Posted by Anna Swayne on January 22, 2014 in AncestryDNA

DNA solved a 70-year-old question of whether Loraine Allison survived the Titanic crash. Many have wondered what happened to the two-year-old little girl who disappeared from the crash more than 100 years ago.

The story begins with Hudson and Bess taking their two kids, Trevor, seven months, and Loraine, two years of age, across the Atlantic on the Titanic. At the time of the sinking, it is said that Trevor was rushed to a lifeboat by their maid and that the other three died on the boat. However, only Hudson’s body was found, leaving the mystery of what happened to Loraine and her mother.

The New York City Herald covered the sinking tragedy on April 16, 1912. (Credit: Library of Congress)
The New York City Herald covered the sinking tragedy on April 16, 1912. (Credit: Library of Congress)

The unknown remained until 28 years later when Helen Kramer came forward on a radio show called “We the People”, and said that she was the two-year-old missing girl. Only a few of the distant relatives believed her story, but immediate family members denied the claims and kept her out of the inheritance.

When Helen died in 1992 the claims seemed to have died with her. However, in 2012 the granddaughter of Helen, Debrina Woods, resurfaced the claims by saying she had inherited more evidence from her grandmother and that the truth should be told.

With all of this evidence, and with a desire to solve this case, a group of Titanic researchers put together a project to help unlock the mystery.

They did just that, by convincing descendants from each family to have a DNA test done.

The results from the tests show that there is not a relationship between the two families, suggesting that this was a hoax or a complete misunderstanding.

We don’t want to downplay the tragedy of this story to those involved but rather highlight that we have a tool that will help us unlock the mysteries of our past with DNA testing.

This isn’t the first time DNA has helped provide evidence to disprove a connection to a historical claim. DNA testing disproved Anna Anderson’s claims that she was Anastasia, the youngest daughter of the Russian Tsar, Nicholas II. Similar to the Kramer story, researchers found multiple people from both sides of the family in question and had them take a DNA test. No DNA was shared, disproving a relationship.

What questions have you always wondered about in your family? DNA testing can help shed light on some of the answers you want to discover. To learn more about our AncestryDNA test, click here.

For the full story from The Telegraph, click here to read more.


Anna Swayne

Anna Swayne has 9 years of experience in the DNA genealogy world. At Ancestry, she leads efforts in developing education to help our community maximize their experience with AncestryDNA. She believes there is real power behind DNA and the story it can unlock for each of us. When she is not talking DNA you can find her hiking or cycling in the mountains or cooking at home.


  1. Melissa

    Fascinating story…. I would love to get a DNA test done on some siblings… I just know that no matter what anyone says…. Someone is a mail mans child… LOL …

  2. Tara Drake

    Fascinating story! Glad to see that DNA can find the truth. I have had my fathers DNA completed and still have had no luck finding any connections. His father was left as a child with a family while the parents traveled with Vaudeville and never to return. I thought DNA would be the key to my brick wall. So far, just a DNA wall.

  3. Pamela Marie Galvan Tamez (Tatanka Winyan)

    My DNA results said I am Native American of which I know this, I have come a match to many Cherokee, Lakota Sioux, and others people from different tribes but I am also coming up matches to people of African descent and I do not know how, but my DNA did say I was %5 African Congo. I would like to know why I would come up a match to people from different tribes and African people what is the line? I wish I could really know this. I am working hard to study each tree and to find the link. I have found several, but the African is still a mystery. Any advice?
    Thank you
    Pamela Buffalo Woman Tatanka Winyan Tamez

  4. Tracy Pierce

    Thank you for solving a family mystery! This is stepfathers family. I have heard these stories growing up and my step grandmother had pictures of Lorraine and Trevor among others. This is amazing news. Thank you again.

  5. Anna Swayne

    @Pamela, having another family member tested (aunt, uncle, 1st cousin on your mother or father’s side) will help you determine which line this particular ethnicity is coming from. I would test members from both sides of my family to increase the probability of answering this question. Keep in mind, your ethnicity results can go back 1,000 years.

  6. Deanne Jennings

    Hello Tracy, I am one of the participants who supplied DNA for the mtDNA test taken re: Kramer’s side of the family. If you would be so kind, may we speak? I, as you, would like to know more as with so many variances and discrepancies in names involved, perhaps you can help me figure out just exactly who my grandmother was and/or came from. Your generosity of heart in communicating with me would be truly appreciated. I will await your reply with great anticipation. if nothing else, and you should choose not to discuss anything further, maybe just send me a quick email to let me know such.

    Thank you for any time you may take with this in response.

  7. Lori

    It would be very interesting to d a follow up on how the search for the real family of Helen Kramer plays out. Good luck Deanne. I hope you find your roots.
    A question about Anna Anderson’s DNA. Is it likely that there would be any way to find out who and where she matches up?
    Follow up with both of these, please.

  8. Deanne Jennnings

    Your comment was very kind, thank you. Regarding Anna Anderson’s DNA, I am by no means qualified to speak on that at all. I was only a test subject for this particular pairing. Thank you again, Lori.

  9. Janna Felix

    DNA was also used to prove that Anastasia and her brother did in fact die. They found their bodies in the woods a few years ago.

  10. Lisa Ann Rash Klinge

    I have a difficult family mystery to tackle.. I am a member of and this month submitted my Ancestry dna kit. I would love to hire a pro..but can not begin to afford that. I was wondering if someone could help me by at least giving me some helpful tips.. Can someone from Ancestry please contact me using my email and I will provide details, if you so kindly would do so. Thanks, Lisa

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