Unknown Childs identity was wrong! See Below!
Newspaper article form
The Times Dispatch, Richmond
Virginia, April 16, 1912.
You can't really read it, but what a long
This website is dedicated to the Panula
and all the other Unknown Titanic victims.
We honour the horror of your suffering with remembrance.
On April 15th, 1912 when the Titanic sank in the cold North
Atlantic, 150 bodies were recovered and brought to Halifax, Nova
Scotia, Canada for burial. Many of those bodies identities were unknown,
never claimed by loved ones and were only given a number and the date on their graves.
Much effort has been made by many Titanic Researchers and some names were
identified and added to the grave. The others, well,
they remain the same 95 years later. We're hoping to change that with
science and prayer.
Friday, May 17/18, 2001
Please forgive the old, cheap 35mm pre-digital camera, blurry photos.
It's all I had at the time. No zoom.
When I arrived at the cemetery after the work
was all finished on the second day, the only spectators were a small group of
local children giggling and playing around the graves. Seeing the little girl
with the baby doll made my heart ache for the Unknown Child. Here they have
stopped to read Arthur McCrae's tombstone.
had no idea... They simply announced on the Wednesday Evening News that
three families were claiming that three of the victims bodies numbered
4, 240 and 281 may be relatives of theirs, and they want the bodies
excavated for DNA sampling. Digging starts tomorrow! Being a new Titanic
researcher, and of course living here where the history lies, and this is taking
place, I had to
be there. This is my journal. I took many pictures for those of us
who like a thousand words. I'm really not concerned with what the names
are of everyone involved with the exhumation . During this experience I
never read any newspaper articles, watched any TV reports, except the announcement,
(including myself on the news) or listened to the radio. I wanted this
story to be about what I felt and witnessed as an interested amateur Titanic
Researcher. I wish I had a digital camera back then. The pictures aren't very
good. My only concern anyway, is finding out the names of the people in the
May 17th 2001
at the cemetery alone, it's a chilly day. Wind is up a little and the sky
is overcast and dull. I pull in the driveway of the
Fairview Lawn Cemetery
and faced a Halifax Regional Police van parked across from the graves. The news reported
that the work would begin in the morning but there is little activity,
maybe 8 people around just milling about their duties. I could see no one
around the graves, just nearby. I cruised past the Van and parked for a
minute to get out and look around and snap a few pictures (which didn't
turn out because it was the beginning of the film). I noticed another Police
cruiser coming in and pull up to the van to chat. I had to go and get my
Mom, so I just drove around the yard down below the graves at the bottom
of the hill. As I drove by I wondered if the police car was going to block
access to spectators.
We return to the cemetery and there are
now two Halifax Regional Police cars and I thought
something must be up because there was still very little going on for all
these Cops. Although, there was now about fifteen people, all who seem
to be reporters or yard workers. We drove all the way around the cemetery
and parked down below the graves at the bottom of the hill. Right then
a guy came out of the building and he had a couple of rolls of bright yellow
tape and we thought ok, here we go. He gated off the whole area around
the site. During this more people are arriving and a little group is forming
at the grave of the Unknown Child. We decided
to move the car and park facing the graves on the top of the hill. I noticed
a couple of reporters crouched down in front of the grave of the Unknown
Child interviewing a man in a hat and a brown leather jacket. We speculated
that he was one of the family members. We drove around and parked to see
two Policeman walking towards the group. They reached the man and spoke
a few words to him as they helped him up from the ground. By now I'm at
the plastic yellow parameter and I ask two men (still adjusting the caution
tape) if the man is a protester. One man looks at the other and the first
one says, "Yes, he is. He is a self-appointed caretaker of the Unknown
Child's grave and has been for a few years. He has no connection to the
HRM (Halifax Regional Municipality)". I just kept looking at him so he said it again.
