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  DNA Identifies Child Victim of Titanic Shipwreck

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  •  Anonymous
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DNA Identifies Child Victim of Titanic Shipwreck
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[url]http://www.titanic.com/story/31/DNA%20identifies[/url]
DNA Identifies Child Victim of Titanic Shipwreck
Wed, Nov 06, 2002
By Mary Wilcox

HALIFAX (Reuters) - It has taken 90 years, the latest in DNA technology and a television documentary to do it, but the "Unknown Child" from the doomed Titanic has finally been identified.



The crew of the Canadian recovery ship Mackay-Bennett found the body of the young, fair-haired boy a few days after the steamer sank, with the loss of 1,517 lives.


But there was no identification and the crewmen decided to take the body to Halifax and pay for a proper funeral, burying the little coffin at the top of a hill in Fairview Lawn Cemetery, along with 120 other Titanic victims.


The headstone reads "Unknown Child" and over the years it has attracted the attention of cemetery visitors.


Now the experts have determined it was the body of Eino Viljami Panula, who was 13 months old when the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912. He was one of five brothers from Finland who died in the disaster, along with their mother.


"The unknown child is now a known child, identified and returned to his family," said Ryan Parr of Canada's Lakehead University, who coordinated the work of over 50 scientists, genealogists and Titanic researchers.


The infant's relatives, Magda Schleifer from Helsinki and her daughter and son-in-law, Nina Schleifer and Jyrki Uutrla and their one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, arrived in Halifax this week to pay their respects at the grave.


Magda Schleifer, 68, said she knew that her grandmother's sister and her five sons had drowned when the Titanic sank.


But the family's loss became more real when blood tests confirmed the unknown child was Eino, she said. "It has been more and more a family story and now, it's more like something really happened," she said, speaking through her son-in-law.


Eino's mother, Maria Emila Ojala, and her five sons were traveling to the United States to join her husband, John Panula, who was working in Pennsylvania when the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank. The family in Finland never knew that any family bodies had been found from the sinking.


Then, early last month, producers of the television series "Secrets of the Dead" contacted Magda Schleifer and asked if she would donate a small blood sample for DNA testing to see if the unknown child was from her family.

It was the first time she had heard about an unknown child, and she said she wanted to help if she could, especially as the lost child was around the age of her granddaughter.

Uutrla said the visit to the cemetery with the documentary film crew had been very emotional for the grandmother.

"Of course, you are there, at the cemetery, where so many bodies are, have their graves, and people bring toys to the few babies that are lying there," he said. "You see the toys, the graves, it is something concrete, not just a story, and remember how the Mackay-Bennett crew took care of the child--who would not be emotional? She's a very emotional woman, so it was shocking, moving."

The family has decided that the boy's remains will stay in Halifax. "The child has been taken care of here, the memory has been kept alive, so why do some changes?" said Magda.


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Posted on: 2002/11/7 12:14
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  •  Anonymous
      Anonymous
Unknown child
#2
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From the White Star Line 's final list of pasengers the Panula family embarked on the Titanic from Southampton,and Eino Panula is not mentionned as being a child.
All those above the age of 12 were considered as being adults.

On the other hand,Urhu Panula is mentionned as being a 'child' ,and William Panula as being an 'infant '.

It is therefore more likely that the unknown 13 months old is William Panula.

Regards:?:
Posted on: 2002/11/15 7:18
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  •  Anonymous
      Anonymous
Contacting the attendees at re-burial in Nova Scotia
#3
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My name is Michael Allen.

My grandmother is Violet Panula. Her dad's son, Eino, was just identified in Halifax.

I would like to contact the attendees of the funeral in Canada so that my grandmother could speak with them. My grandmother's brithday is the week-she'll be 87 years old. It would be a great surprise for her. She really would enjoy it.

I don't know how to get in touch with the attendees.

Any ideas or tips are greatly appreciated.

Thank You
Michael Allen
Posted on: 2002/11/16 4:42
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  •  Anonymous
      Anonymous
Michael Allen's email
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My email address is:
Posted on: 2002/11/16 4:43
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  •  Anonymous
      Anonymous
which lab
#5
Guest_Anonymous
Which labotorium exctually found out that the dna was some one else's
Posted on: 2002/11/19 22:36
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  •  RMSJulie
      RMSJulie
Reply@Titanic.com
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I think its silly how haunted people are over this. As if the event still has power over them. I think history is entitled to us and we need to raise the ship. The rich people thought we should do it right away. And still to this day their request is ignored. They're hated for being rich even by commoners.
Posted on: 2003/3/1 1:15
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  •  RMSJulie
      RMSJulie
Uncertain
#7

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Why are pople so uncertain. They know the person is missing. They know they were on the ship. There name is on the list. They never came home. Its them. Its seems to me you don't feel certain that its them. We lost many of ours in concentration camps. I know its hard, but if its them, its them. I think Hitler created them so he could bring back the lost survivors. Being a mixed up American, I'm German as well and I know thats what it is. I am known as a perfect arian with roots in the Klue Klux Kan. If it is, it is.
Posted on: 2003/3/1 1:19
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