.  For that we have to find someone else that descended from Sarah Daniels down a female line.Success was found by following the line from Bess’s sister Maybelle.  Maybelle’s daughter, Bess Edwards would have the same mtDNA as Maybelle and Bess Allison.  Bess Edwards then passed it down to her daughter, Sally Kirkelie.Sally Kirkelie and Deanne Jennings agreed to be tested to determine if they possessed the same mtDNA.  If they did, Mrs. Kramer’s claim would be likely be true.  If the test came back negative, then they were not related, and Mrs. Kramer could not have been Loraine Allison.UPDATE:Kinship Tracy 2

DNA testing was undertaken through DNA Diagnostics Centre.  Among their various certifications, DDC is certified through the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB).  This was important due to the nature of claim in the context of the Titanic as a mass disaster, and the potential fraud perpetrated by Mrs. Kramer, and Debrina Woods.

I can announce at this time that the DNA results are NEGATIVE.  Sally Kirkelie and Deanne Jennings do not share the same mtDNA, therefore, Mrs. Kramer did not either, and she was NOT Loraine Allison.

results

 

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