“Coffin Boy” Identity Laid to Rest

I was browsing through some online articles this morning and ran across one in The Daily Colonial,  a newspaper of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. about a group of researchers from the Smithsonian Institute and George Washington University, who worked to identify a nineteenth-century body found in an iron coffin near the grounds of a cemetery of Columbian University. “Coffin Boy” as he’s referred to in the article was identified as William T. White through genealogical sources that included Ancestry.com and DNA testing.

A comment toward the end of the article resonated with me. An intern from George Washington University was quoted in the article as saying,

“It’s kind of addictive. . . Once you start you just want to find the answer, and it’s really hard to stop.”

Heck, we could have told them that!

You can click here to read the entire article.



2 thoughts on ““Coffin Boy” Identity Laid to Rest

  1. How interesting! And congratulations to the team on a job well done. But since White is one of the family surnames I research, and especially since I am doing so in Virginia, I personally pray that the family tree constructed for this young man gets posted also. As wonderful and satisfying as it was to the team to have found the answers they sought, without posting or publishing the family tree, all of THAT research is as lost to future generations as was William’s long-lost grave. Since Ancestry was apparently instrumental in helping the mystery to be solved, surely Ancestry can follow up and make sure the tree is posted. For all of the members of that particular White family, whether or not it should turn out to be my White family also, I hope so. Isn’t that the whole point of all of the work they did, all of the work that we all do?

  2. I certainly hope that this followed up on. The White family is also in my line. The first person that I have was Taphenus White who was born in the early 1700s who married Thomas Cooper before 1765. She was the daughter of Charles White whose father was a William White.

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