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DNA: Historical Studies
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Genetic genealogy is a topic of immense interest to family history researchers looking to find connections to ancestors when traditional research has failed to provide results. Utilizing both DNA testing and traditional research methods can mean the difference between an elusive ancestor and a documented ancestor.

But DNA testing is not just for genealogists interested in family relationships and ethnicity estimates. DNA is well-known for solving cold cases for law enforcement. It has also been used to solve some of history’s biggest mysteries such as in the claims of historical identities. Cases explored in the course include Anna Anderson, the Titanic Baby, Jesse James, and the Golden State Killer.

What can these seemingly non-genealogical cases teach us? Learning more about DNA as it relates to genealogical cases and non-genealogical cases helps to expand and enhance our DNA knowledge and provides insights as we solve research problems. Students are encouraged to explore these cases presented in this course further by seeking out scientific journals and popular media articles.

Course Content

Module 1
History of DNA & Genealogy
DNA & Genealogy: A History
DNA & Anthropology
Consumer DNA Tests
• FamilyTreeDNA
• AncestryDNA
• 23AndMe
• MyHeritage DNA
• Living DNA
• How is DNA used for historical research?
A Note About History Terms
Genetic Genealogy Glossary
What Now?
Recommended Reading & Resources

Module 2
Thomas Jefferson & Sally Hemings
Thomas Jefferson
Sally Hemings
• Case Closed! Right? Or DNA Doesn’t Lie
Recommended Reading & Resources

Module 3
The Titanic
A Night to Remember
Recovering the Victims
Identifying the Victims
Titanic’s Unknown Child
DNA and Titanic
DNA, Genealogy, and More
Recommended Reading & Resources

Module 4
The Russian Royal Family
• The Russian Revolution
• Abdication
• July 17, 1918
• Did Anastasia survive?
• Ancestry of the Royal Family
• Finding the Remains
• More DNA Testing
• Who is the real Anastasia?

Module 5
Dna & Law Enforcement: Solving Cold Cases with Genealogy
Golden State Killer
• The Golden State Killer
• Michelle McNamara
DNA & Law Enforcement
• DNA & the Golden State Killer
DNA, Criminal Cases & Genealogy
Before the Golden State Killer: The Canal Killer
DNA & Law Enforcement: A New Genealogy Match 
Recommended Reading & Resources

Module 6
More DNA History
• Mayflower
• Jack the Ripper
• Jesse James
• April 3, 1882
• J. Frank Dalton
• Exhuming the Body
• Vietnam Unknown Soldier
• Hunley
• Military Repatriations
Recommended Reading & Resources

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