The gentlemen was brought away from the grave peacefully and I later learned
someone reported that he was chained to the grave, but I didn't see anyone
removing chains or chains in anyone's hands or around him. The two Police
Officers and two other graveyard officials began talking to him and within
a few minutes he was shaking the officers hand when I heard the Policeman
say, "Sure I'll drive you home." I found out later that he was banned from
the graveyard for the rest of the exhumation and that he was simply misinformed
about what was going to happen. He was under the impression that the child's
grave was going to be moved elsewhere for testing, and he felt that the
child wouldn't want to leave everyone else. So, when they told him that
they were only going to take some samples to try and find out who he is,
and give the child a family name, he gave up his protest peacefully. Then,
the Officer drove him home. In my opinion he was not a publicity seeker
because he was visibly upset about what he thought was happening, and kept
asking if what he was being told was the truth. He was really trying not
to cry. Me too.
He fenced off quite a large area around
Nobody was permitted inside after he was finished.
You can't really see the Reporters talking to
but he is sitting down in front of the Unknown Child's grave,
as the guy
begins to fence off the area with caution tape.
Here local Reporters watch as the Police escort
the Protester aside.
This is the Police and two graveyard officials
who explained to the gentleman
in the hat that the graves were to be sampled for DNA and not removed.
Mom and I went over closer to him and we could see that he was very emotional.
The Police inform the Gentleman that he is banned
from the graveyard until the
work is done, then drove him home. Which I thought
was nice and friendly like.
After the man is whisked away the
reporters and Mom and I thin out because there is nothing else going on.
We go back to the car and notice after a while that the reporters are all
leaving. We figure that the work is delayed for some reason so we decide
to go and get some tea and hot chocolate.
We return to the graveyard and
there is no one around. There is only one car parked near the office with
two men sitting in it. We were so surprised that there were no spectators!
Not a one! I guess that here in Nova Scotia the Titanic is just such a
part of our history that no one pays much attention to anything concerning
it. Plus the fact that no one knew anything about this unless they watched
the evening news the previous night. We sat around in the car drinking
our beverages for about 45 minutes and watched as people returned, when
one of the men got out of his car. So, we got out of our car and approached
him. I still don't know who he was, but he was around all day and seemed
to be connected to the graveyard as opposed to the exhumation. We chatted
for a little while and he told us that the work wasn't scheduled to begin
until 1:00pm. I asked if any of the relatives would be here and he said
that they wanted to remain anonymous and would not be here. I said to him
that the families must have some pretty convincing evidence in order to
get authorities to do this and he proceeded to tell us their findings.
He said one of the victims a young
man, (body #240) was found with a watch and chain when his body was recovered.
This watch was also a locket that contained two pictures of loved ones.
These pictures were photographed before they were buried with him and kept
on record at the Public Archives. The family was able to produce the same
pictures as well as several other family photos of him with the people
in his watch locket.
NO. 240. - MALE.
- ESTIMATED AGE, 24. - HAIR, DARK.
CLOTHING - Grey overcoat; blue serge suit;
EFFECTS - One pipe; key; silver watch and
chain; £1 5s. in purse.
The woman (body #281) had a very
large and noticeable wart on one of her fingers. The family was able to
produce pictures of this lady showing her wart as well as a picture of
her taken just before boarding the Titanic and wearing the same clothing
she was found in.
NO. 281. - FEMALE.
- ESTIMATED AGE, 30. - HAIR, BROWN.
CLOTHING - Black coat; blue skirt; red jersey;
green blouse; woolen
singlet; grey underskirt; black boots and
LARGE WART ON INDEX FINGER OF LEFT HAND.
EFFECTS - $26.00.
NO MARKS ON CLOTHING.
As for the Child's grave (body #4)
the family claims that the child was older than two years, as estimated
at the time of recovery, but instead was approximately 4 years old and
believe the DNA testing of his teeth will prove that, as well they had
a photograph of the child in the same fur cuffed and collared coat he was
buried in. I asked him if it was the Paulson family descendants who were
having the grave exhumed and he said, "as far as I know, it's not".
NO. 4. - MALE.
- ESTIMATED AGE, 2. - HAIR, FAIR.
CLOTHING - Grey coat with fur on collar and
cuffs; brown serge frock;
Petticoat; flannel garment; pink woolen singlet;
brown shoes and stockings.
