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Kimberly Powell

Who is Benjamin Kyle? Using Genealogy to Identify an Amnesia Victim

By February 17, 2009

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Just as genealogists have come to the rescue in connecting recently deceased individuals with next of kin who have proven difficult for coronors to identify and trace, genealogy is also being used as a possible tool in identifying amnesia victims. A 50/60 year old amnesia victim going by the name of Benjaman Kyle recently had his Y-DNA tested in an attempt to learn something about his origins; resulting in a close 37 marker connection with several members of the POWELL Surname DNA surname project at FamilyTreeDNA. Interestingly, just like the Unclaimed Persons Web site, founded by Megan Smolenyak, which brings together genealogists with medical examiners, coroners, and investigators searching for next of kin of recently deceased individuals, amnesia victims also have groups of volunteers who help try to reunite them with family. You can read more of the discussion on Benjaman Kyle at WebSleuths.com, which is where using genealogy as a possible tool was suggested.

The man who calls himself Benjaman Kyle was found beaten, blind and without identification in 2004 behind a dumpster at Burger King in Richmond Hill, Georgia. He believes he was born in Indianapolis and also thinks he spent time in Colorado. He's fairly certain that his first name is Benjaman (with an "a") and thinks he may have attended a Catholic school. At the Powell Surname DNA Project he's Y-DNA kit number 140314 where he appears to be a fairly close match to many members of the Joseph Powell group.

Comments
February 17, 2009 at 7:15 pm
(1) Carol says:

I also see where genealogists are volunteering to help medical examiners find the relatives of people who have died leaving no record of their families. The names of the deceased are known but there is nothing known about their relatives or next of kin.

February 19, 2009 at 5:24 am
(2) Donna says:

I volunteer my time at Websleuths and especially for Benjaman Kyle. A fellow Websleuth person brought this website to WS Wed. night., Feb. 18.
Speaking for myself, I have waited for this test to be completed. So glad to see Benjaman Kyle in a
family.

February 19, 2009 at 11:45 am
(3) Liz says:

I did not see the Joseph Powell family plotted on the map-will that be coming in the future?

February 20, 2009 at 1:21 pm
(4) Denise says:

Lawyers have frequently worked with genealogists to locate all living heirs for disposition of property when there’s no will.

January 28, 2014 at 2:34 pm
(5) Alice says:

It would be helpful to have the “Joseph Powell” tree…. my maiden name was Powell, so this piqued my interest.

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