Amy Cheshire (upper left) spoke about how genetic genealogy helped identify the remains of her grandfather James Cheshire (lower left, with his young family). In July 2022 he was buried at Arlington Cemetery (lower right). 
In 2011 Amy Cheshire, our speaker at the September 1, 2022 meeting, was contacted by a Navy Genealogist about James Cheshire, her grandfather.
In 1941, James was serving as a Chief Pharmacist’s Mate aboard the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor.  Amy brought the actual telegram her grandmother, Marion, received from Navy announcing in late December 1941, announcing that James had been declared dead. James was among men who were buried in the Punchbowl Cemetery on Oahu, and the family was left with only corroded mementoes found in James’ ship locker.  
The Navy Genealogist who contacted Amy was working for the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) and was seeking DNA samples. Amy contacted second cousins who would share DNA with her grandfather, and they provided samples that were eventually used to help identify her grandfather’s DNA as part of the USS Oklahoma Project that sought to identify remains of sailors who served on the ship.
Amy explained the difference between autosomal DNA, which is carried in the nucleus of nearly all human cell and is a blend of genetic material from the mother and the father, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is inherited only through the mother. mtDNA is particularly useful for several reasons: i) there’s a lot of it in cells; ii) mtDNA is more likely to survive for long periods relative to autosomal DNA; and iii) its maternal lineage provides information for forensic identification when there is a gap between ancestor and descendent.
In 2018, Amy’s family was contacted by the US Navy, which had identified her grandfather’s remains.  After COVID-19-related delays, her grandfather was laid to rest with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery in July 2022. Amy now focuses on genetic genealogy, which is the use of genealogical DNA together with genealogical methods to identify possible genetic relationships between individuals.  She uses these approaches to help adoptees seek birth parents or as part investigative genetic genealogy used to identify crime victims.