Monday, July 26, 2010

A Very Strange Request

Yesterday evening I received a phone call from a gentleman I had never met before. After a very brief introduction I heard him utter the words "all we need is a sample of your DNA to solve our mystery". Let's pause for a minute on this statement. For some reason my DNA was the key to a mystery great enough for someone to be phoning me on a Sunday night. In all honesty, I was a bit taken aback. Perhaps I have watched too many episodes of CSI, but when I hear "all we need is a sample of your DNA to solve our mystery" a few alarm bells go off in my head. Since I have a mostly clear conscience, I figured I should hear the caller out. At this point, I backed the conversation up to get a better grasp on what exactly we were discussing.

The man on the phone had the surname Cranton. If you add an S to the front of his name, you end up with my name. He told me that, despite their best genealogical efforts, they had not been able to trace their family line further than their arrival in Nova Scotia in the 1760s. Evidently a story existed that the name had been changed from Scranton either before or shortly after their arrival in Nova Scotia. This would explain why tracing the family line beyond their arrival in Nova Scotia was impossible. Since the story of the name change was not accepted by all parts of the family, I became the missing genealogical link in a long standing mystery. Let me tell you, it is an odd feeling being the missing link. Strangely enough, I can remember my grandfather making a comment that all of the Crantons on Cape Breton Island we related to us but they had changed their name. Perhaps there was some truth to both stories. If there is some truth, it would extend the Cranton family line back to the arrival of John Scranton in Connecticut in 1637.

Thanks to advances in science, we are able to use DNA testing for genealogical purposes. With a simple swab of a q-tip inside your cheek, you can unlock much hidden ancestral information. Since I was intrigued by the request, I agreed to meet with my caller. He proposed a meeting in Annapolis Royal where he could get a sample to be mailed to the lab at Lakehead University. Promptly at noon he arrived at the O'Dell House Museum with a box of q-tips and a handful of information. After all, what better place to have this sort of exchange than our Genealogy Centre. Looking through the information there was indeed a strong case for an existing relationship. Unfortunately, without further proof the evidence was circumstantial. Well, the cheek has been swabbed and the information sent off to the lab. I am looking forward to the results.

All for now,


  1. I'm looking forward to hearing the results Mr. SCranton!!

  2. We're going through something similar. My uncle just sent off his DNA, results maybe in August. Our roadblock ancestor disappeared from the family, and we're hoping to connect with another family line who has their DNA on record. Hope you get interesting results!