August 24, 2016

Looking for Descendants of Mutiny on the Bounty Mutineers

HMS Bounty List of Mutineers
Here's an interesting DNA story. writes that
"Ten pigtails of hair thought to be from seven mutineers of "Mutiny on the Bounty" fame and three of their female Polynesian companions will be analysed in a new collaboration between the Pitcairn Islands Study Centre at Pacific Union College (California, US) and the forensic DNA group at King's College London (UK)."
Since there are no hair roots in the saved pigtails, Y-DNA is not possible which means DNA analysis will not be able to trace male ancestry of the pigtail owners. However researchers are hopeful that mitochondrial DNA can be extracted. This will provide details of their maternal ancestry.

The pigtails on display in the US were housed in a nineteenth-century cylindrical tobacco tin. Also with the locks of hair was a handkerchief said to have belonged to Sarah, the daughter of William McCoy, one of the Bounty mutineers.
A worn, faded label with the pigtails notes that it is attached to the hair of William McCoy. The mutineer McCoy died on Pitcairn Island in 1800. Notes written on the label also state that the pigtails are of seven of the mutineers of H.M.S. Bounty and "also that of three of the Tahitian women," who accompanied the mutineers to Pitcairn in 1789.
Continue reading Forensic analysis of pigtails to help identify original 'mutineers of H.M.S. Bounty'


Caitlin Gow said...

Wow! Thank you so much for sharing! My Great Aunt (by marriage) is a descendant of the Bounty mutineers.

Unknown said...

Was there any information as to why these people cut off their pigtails and why someone save them in a tin? It'll be interesting to see what kind of useful information scientists can extract from hair alone.