Apr 14, 2023

Genealogists Announce Breakthrough in DNA Analysis of Tulsa’s Oaklawn Cemetery Remains

Tulsa City leaders and forensic scientists and genealogists have announced a major breakthrough in the analysis of DNA from human remains found in unmarked graves at Oaklawn Cemetery.

Scientists looking at the DNA from remains found at Oaklawn Cemetery, said on Wednesday they have connected six burials to people living in America today.

They said it is still too soon to know if those burials belong to 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre victims.

Scientists, researchers, and the City of Tulsa said the DNA analysis being done at Intermountain Forensics in Salt Lake City, is starting to provide results.

“We do not believe a match of this type has ever been achieved before in American history,” Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum said during a news conference Wednesday.

“All I can say is – Wow!” Descendent Brenda Nails Alford said.

Of the 22 sets of human remains from Oaklawn Cemetery that are going through DNA analysis, genealogists said so far, they can connect six burials to specific surnames and locations, based on matches made through two public DNA databases.

“We do not know for certain that these relatives are direct descendants, nor do we know if the remains are definitely Race Massacre victims,” Bynum said. “But we do know these remains share DNA with people living in America today.”

Genealogists said when it comes to remains found in what archeologists labeled “Burial 3,” they are interested in talking with people who have the surnames Scott, Huntley, Daniel, Meriwether, Sims, and Bohannon with connections to Coweta County in Georgia.

They are also interested in talking with people who have the surnames Benjamin and Willis, with connections to Austin County, Texas.

The list of names and locations go on for several other burials. Genealogists said now, they need the public’s help to figure out who is buried at Oaklawn.

You can read more in an article by Amy Slanchik published in the web site at