DNA and Genealogy Website Question Both


Active Member
Dec 5, 2010
Through an excellent piece of police investigative work law enforcement arrested a brutal suspect serial killer about three months ago operating throughout California in the seventies and eighties. I'm not sure all my facts are exactly correct. They are close enough to describe the question I'm trying to ask. The case went cold after approximately more than forty years of inactivity from the suspect. Police had preserved the suspect's DNA from crimes decades ago and recently ran the suspect's DNA through a genealogy website. They got a match from a person from the late 1800's, maybe the 1890's. Through the process of elimination by age, location, sex and other factors law enforcement filtered all the members of this family tree down to this suspect in his seventies living in the Sacramento area retired after almost twenty years of working as a mechanic in a grocery store chain warehouse for almost twenty years. Just before they arrested the suspect police investigators took samples of his DNA from the garbage in front of his house (I believe a soda can) and from his car (I think from the car's door handle) in a parking lot as the suspect was in a store.
My question is: how do these genealogy websites obtain DNA samples from people in the 1800's then add this to their library banking system to be compared to DNA samples mailed in from people all over the world?


Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2012
I suspect that a good computer can estimate an ancestor's DNA fairly accurately from several descendants. Much like the facetwit sites, the ancestry/DNA sites want to be able to track everything about you and every place you go, and everything you do.

Venice Motor Bikes

Custom Builder / Dealer/Los Angeles
Mar 20, 2008
Los Angeles, CA.
I don't think those sites have DNA from the 1800s... The murder suspect was caught because the police had old DNA from crime scenes (but no one in the computers that matched it), so they found people on the Ancestry site that had 'extremely similar' DNA to the killer & then started looking into their immediate relatives, & then found the killer (who was their brother).