Monday, 16 April 2018

Casualty Identification at DND

Were you one of the Ottawa genealogists, and others, who missed the main presentation Identifying the Remains of Canadian Soldiers from the First and Second World Wars by Dr. Sarah Lockyer at the BIFHSGO meeting on Saturday 14 April 2018?

If so you can review much of the material presented at the the Casualty Identification section of the DND Directorate of History and Heritage website. It includes information on more cases than there was time to present at the meeting.

I was impressed by the achievement given that Dr Lockyear revealed she is the sole full-time staff member, assisted by part-time staff, and operates with a budget of $100,000.

There was a lively question period following the presentation.

Asked about the budget she replied that any increase would have to come from funds for more immediately pressing DND responsibilities.

There is a backlog of (30?) unresolved cases. Puzzlement was expressed that more is not being done to solicit the help of the public in solving these cases, such as by presenting what is known, including DNA profiles, in a public database.

I was surprised that only mitochondrial and Y-chromosome STR DNA data is being employed when there is now the capability of extracting much more from degraded samples. That could lead to improved probability and more definitive identification.

I was also surprised that in one of the recent cases presented DNA evidence was not obtained. A review panel judged the other evidence was sufficiently conclusive, apparently without any quantitative assessment of the confidence in that conclusion.


Mike More said...

John, Dr. Lockyer will also be speaking to Ottawa Branch OGS on the same topic at the annual Memorial Lecture on 27 Oct 2018, shortly before Remembrance Day.

Carol K said...

As a new Canadian researcher (My husband's great grandfather, Basile Joyal, born 1810 in Canada). I am just learning about things Canadian. What is the meaning of DND? Thank you, Carol Kuse