August 7, 2008

Ugo Perego: Joseph Smith's DNA Revealed: New Clues from the Prophet's Genes

DNA is a record of family relationships that in recent years has supplemented traditional genealogical tools.

The group to which Perego belonged sought to use DNA to help supplement family genealogy, and they wanted a large group with verifiable lines and with family history to study. In the Utah Genealogical Journal Journal 19:3-4 (1991) pp. 138-43 the Smith parental line was published.

The group wanted to reconstruct the Joseph Smith genetic signature and collect samples from Smith's in England looking for similarities that link to Robert Smith of the 1600s, Joseph Smith's ancestor from England.

Y chromosome (Ycs) inheritance pattern, there is a marker passed from father to son (only in males) that help show descent. If the marker could be identified, it could link known descendants in Utah of the Smith family with people in England.

Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner said that she was told Joseph Smith had three children. "They told me. I think two are living today but they are not known as his children as they go by other names." (quoted in Compton's In Sacred Loneliness.) There is an e-mail circulating containing a list of alleged children, a preliminary list of alleged children. This DNA study allowed Perego to investigate posterity as well as forefathers of Joseph Smith, though this was not the original intent of the project.

Moroni Llewellyn Pratt
In Brodie's No Man Knows My History she speculates that he is JS's son. B. Dec. 7, 1844 so he could be a descendant. Fourth child of Parley Pratt. A descendant of Moroni contacted Perego and said he thinks he may be a descendant so they tested his DNA and made the comparison. It does not match. Perego then went through the BYU phone directory looking for a Pratt. So he cold-called people. He tracked 4 descendants of Pratt, confirming that the genetic marker for Pratt was Moroni's. This was discussed in Perego, Myers, Woodward, Journal of Mormon History, Fall 2005.

Other children likewise were shown not to be descendants.

Oliver Norman Buell
son of Prescindia Huntington Buel who admitted that she didn't know if he was the son of JS or her other husband. Brodie compares a picture, seeing similarity there. Perego gets the genetic profile but is still not confident that it traces to Buell.

[My battery is dying!] He concludes that he is not concerned over whether Smith practiced plural marriage, nor is he concerned about whom JS had relations with. He is interested in accuracy in history, and thus wants to know who descended from Joseph. Perego continues to receive e-mails regarding people thinking they are descendants based on family history etc. He also posits that, given the DNA structure, JS descended from the Irish! No kidding. But more on that when I get at transcripts.

Day Two tomorrow, expect much of the same; notes on the speakers after each presentation.


Trevor said...

Thanks for the info. cool post. I wish I could be there

LifeOnaPlate said...

Thanks, Trevor.

Anonymous said...

Fascinating research! Recently I blogged about Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner's Testimony.

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