San Francisco Girl – 2-Year Old Edith Howard Cook, Who Died Oct. 13, 1876 – Identified Using DNA

The following excerpt is from an article in the May 12, 2017 edition of the East Bay Times.

A casket containing the body of a girl was found buried beneath a San Francisco home. (Courtesy of Elissa Davey)

SANTA CRUZ – Santa Cruz biomolecular engineering professor Ed Green and a team of science students last month generated DNA results to confirm the identity of Edith Howard Cook, a 2-year-old San Francisco girl who died Oct. 13, 1876. The child’s corpse was excavated accidentally from a San Francisco family’s backyard in May 2016. The site was a cemetery in the 1800s. The finding was a rarity in the city that banned burials and cemeteries in the early 1900s.

Green and his team analyzed a hair sample and tested it against DNA from several candidates who they thought could be Edith’s relatives. Finally, they found a match – 82-year-old Peter Cook of Marin County. Cook is Edith’s grand nephew…

The team received hair samples in October and completed analysis in April, Green said…

The anonymous child was given the name “Miranda Eve” after she was found in an airtight metal casket near San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park during a remodeling project.

Elissa Davey, genealogist and founder of Garden of Innocence, said Green’s team ruled out myriad possibilities after volunteers checked almost 30,000 burial records to find Edith.

Read the full article.

Author: Leland Meitzler

Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (, writes daily at, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

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