He also told us that the families
have been trying to get the DNA testing done for the last three years and
finally got through all of the official channels to do so, the last being
our Medical Examiner. After I told the man that we were Titanic researchers
working on the two STONE bodies that
were recovered, he told us that there was going to be a private memorial
service tomorrow at 4:00pm, and that we were welcomed to attend, and please
don't tell the reporters. Which we didn't. I don't know if anything he
told me was fact, but he certainly seemed to know.
The gentleman with white hair and beard is Alan
local Titanic Author and Researcher.
We decide to go and get some lunch
since there is still hardly anyone around and the digging wasn't going
to begin until 1:00pm.
We return to find a few reporters
have come back and we park the car near them to eat. Just then local reporter
Mallett of the
ATV Evening News approached the car and introduced himself. I told him I knew
who he was, and he said he noticed that we were around all morning and
could he ask what our interest here was. So, I got out of the car, took
a deep breath and proceeded to tell him about the research we were doing
on the two Titanic
STONE crew members.
I could tell he thought what I was saying was very interesting and he asked
if he could interview us for the Evening News. I thought oh boy, now everyone
watching will know of the research. I hadn't wanted to go public with my
findings until I was sure, but on second thought now is as good a time
as any to put it out there. So, I was interviewed and talked briefly about
what I have discovered about their names.
The Reporters main agenda was
of course to get my opinion on camera about what I thought of the exhuming
of graves for DNA sampling. I am of course, all for it. I believe that
when we leave our earthly bodies what we leave behind are those memories
that remain with those whose lives we have touched, our DNA from the body
if buried, and our name (bloodline). It is our birthright to be given a name, as
well as having a memorial erected in our name after death. It's our right of
passage when we cross over and leave the Earth that people know we were here for
good or evil.
After the interview I was too excited
to eat so we decided to go for a bathroom break before the workers showed
Finally, the men arrived who were
to set up the tent that would cover the Scientists and Medical Examiner
after the graves were dug. Reporters were to stay behind the caution tape
of course. People have complained that all of this digging will disturb
other graves, but this rumor is not true. If you look at the first picture
you can see that the little grave digger is going to drive up the gravel
road there and dig right were that man is bent over. Incidentally, that
man in yellow is the one who talked to me about the evidence to get permission
Ironically, bodies NO. 281 & 240 were right
next to each other.
The third and forth stone in from the road, where the man is spraying
Building the tent begins.
It's bigger than I
expected. Up she goes.
Things are behind schedule about
a half an hour and finally the excavation team arrives. The people who
were standing inside the fence and were at the graveside were these five
people as well as a couple of others. I was told the man in the long grey
coat was a Titanic author and president of some Titanic Society. The other
man in the dark suit seemed to be a graveyard official, the woman next
to the man in grey an anthropologist, the man in jeans a DNA expert, and
the obscure person also a graveyard official. In fact, I'm not sure if
those really are those people, it was just talk I heard around the Reporters.
They all seemed very excited to be present and
working on this excavation.
They joked around a lot, laughing and talking.
This was the first time I had ever seen a grave
How eccentric of me to think graves were still
dug by hand. Sheesh.
The little grave digger moves into
place and all the press gathers close. Mom and I included with them. This
is the moment everyone is waiting for. The breaking of ground. All of the
officials are gathered around the grave including a city Cop who was present
all day. Everyone around me is whispering their lines and chatting quietly
as they get posed to take shots, and then the grave digger places the scoop
right to the ground and stops. He shuts off the machine and steps down.
We all just look around at each other as everyone in front of us gathers
at the head of graves, taking off their hats as they move to form a line.
Oh my God I thought, they're going to pray. As soon as the line was formed
and they put their heads down, everyone shot off a picture and then, complete
silence. You could barely hear someone saying a prayer in the line. It
was very powerful, that silence. Everyone quiet, just the breeze, the birds,
and the soaring of my heart. The world was mine for a moment. I was really,
really moved by it. In reflection now, it really was the moment I was waiting
There were two flat graves named Mother and Father
where the grave digger sits. When they first brought the machine up the driver suggested a
flat board be placed over them to prevent any damage
to them. I inspected them later and they
were A ok.
