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WW1 Missing Legacy

  • 57 members

About us

If one of your relatives was lost in action during World War One, then this project will allow you to commemorate that fact.

The 28th July 1914 marks the start of The Great War - World War One. It lasted for four years, three months, and two weeks, claiming the lives of over 9 million soldiers. Many of those killed still lie on the battlefields of the Western Front. From the UK alone, it is estimated that the remains of 500,000 soldiers have never been recovered and are buried there to this day. The remains of these missing soldiers are occasionally uncovered during road building or farming activity, and it is possible in many cases to identify these remains using traditional identification methodology. Occasionally DNA has been successfully extracted and can prove useful in identifying remains. However, DNA testing does not form a routine part of the investigation process and there is no systematic policy of collecting DNA samples from those remains that cannot be identified by traditional means.

This project serves several chief objectives:
1) to serve as a "Legacy Project" so that those whose relatives are among the missing can leave a "genetic remembrance" to the service of their relative
2) to allow relatives of the missing to leave their DNA in a public database in case it may prove useful in the future for identification purposes - these relatives will share some of their DNA with the missing soldiers
3) to support the use of DNA testing as an additional tool to other means of identification

If your relative was one of the missing soldiers from WW1, leave details of your missing relative in your About Me section so that it can be viewed on your profile. To do this, click on your name in the top right of the screen, go to your Account Settings tab and enter the details of your missing relative similar to the example provided below (note: the example below is NOT that of a missing soldier, but a relative of mine who was killed in action and is buried at Bethune cemetery in France). You can add additional information and links if you want. Alternatively, you could simply link to an existing blog post about your relative, or create one on (or a similar website) and simply post the link in your About Me section:

The following relative of mine is believed to have died on the Western Front. His remains have never been found.

Details of missing person: Michael Spierin, 1896-1916
Details of military service: Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Service no. 19621, believed to be missing in action at the Somme
Relationship to you: my second cousin once removed
How are you related? my mother's mother's father's father was his father's father's father (Patrick Spierin 1802-1872)
His DNA relatives who have tested (specify if they share Y-DNA, autosomal DNA, or mtDNA and give their kit numbers on Ysearch, mitoSearch, Gedmatch, FTDNA, Ancestry or 23andme)

Link to commemoration at ...

Any type of DNA test is accepted by this project. Traditionally, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was the main type of DNA used to identify ancient remains as it is more stable than Y-DNA and autosomal DNA. However this is changing as the science of DNA extraction improves. Already, Y-DNA has been successfully extracted from 150 of the 250 soldiers found at Fromelles and this has proved very useful for identification purposes. Autosomal DNA is being extracted from the remains of Richard III (d1485) and the recovery of autosomal DNA is likely to become more commonplace in the future.

Norfolk's County Flower - - 841418

Links and Resources

Maurice Gleeson

28th July 2014