Author Topic: DNA from Victorian stamps and envelopes  (Read 486 times)

Offline Mart 'n' Al

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DNA from Victorian stamps and envelopes
« on: Sunday 30 December 18 18:17 GMT (UK) »
I read something recently (and forgot where) about the prospect of ever being able to get DNA samples from stamps that needed licking. (Rowland Hill, credited with the invention of the stamp, called it a glutinous wash.)

I don't know if Victorian DNA would effectively die off, or whether the technology will ever be that sophisticated, but it does create a wonderful image, helping us find out who in each household actually licked the stamps. I was sealing Christmas card envelopes last week using a small paintbrush and a ramekin (we are posh...) of water. I was thinking that I was probably preventing future generations analysing my spit.

Anyone interested in their family history probably has a bundle of family documents held in original envelopes and I wonder what secrets they could reveal.  And as for envelopes containing the love letters...

On this subject, as DNA tests become more prevalent and popular, I laugh when I read about people saying they wouldn't want "the government" as they put it, to have their DNA, without thinking that they leave enough on every coffee cup and beer mug from which they drink.

I know it is illegal to have somebody's DNA tested without their permission, but I wonder how many fathers actually do it.

That actually makes me wonder whether family historians have a more liberal attitude to personal data being shared. I do wonder how hard it will be in 100 years for our descendants to find out about our current lives.

Martin
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Loughborough and Loughbrough, (London, Hull, Pirton, Durham & Hartlepool);
Watson, (Bedlington, Jarrow & Hartlepool);
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Young, Adamson & Wilson, (Hartlepool). 

I use GRAMPS v5.0 software. 

My ancestors are probably turning in their graves, not that I can actually find any of them.

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Offline Marmalady

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Re: DNA from Victorian stamps and envelopes
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 30 December 18 18:21 GMT (UK) »
I would think it would be easier to get DNA from the curls of hair in mourning brooches or from the baby teeth many parents kept
Wainwright - Yorkshire
Whitney - Herefordshire
Watson -  Northamptonshire
Trant - Yorkshire
Helps - all
Needham - Derbyshire
Waterhouse - Derbyshire
Northing - all

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Offline Redroger

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Re: DNA from Victorian stamps and envelopes
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 30 December 18 20:04 GMT (UK) »
I believe the hair has been done, with mixed results. Certainly ancient DNA has been recovered for archaeological purposes, but I believe the recovery is "hit or miss" and depends on the state and circumstances of preservation.
British Royalty do not normally do DNA tests, the only exception known to me was Prince Philip in the identification of the last Tsar and family.
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Offline mgeneas

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Re: DNA from Victorian stamps and envelopes
« Reply #3 on: Sunday 30 December 18 20:40 GMT (UK) »
But doesn't hair need roots attached to test for dna?

I have a lock of my mother's baby hair, cut 100 years ago, still in it's tatty brown envelope.

Offline Redroger

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Re: DNA from Victorian stamps and envelopes
« Reply #4 on: Sunday 30 December 18 21:31 GMT (UK) »
Could be,but I don't know
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Offline Gadget

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Re: DNA from Victorian stamps and envelopes
« Reply #5 on: Sunday 30 December 18 21:33 GMT (UK) »
There was a thread on this a few weeks ago but I'm darned if I can find it  ::)

Added - I recall someone querying whether Churchill would have licked his own envelopes  :-X
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Offline Guy Etchells

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Re: DNA from Victorian stamps and envelopes
« Reply #6 on: Sunday 30 December 18 22:06 GMT (UK) »
MyHeritage announced their involvement in their MyHeritage LIVE Conference in November

https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=957

Cheers
Guy
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Offline Milliepede

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Re: DNA from Victorian stamps and envelopes
« Reply #7 on: Monday 31 December 18 11:33 GMT (UK) »
 
Quote
I was sealing Christmas card envelopes last week using a small paintbrush and a ramekin (we are posh...) of water.

That is posh  ;D

I use a glue stick or a festive label to save water - and having to buy a ramekin! 
Hinchliffe Huddersfield Wiltshire

Offline Mart 'n' Al

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Re: DNA from Victorian stamps and envelopes
« Reply #8 on: Monday 31 December 18 11:45 GMT (UK) »
I'd never thought about my water usage.  I did tip the leftovers away.  I suppose I should have drunk it.

Martin
Gedmatch DNA Kit H062246.
FT-DNA Kit B388093

Names:
Loughborough and Loughbrough, (London, Hull, Pirton, Durham & Hartlepool);
Watson, (Bedlington, Jarrow & Hartlepool);
Ballard & Glassop (E. London); 
Leggett (Corton, Scarborough, Hartlepool); 
Young, Adamson & Wilson, (Hartlepool). 

I use GRAMPS v5.0 software. 

My ancestors are probably turning in their graves, not that I can actually find any of them.