They were really old, probably mid 1800's.
The breaking of ground. The picture is a little
I was shaky from the prayer. This was history in the making,
and I'm standing
right there. It was such a privilege.
The Police Officer to the right eventually became
and spent the rest of the day at grave side.
As the grave digger got closer to the casket
he would dump the dirt and the Scientists would inspect it for wood fibers before he would take
another scoop. The graves had unfortunately sunk deeper than anticipated, and they had to
dig several feet farther than expected.
This is the extent of people who were at the
graveyard. All together
around 30 people. All were Journalists and Officials, then just myself and my Mom.
Here is the crowd from another angle. Not very
My Mom is the lady in the long white coat.
A tour bus arrived a little later on, but nobody
I couldn't see anyone on the bus. Maybe the bus driver was just curious.
It's nearly time for the tent to cover the site.
We needed a bathroom break so we
left for about 20 minutes. When we returned most of the Reporters had left,
and the tent was placed over the site for the digging to continue by hand.
Once they dug far enough the digger was set back
in between the
tombstones and the rest of the work was undercover.
From this angle you can see the Unknown Child's
grave. I heard that they chose
to do the Child's grave last because of a fear
of rain. The other two graves are placed
at the bottom of the incline and therefore
would be much wetter should it rain the following day.
Friday, May 18th 2001
I had to work until 1:00pm so I
didn't arrive at the grave yard until 2:00pm, where I found the Child's
grave already dug. :( They had the tent over the grave site but for some reason
they had one side of it opened. I guess it was because there was only about
10 people around, including a couple of Photographers.
The grave digger is surrounded by the tent for
I guess because
they may have thought they would
have to dig deeper, or that it might rain.
An up hill look and the first two graves finished.
I heard the graveyard officials
say the grass would be replaced as soon as they
Here is the side angle.
There are several people bent down inside the
grave and standing around the grave.
There seemed to be more people around this
then there was the first day.
The man in red is holding up a clear plastic
bag with what looks like a DNA sample in it.
I had to go and pick up my Mom
and bring her back for the memorial service at 4:00pm, so I left.
When we returned the yellow caution
tape had been taken down and they were disassembling the tent and picking
up the equipment. We figured that there would be no memorial service because
of this, plus there was no one around but the cleanup crew, so we had a moment
of silence, I snapped a few final pictures and we went home.
The tent coming down
Bodies NO. 281 and NO. 240
Body NO. 4
The Unknown Child
Here is the work completely finished. As you
can see there is plenty of room for the
public to view the graves, as well as do the
work without disturbing the other stones.
Noteworthy: I visited here a few times over the winter months
and never once saw this big Christmas stocking in front of the Paulson
grave. Suddenly it's here, so perhaps it just arrived. We did have a record setting snow filled winter
this year, so perhaps it was just buried under the snow. I peeked inside
it before I left the grave yard and it contained a jar of peanut butter,
a loaf of bread, a knife and a note written on a ripped piece of cardboard
which just seemed to be gibberish or some other language. There were English
words, but they made no sense. Some of them were Sorry, Titanic, and Make.
...Warmed my heart it did...
Since the bodies were sampled
DNA word has come that there
was not enough in the bones of the first two bodies No. 240 and NO. 281
to get any good samples. :( Apparently the graves were too water logged and
the bone marrow was gone. I was so heartsick to hear that, to know the names may
never be known. Let's pray for
the Unknown Child to be identified!
A couple of weeks later I returned to the
graveyard to make
sure the work had been completed with new sod.
Without knowing it, the guy was there doing it
when I arrived.
How about that!? I chatted with the fellow and he told me he had
for the good sod because of all the visiting traffic :)
I told him he would be on the Internet.
I snapped the
picture before he could get away!
He had already finished the Unknown Child's Grave.
Nice new good sod.
