New DNA Links Uncover Surnames of Tulsa Massacre Victims, 103 Years Later

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New DNA breakthroughs are linking surnames to the victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre over a century after the mass killings.

In 2023, an excavation at Oaklawn Cemetery uncovered over 50 unmarked graves potentially linked to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

On Thursday (May 30), Intermountain Forensics, the company working with the city of Tulsa to identify remains via DNA, gave an update on their efforts, per Public Radio Tulsa.

“We’ve been able to refine our placement of where the unknown burials could fit into the family trees of their living DNA relatives,” Alison Wilde, director of the company’s genealogy wing, said in a statement.

Forensic experts are using DNA databases to find potential family members of Tulsa Race Massacre victims.

Wilde said families that have been matched to victims have been surprised by the revelation.

“For the most part, they have no memory of a family story about Tulsa,” Wilde said. “We haven’t encountered anybody yet that says ‘Yes, my grandma told me a story about her cousin that was in Tulsa.’ We haven’t heard that from any of the families yet, so they’re left to ponder over the possibilities.”

People have also contacted the company after seeing their family names in local news.

The City of Tulsa and the forensics team encourage those with possible ties to massacre victims to reach out by going to this link.

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