July 22, 2014

No More Whining About Brick Walls: King Richard III Remains Found

King_Richard_IIIJust when we throw up our hands in frustration and declare that we will never find a particular ancestor, someone comes along and proves it possible.

Reuters is reporting that England’s King Richard III has been found after 500 years. “A skeleton with a cleaved skull and a curved spine entombed under a car park is that of Richard III, archaeologists said on Monday, solving a 500-year-old mystery about the final resting place of the last English king to die in battle…In one of the most significant archaeological finds of recent English history, a team from the University of Leicester said evidence showed a skeleton found last year in excavations of a mediaeval friary under a city car park was that of Richard.”

The physical evidence is compelling: The skeleton possesses a curved spine (which Shakespeare mocked him for), and multiple wounds attributed to battle.

Researchers at the University of Leicester sought to confirm the theory through DNA testing which included extracting DNA from the teeth and a bone for comparison with Michael Ibsen, a modern-day descendant of Richard III’s sister Anne of York. The results: A Match.

“The DNA remains points to these being the remains of Richard III,” University of Leicester genetics expert Turi King said during a press briefing.

The  lesson is not that we as genealgoists need to start digging up parking lots, but rather “never give up, never surrender.” And where there is evidence, seek indisputable proof.

To learn more about the role that DNA played in this amazing discovery watch these videos
The Search for King Richard III – The Genealogy

The Search for King Richard III Identifying the Remains (Dr. Turi King)

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About Lisa

Lisa Louise Cooke is the Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online genealogy audio show at www.GenealogyGems.com. She is the author of the books Genealogy Gems: Ultimate Research Strategies and The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, and the Google Earth for Genealogy DVD series, an international conference speaker, and writer for Family Tree Magazine.