Dunedin resident Ken Goodwin (63) with his family tree,
which now includes links to a previously-unidentified child
who died in the Titanic disaster. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
In a feat of genealogical detective work, researchers
have discovered links between the family of a Dunedin taxi
driver, Ken Goodwin, and a long-unidentified child who died in
the Titanic disaster.
More than 1500 people died after the passenger liner struck
an iceberg on April 14, 1912. More than 300 bodies were
recovered from the frigid waters of the North Atlantic.
The body of one child, aged about 2, was recovered and later
buried as an ''Unknown Child'' from the Titanic, at a
cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
A leading United States forensic genealogist, Dr Colleen
Fitzpatrick, said only one of the recovered bodies was a
''In 1912, there was no way to identify the baby, but as of
2007 DNA identification had advanced to the level where it
became possible,'' she said.
Mr Goodwin was impressed by the ''mind-boggling''
international collaborative efforts required to identify the
child, and the later teamwork showing links with other
members of the wider Goodwin family who had emigrated from
England to Christchurch.
Sidney Leslie Goodwin. Photo supplied.
And he was intrigued by his own family link with the
His late father, Ted Goodwin, grew up in Christchurch before
shifting to Dunedin.
Ken Goodwin was adopted by the family when he was 13 months.
Dr Fitzpatrick said that, in 1998, the child's grave was
opened at the request of a family who believed the child was
a relative, but DNA analysis ruled out any link.
Later research ruled out four possibilities, and narrowed the
child's identity to one of two remaining possibilities.
Using a new form of DNA test, scientists at the Armed Forces
DNA Identification Laboratory in the US finally identified
the child, in 2007, as Sidney Leslie Goodwin, of England,
aged 19 months. His parents and siblings also died in the
Dr Fitzpatrick helped clarify the New Zealand Goodwin links.
She is visiting the South Island, and will give a public talk
in the Dunedin Public Library's Dunningham Suite at 2.15pm
Dr Fitzpatrick emphasised she had not been involved in the
earlier DNA testing, and had played only a small part in the
''magnificent'' overall teamwork to bring about
She used ''old-fashioned'' genealogy methods, combined with
the internet, to help establish the links with Ken Goodwin,
and Graeme Goodwin, who lives near Christchurch.