Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Question from Gisli - DNA for testing of bones

Would it be possible to identify the bones of Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour or Katherine Howard, through DNA, if HM were to allow acces to the bones in the Tower Chapel.

Are these families still alive in England today?

The Boleyns, Seymours and the Howards were powerful in their time, but what of today. Is there anyone alive who could donate DNA to be used in determining who is who. Or are the all gone.


Gisli

42 comments:

PhD Historian said...

The direct family line of Katherine Howard survives to the present and still holds the Dukedom of Norfolk. Katherine was the granddaughter of the 2nd Duke and the niece of the 3rd Duke. The current Duke, Edward Fitzalan-Howard, is the 18th Duke. It might therefore be theoretically possible to perform a DNA match between the current duke's family and the remains of Katherine Howard.

Anne Boleyn was also a niece of the third Duke of Norfolk and thus, like Katherine, a granddaughter of the 2nd Duke. This might make differentiating between the bones of Anne and Katherine somewhat problematic, since they are both genetic descendants of one person. But it is not impossible. It would depend on whether or not there are any descendants of the Boleyn-Carey line still surviving (I will leave that to KB, as it is her area of expertise, but I believe the current Marquis of Bath, the eccentric Alexander Thynn, is a descendant of Anne's sister Mary by way of the Knollys, Devereux, and Thynne lines).

The location of the remains of Jane Seymour is known. She lies with Henry VIII in a vault beneath the choir of the Chapel of St. George at Windsor Castle. Her remains should therefore be identifiable simply by their location.

But the real problem with Katherine Howard and Anne Boleyn lies in whether or not any DNA could be recovered from their bones. As was discussed in a previous topic on this site, the bones have been exhumed and reburied over the centuries as various "restorations" of the Chapel of St Peter-ad-Vincula were undetrtaken, especially in the 19th century. The bones have thus been jumbled about and not contained within a single coffin or
other sealed container. Anne was buried in an old arrow chest, for example, which would not have protected her remains from contamination. It is very likely that no DNA would be able to be recovered from bones that have been so poorly preserved. But if the Russians were able to do it with the Romanov remains after they had been burned and buried in a watery well, perhaps it might be possible with bones that are 350 years older than those of the Romanovs. I'm just not sure what real purpose would be served, hwoever, by digging up the floor of the chapel and testing all of the bones found there.

kb said...

As usual, phd historian has put the situation clearly in perspective.

And yes, there are plenty of Knollys and Carey descendants of Mary Boleyn alive and kicking. Some of them might be interested in contributing DNA samples to test the theory that Henry the VIII was really the father of Mary Boleyn's children.

Anonymous said...

If my Shelton genealogy is correct, one of my grandmothers would be Lady Anne Boleyn Shelton who married Sir John Shelton. Lady Anne was the sister of Thomas Boleyn,father of Queen Anne and grandfather of Queen Elizabeth I. Would I be a good candidate for DNA?

Anonymous said...

WOW so this means I hold Dukedom of Norfolk? Thanks man you helped me out!

Anonymous said...

oh and we have residence in America (Howard family, at least whats left of it!)

Anonymous said...

One of my ancestors was Lord John Shelton who was married to Anne Boleyn (Queen Anne's aunt). Anne Boleyn Shelton's father was William Boleyn and her mother was Margaret Boteler. My question is after all the generations would my DNA have any of both the Sheltons and the Boleyns.

Anonymous said...

It would not be much of a problem determining which remains were Anne's if DNA was taken from Queen Elizabeth I. It is to my knowledge that DNA could be collected from the bones. But, with extreme care it would have to be extracted from below the surface. DNA has been extracted from the bones of ancient Egyptian mummies. The bones may not have been protected from the elements, but they have not lost all traces of DNA.

Anonymous said...

My Great Aunt is a Direct Descendent of Mary Boleyn and William Carey. Her whole family passed down the knowledge of the line by naming most of the men William and for the women adding the middle name Carey.

kb said...

Anonymous (with the Carey great-aunt)

I am very interested in trading emails with your regarding your family history. I have done my doctoral work on the Careys starting with Katherine Carey and her brother Henry.

Lara - if you see this would you please forward my email address to this poster?

Thank you

Lara said...

kb - If the anonymous commenter sends me an email, I'd be happy to pass on your address.

And I see all the comments since I moderate them. :)

khoward2bme said...

