Jan 25 2024

From Grave to Gene: Uncovering George Washington’s Lineage at Harewood Cemetery

Interesting CasesForensic

Join us in this fascinating interview with Courtney Cavagnino at ISHI 34, where she delves into her intriguing research focused on a unique set of remains discovered at Harewood Cemetery in Charlestown, West Virginia. An excavation, which began in 1999, was initially aimed at locating the unmarked grave of Samuel Washington, but led to an unexpected discovery.

 

In our interview, Courtney explains the project’s primary objective: to confirm the identities of the remains, believed to be those of George Washington’s grandnephews and their mother. She highlights the use of various DNA testing methodologies, including mitogenome capture, autosomal SNP capture, and Y-DNA testing, in collaboration with Family Tree DNA, to achieve this goal.

 

This project stands as a testament to the application of modern DNA technologies in historical identifications, with Courtney’s team revisiting the project as new technologies emerged, allowing for a more accurate analysis of these historical remains.

 

Moreover, Courtney shares her personal journey in this project, reflecting on her recent promotion to an FS4 Research Scientist at AFDIL and her excitement for future work, including overseeing more projects and publishing a paper about her findings at Harewood Cemetery.

 

This interview offers a glimpse into the fascinating intersection of history, science, and technology through Courtney’s dedicated research. Stay tuned to our channel for more such enlightening conversations and explorations into the realms of science and history!

 

 

 

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