Articles below are from
The Chronicle Herald
November 6th, 2002
November 7th, 2002
We are all overjoyed at this news!
The story of the medallion protecting the only DNA, filled my heart with
I was bursting!
Little did the MacKay Bennett's
Crew know that their love for this
Child Unknown, would shine through 90 years later. This is the power of
*Eino Viljami Panula*
I took the liberty of putting his name on his grave picture
(just the picture, not the tombstone at the cemetery),
just to see how it looks. I like it, I hope to see it there some day.
I guess we now know why the name was never changed on the
I must say I am shocked at this turn of events considering it is DNA evidence!
The Halifax Daily News
(Now out of business)
Titanic victim's identity corrected
'Unknown child' ID'd as 13-month-old Finn five years ago was English 19-month-old
CanWest News Service
Call it a titanic case of mistaken identity. Five years ago, a Canadian forensic
team made international headlines when it announced that it had positively
identified the body of the unknown child whose body was recovered from the wreck
of the Titanic in 1912. That identification was wrong.
On May 4, 1912, the body recovered from the North Atlantic was buried with
moving fanfare at Fairview Lawn cemetery in Halifax. A small tombstone erected
"to the memory of an unknown child whose remains were recovered after the
Titanic disaster" has marked the spot ever since.
Over the years, many speculated as to the child's identity. Only as DNA
developed did researchers dare hope the mystery could be solved.
In 2001, Canadian scientists exhumed the unknown child's body, recovering three teeth and a six-centimetre fragment of bone.
Examination of the tiny teeth led a dental expert to suggest the child might
be about a year old, drastically narrowing the field of likely candidates.
Using DNA tracked down from suspected maternal relatives, tests conducted by
Ryan Parr at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay quickly eliminated three of
By elimination, the child was identified as 13-month-old Eino Panula, a Finnish
who drowned with his parents in the disaster, which claimed 1,500 lives.
The findings, and Panula's identity, were announced the following year in a
highly publicized television documentary, Secrets of the Dead: Titanic's Ghosts,
produced by New York's Engel Brothers Media.
Panula's distant relatives in Finland travelled from Helsinki to visit the
gravesite, where Allan Ruffman, a Halifax-based oceanographer and member of the
research team, declared: "He is no longer an unknown child. He can have a name
on his tombstone."
Now, according to a report in the latest issue of Voyage, the official journal
Titanic International Society, the announcement five years ago was simply wrong.
In an interview with the Montreal Gazette, Ruffman acknowledged yesterday
the initial identification was too hasty.
"We were under pressure at the time by the U.S. television team doing the
History Channel documentary to identify the child, and based on the evidence
we had at the time, we did so," Ruffman said.
What the scientists didn't fully appreciate at the time is that there are two
mitochondrial DNA molecules - HVS1 and HVS2. In 2002, they thought they needed
to test only one of them, the HVS1.
Sidney Leslie Goodwin
The initial test matched many thousands of people across northern Europe, from
Scandinavia to the British Isles, all descended from a single progenitor mother.
But of the team's candidates, only Panula's family provided a match.
But after the TV show aired, later tests - this time on the unknown child's
HVS2 - revealed that DNA did not match Panula's relatives.
The researchers revisited their list of candidates, this time focusing on
19-month-old Sidney Leslie Goodwin.
Goodwin was a third-class passenger, travelling from Fulham, England, with his
parents and five brothers and sisters to Niagara Falls, N.Y. The entire Goodwin
family died in the sinking.
But the researchers did manage to track down a descendant of Goodwin's maternal
New tests - this time on on both segments of mitochondrial DNA -
positively confirmed the body is Goodwin's, not Panula's.
Additional evidence for the new identification also resurfaced: a pair of shoes
the body of the unknown child in 1912 by a souvenir hunter and kept by his
almost 90 years were found to be too big for a 13-month-old like Panula.
The shoes were only recently donated to the Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax,
where they are now on display.
Titanic's 'unknown child' identified
By ALISON AULD - CNEWS
HALIFAX (CP) - His identity had eluded Titanic buffs for years.
