DNA to solve origins of Anglesey shipwreck survivors
- On 26/03/2010
- In Miscellaneous
From BBC News
DNA analysis is being used to help solve the 18th Century mystery of the origins of an Anglesey medical family.
Two boys were sole survivors of a 1745 shipwreck and experts want to find out where in the world they were born.
One of the boys was a brilliant manipulator and healer of bones, and started a family of doctors who helped develop orthopaedic medicine.
Now DNA has been taken from a direct male descendant and scientists hope the mystery will finally be solved.
At the time of the shipwreck the boys were rescued off the Skerries by a smuggler called Dannie Lukie. The story goes that the boys were twins, and probably Spanish nobility, but there is no reliable evidence to support this.
Others say they were Manx, Scots or Dutch.
It is known however that after their rescue the boys were adopted and given the surname "Thomas", one was called Evan and the other Matthew. The one called Matthew seems to have died early-on but Evan went on to become a brilliant manipulator and healer of broken bones.
This spawned an entire family of qualified doctors who helped develop orthopaedic medicine.
One of his descendants, Hugh Owen Thomas, invented the "Thomas splint" which reduced the incidence of deaths from femoral leg fractures during the Great War.