Since the question has been brought forth, would the modern descendants of the Dukes of Norfolk (Howard) hold the same DNA (Y Chromesome) as the original dukes? The FTDNA site in America has several Howards tested and they have varying DNA of not being of the same family. The question is what are the origins of the great Howard Family? Were they Saxons or Scandinavian? Isn't this the question always presented about this great family?

Alannah Ryane said...

I am working on a pilot "webisode" for a new documentary series I am producing regarding this issue and I have a descendant of Carey/Boleyn willing to do dna testing if we can get to Henry VIII's remains. I also have a genealogist author who has written on the carey/boleyn mystery. Anyone who is interested in helping me with this please contact me. Great blog here...thanks

kb said...

Alannah -

I have just sent you an email at your info@ account on your web site. I did my doctoral work on the Careys and would love to 'talk' to you about your project.

Virginian said...

Has DNA testing been done to verify that Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Anne Boleyn, was in fact the biological daughter of King Henry VIII, as opposed to, say, Sir Thomas Wyatt?

Alannah Ryane said...

KB I got your email and would love to talk to you further about this. I am guessing you saw my trailer "Secrets of the Royal Grandmothers" on my blog/site (just click on my name). I am working on another video series for a client and have to go on location shortly for a week and am preparing for that but I can dig back into this when I get back.

Alannah Ryane said...

Virginian: Excellent point and again that is what my doc series is about. I was hoping to touch on the Elizabeth/Dudley "marriage" and bacon/essex as possible heirs but apparently they didn't have any children or did they? How many aristocratic/royal women were pregnant and were able to cover it up by offering their property and status in return for marriage? But what chaos this will throw at the descendants.

mkarnold said...

I would be very interested in knowing the mtDNA results for a direct maternal line to Mary and Anne Boleyn. They are the granddaughters of my relative Lady Margaret Butler, the daughter of the 7th Earl of Ormonde. You can contact me at rarnold@gvtc.com

Anonymous said...

I would be interested as well in learning about my DNA link to the Boleyn family. Mary Boleyn would have been my grandmother traced through the Sir Thomas West link into America. Please advise as to how I would contact someone interested in the DNA aspect. Thank you in advance.

Anonymous said...

I also am interested in any DNA research available regarding Mary Boleyn's descendants. She was my 12th GGM (Henry Carey, my 11th GGF), and would love for someone to finally complete some type of DNA research link of Mary's descendants to Henry VIII if that is at all possible, to finally confirm one way or the other, once and for all. If so, we would be the only living descendants of Henry VIII, and you would think that worthy of that research. There seems to be a lot of research and confirmation on his medical, so there should be some type of DNA possibly avail shouldn't there??

Anonymous said...

Someone with the surname Scott claiming to be a direct matrilineal descendant of Mary Boleyn has their mtDNA results posted at the following site:

http://www.familytreedna.com/public/ScottDNAproject/default.aspx?section=mtresults

By the way, I am an American genealogist and there are TONS of descendants of Mary Boleyn in the United States through the West family. If you look through pedigree charts (as I have) you will see she has many, many matrilineal descendants here in the U.S.A.

Her mtDNA haplogroup is T2, a common European type.

Virtual Assistant said...

Thank you for posting this!

Mary said...

Could someone point to the location of the pedigree charts back to Mary Boleyn? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi all, I am a Howard from the line of the Dukes of Norfolk.

Many of the line is in West Sussex, England where Castle Arundel is. It is the home of the FitzAlan-Howards. Can I be of any help to someone ?

Anonymous said...

To the Howard of the line of the Howards of Norfolk. I am looking for a link from my ancestor William Howard born in 1732 in York who died in Virginia. Supposedly, he was disinherited because he married a commoner. My email address is pleseo53@aol.com. Have you checked your dna? I am trying to find a Howard here that I could compare to yours. Hope to hear from you soon.
Susan Early Otero

marisa said...

I would also like to know once and for all if Henry was father of Mary's children back then it was much easier to keep secrets and also it must be harder to find out if your related or not since they were married to there own family etc cousins fourth cousins first cousins and so on. Plz email me any info Maritzalozano36@hotmail.com thx

Stranger in Paradise said...

Plantagenant Haplogroup is R1b1 as is the Stewart line decsended from Tudor contribution, The Duke of Monmouth, James Crofts/Scott has tested as a match to his Father Charles II this past February...at R1b1a2a. Thus it is not too far a stretch to Claim Tudor Haplgroup is also R1b1 since the Eldest line is Steward of Scotland and Plantagenant line from William the Conquorer1066 preceeds....The Plantagenant line & does contain a high ranking or percentage of Scandanavian Blood which the family of Nebraska /Ohio roots, also comport with 32% of the markers falling in that scandanvian percentage as does the Plangagenant Line...The test also shows the same Eastern European breakdown for the Valois line. Thus we await the Mitochondrial and 25 marker test on the Y chromosome for the final Results of the Missing Prince William Tudor of Genilogical lore.