Buried in a small plot in a Halifax cemetery, the young boy was known simply as
the unknown child - a poignant symbol of all the children who perished when the famed vessel went down in the North Atlantic in 1912.
So when researchers declared in 2002 that science proved the remains were those
of a 13-month-old Finnish boy, the long-standing mystery seemed solved.
But now, five years after the Finnish boy's surviving relatives travelled to his
graveside to be reunited with their lost loved one in a high-profile ceremony,
researchers have admitted that they got it wrong.
The unknown child, a lead researcher said Tuesday, is in fact Sidney Leslie
Goodwin, a 19-month-old English boy who died with his entire family as they were
setting out for a new life in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
"It's very easy to say you got this wrong, but nevertheless that is how science
works and you do change your ideas and you do change your theories," Ryan Parr,
a lead researcher in the case, said from his office at Lakehead University in
Thunder Bay, Ont.
"The evidence was pretty conclusive at the time."
The research team began to question the conclusion shortly after making the
announcement and conducting more tests on DNA evidence they had collected.
Parr and his colleague, Halifax-based historian Alan Ruffman, had earlier used
samples of the child's DNA they had exhumed in 2001, including three teeth and a
small portion of bone.
Based on the size of the teeth, they could narrow the field of candidates to
children of a certain age, which experts indicated was most likely about a year
Parr then tried to match the child's DNA to any surviving female family members,
narrowing it down to Goodwin and Eino Viljami Panula, who was travelling in
third-class to the United States with his mother and four other brothers when
they all perished.
They became sure of their theory that it was Panula when three dental experts
the teeth were that of a very young child.
"There were some aspects that made us a bit uncomfortable, even though that's
what the teeth experts were telling us," he said. "So we pressed forward and did
more DNA testing."
Using a second DNA test on the child's HVS1, a type of mitochondrial DNA
molecule, the scientists' doubts were confirmed. The DNA didn't match the Panula
family, setting the team off on a new hunt for the baby's real identity.
Parr said the team went back to the Goodwins and eventually found a surviving
maternal relative who submitted DNA evidence. They conducted the two DNA tests
and came up with a match.
Charles Haas of the Titanic International Society said news of the identity
change only serves to show that scientific pursuits can be elusive and doesn't
discredit the work being done to identify the victims.
"Science is a fluid thing, it's not set in concrete," he said from Randolph,
N.J. "As additional information becomes available it becomes necessary to revise
Panula's relatives were informed of the error at their homes in Helsinki,
something Parr said must have come as a disappointment after they ventured
overseas to the Fairview Cemetery in Halifax to visit what they believed were
the remains of their famous family member.
At the time, Magda Schleifer knelt before the headstone of her great aunt's
child with several family members and marvelled at the revelation that the
little boy was a part of her lineage.
Parr said the Goodwins were also made aware of the connection, but it wasn't
clear whether they had plans to visit the cemetery which holds some of the
disaster's 1,500 victims.
It's believed that Goodwin, his parents and five siblings boarded the massive
steamliner in Southampton, England, as third-class passengers. The father, an
was headed to New York to work at a power plant.
Parr said he's working on having his research examined in a peer-reviewed study, likely out by the end of the year.
"This has been a very difficult project," he said. "It's almost like a detective
just when you think you have your suspect, they sort of elude your grasp."
Sidney Leslie Goodwin
A great many folks all around the world have thought about you for almost
a century and some worked very hard to find out who you are.
Broken are our hearts to read of the loss of your entire family...
On February 9th, 2008 I received this letter.
Had a good cry of course! I sent her all my photographs.
9 Feb 08
My grandmother's brother and family were the Goodwins who perished
on the Titanic. Sidney Leslie would have been my first cousin once
removed (if I understand how they count relatives).
I was quite interested in your detailed account and photographs of
exhumation process. Some of the photographs did not come through,
apparently the link was broken. It was quite informative.
Our family is planning a memorial service to honor all the young
children who perished this summer. A Panula relative will join us.
Thank you for your loving concern,
Carol Goodwin Goroff
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