DNA Proves Once And for All That a Supposed Titanic Survivor Was a Fraud

Loraine Allison, a two-year-old who was on board the Titanic, almost certainly drowned

Photo: National Archives and Records Administration

Genetic testing, it seems, has finally put a long-standing RMS Titanic mystery to rest: What happened to Loraine Allison? 

Loraine was two years old when her she boarded the doomed Titanic in 1912, The Scientist describes. Her parents died that night, and Loraine was also presumed dead. Only her little brother, Trevor, survived. 

In 1940, however, a woman named Helen Kramer announced on the radio that she was in fact the long-lost Loraine. "She said that her father had placed her in a lifeboat just in time, and that she had been raised in England by a “Mr. Hyde,” who Kramer claimed was in fact Thomas Andrews, the Titanic’s designer and builder (also believed to have gone down with the ship)," The Scientist writes. 

Thus began a seven-decade long drama in which Kramer—and, later, her granddaughter Debrina Woods—attempted to convince the still-living members of the Allison family that she was kin. Kramer died in 1992, The Scientist continues, but Woods still hoped to prove the connection through DNA analysis. 

Forensic analysis of mitochondrial DNA (passed down female lines) from Woods' sister and Loraine's mother's sister's grandaughter showed no genetic connection, however, "suggesting that the available historical evidence had been right all along: Loraine Allison had died the night the Titanic sank," The Scientist writes. 

Woods, however, claims that the samples were tampered with, The Scientist adds. She plans to publish a book detailing her claim to the Allison family name. 

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