The Laundress aka "Beatrice" of Field of Cloth of Gold bore a son Named William/Henry 1521 after her encoounter with Henry VIII in France.....He was raised in the Princess Mary Tudor household and received his coat of Arms from Queen Mary Tudor May 2, 1555. There are 13 generations from then to now with hundreds of descendants which escaped the notice of the King and his Court...Lucky for them.

Angie said...

Queen Katherine Howard is my 7th cousin as is Anne Boleyn. Katherines mother was a Culpeper my direct line. My mother is a T2b mtdna and my YDNA R1b1a2-M269

S.M. Pratt Whitten said...

According to what I have been able to find... I descend from both Mary Boleyn and Henry Hunsdon.... as being a 12th gr grdtr. Sorry, but without reading through hundreds of posts, just one question: Is DNA testing available for Henry VIII?

Thank you,
Sue Pratt Whitten
of Modoc County, California.

Alannah Ryane said...

I don't think anyone has pursued as unlikely her nibs will let anyone under the floor of St. George's.

Anonymous said...

Many in the Compton line are testing for Y DNA R-M269 as are some Howards. Is this the line of Henry VIII? William Compton was close friend of Henry VIII, was he also a relative?

See https://www.familytreedna.com/public/compton/default.aspx?section=yresults . I think it is difficult testing females and making clear distinctions especially with the intermarriage.
There have been some recent advances in obtaining DNA from old bones...note information on Neanderthal. Also Neanderthal DNA is in most Europeans and it created havoc for centuries with health and fertility. sperong@aol.com

Anonymous said...

I think I'm a the one, the missing puzzle piece in history fam is Mary Tudor ....

unknown said...

Gamage is an ancient name it gose back to king William 1 and rollo the dane,through the marriage to the king of leanster' s grand daughter to a gamage there offering would have plantaginet blood, supposedly the last of the plantaginets .

unknown said...

Gamage is an ancient name and gose back to king William 1 and rollo the dane there was a marriage to a Gamage and the king of leanster's grand daughter who were the last of the plantaginet's so there offspring would have plantainet blood, there are lots of Gamages in England and Wales. Barbara gamage was also the wife of the lord of penshurst, she was the daughter of sir john gamage lord of coity castle bridge end south Wales , the woman ben jonson dedicated a poem to called penshurst.

Laurie Gallo said...

My 13th great grandmother was Mary's daughter Kathern.

Unknown said...

I am a descendant of that line.

T Terese said...

I am of this line. Henry Carey married Judith Humphrey, of my father's side and Catherine Carey is a direct ancestor of mine on my mother's side.

T Terese said...

If my research is correct, you would not be the only descendant of Henry VIII. If he is indeed the father of Catherine and Henry Carey, I am a direct descendant.

Cathe Anderson said...

I also believe I am a direct descendant of Mary Boleyn through Katherine Carey. I have done DNA testing through Ancestry but I am looking to solve 2 mysteries - resolve the question of Katherine Carey's parentage as well as prove whether the mother of Anne Humphrey (1625-1695) was Elizabeth Pelham or Susan Clinton.

Mary Boleyn - Katherine Carey - Anne Knollys - Elzabeth DeLaWarr-West - Elizabeth Pelham - Anne Humphrey?

I would be willing to participate in group DNA testing to solve these mysteries.

fenris ulric said...

Yes, DNA travels through generations

kengland45 said...

Let me throw my "hat" in to the lot of Mary Boleyn descendants--through the West Family in America. I sent an e-mail to the principal researcher regarding finding Richard III's bones, and sorting out the royal tree in this latest "controversy." I have kit number A675100 over at Gedmatch (autosomal), but my paternal uncle has autosomal and Y-DNA tests there, as well. We are cousins to Henry Clay through the well-know Clement Clay, Jr. family in Alabama (Governor and U.S. Senators). My uncle has Y-DNA kit number 398463 over at FTDNA.com.

James Shelton said...

I am a Shelton directly descended from John and Anne Shelton (14 generations) Anne being the Aunt of Anne Boleyn and the family being the care takers to her children.

Cetty S said...

Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire Boleyn
17th great-grandfather