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Old 13-01-19, 11:31
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Default Ancestral DNA testing

I read in one of the family history magazines that in the not too distant future, we may be able to test our ancestors' DNA using envelopes and stamps that they licked! So if you have any old letters or postcards, don't scan them in to your computer or photograph them and then throw them away.
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Old 13-01-19, 11:35
ElizabethHerts ElizabethHerts is offline
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You wouldn't have any proof of who did the licking, though! Sometimes OH puts the stamps on my letters or cards.
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Old 13-01-19, 11:43
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Yes, I remember one time my mum sent me off to post a load of Christmas cards just in time to catch the last post and the postman helped me stick the stamps on!
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Old 13-01-19, 11:47
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Oh wow, looks as though they are already doing it!

https://www.totheletterdna.com/envelopes-faqs/

I wonder whether there are other companies too?
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Old 13-01-19, 11:49
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My Heritage will apparently be doing it soon:
https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/718020/...ased-ancestors
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Old 13-01-19, 11:56
ElizabethHerts ElizabethHerts is offline
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I've got my grandfather's diaries for three years and the letters he wrote to my grandmother before they married. I wonder if they would be acceptable?

I wish I hadn't thrown away the fur coat my mum wore when she was 2. Unfortunately the moths had got at it and it was in a terrible state.
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Old 13-01-19, 11:57
ElizabethHerts ElizabethHerts is offline
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I've got photo albums where someone licked the photo mounts.
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Old 13-01-19, 14:07
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Having worked in several offices where a damp sponge was used for stamp sticking I think the resulting dna might be a bit confusing considering more than one person used it and the sponges were ancient.

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Old 13-01-19, 14:44
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There's another snafu. Having found a letter my father sent from the South Pacific when in the military in WWII, with an envelope that had been sliced at the top rather than the flap ripped open, I thought "perfect!" and envisioned perhaps finding some half-siblings among the descendants of the sad-eyed local girl whose photo had turned up in his treasured belongings. Then my eye fell on the envelope's annotation indicating that the letter's contents had been passed by the military censor. Of course my father was never allowed to lick and seal his own envelope in war time.

That aside, this is a really interesting development! Thanks, Kite.
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Old 13-01-19, 14:56
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Yes, I don't know what the chances are that Winston Churchill licked many envelopes or stamps himself (the My Heritage news piece says they are trying to extract DNA from his letters.) I should think the more personal the letter (apart from ones that would go through a military censor or similar, of course), the more likely the writer at least licked the envelope. Probably any which say "SWALK" on the back would be a good bet!

Looking through the scanned images of my grandfather's letters and postcards to Charles Lahr, it seems that you used to be able to buy postcards and envelopes with pre-paid postage included? So no stamp-licking there, but I suppose he would at least have licked some of the envelopes.

And most of the stamps on the letters and postcards from my German ancestors seem to have been removed to go in stamp collections, but I see there is at least one written by my great-grandmother with stamps extant, so hopefully one day...
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