A Message from our Founder, Betty Porter:
I’ve been a genealogist since 1976, first in Kansas and now in Salt Lake City, Utah. Over the years, we’ve seen many important advancements for genealogists: The internet. Digitized records. Searchable newspapers. And now DNA.
I had a classic brick wall. My parents were divorced when I was 6, after which my father moved to Wyoming. He was murdered there in 1963. My mother knew nothing about his father. The 1923 birth record had only the initials R. E. McDonald. Family lore was that McDonald died before the birth, but nationwide searches of state death indexes and newspapers yielded nothing.
Finally, I was so desperate that I got a court order and had my father exhumed. A pathologist collected a piece of bone. I then tried to find a lab that would test it. Most wouldn’t even try. Some would, but only offered “forensic” (crime) testing, which is of limited value to a genealogist (because it does not produce a profile compatible with genealogical DNA databases).
In 2016, I decided to find a way to provide this service myself. We partnered with another organization in creating an accredited state-of-the-art laboratory. This lab serves a wide range of clients, including law enforcement, attorneys, and courts, using experienced crime lab personnel who are used to getting usable DNA in tough situations. Fortunately, they also enjoy genealogical challenges. Before opening, the lab conducted an extensive study on envelopes and tested other artifacts. (And yes, we started with my own family’s envelopes.)