Researchers believe that they will able to uncover the fate of the lost colony with the use of DNA. The Lost colony vanished after more than 100 people settled on the Roanoke Island in 1587.
Researchers using different methods like genealogy, deeds and historical narratives have gathered around 168 surnames that could be connected with the settlers. This could give facts of the English trying to colonize the new world.
"The Lost Colony story is the biggest unsolved mystery in the history of America," said Roberta Estes, owner of DNA Explain, a private DNA analysis company based in Brighton, Mich. The company is working with the Lost Colony Center for Science and Research, an independent group based in Washington, N.C., that is trying to figure out what happened to the colony. It was established 20 years before Jamestown, America's first permanent English settlement.
"I don't know what we'll find in the end," Estes told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper. "Part of the big question for me is, did the Lost Colony survive? Who is their family today? And where did they go?"
Fred Willard, director of the Lost Colony center, said some colonists may have migrated inland to what are now East Lake, Chocowinity and Gum Neck.
Researchers plan to use cheek swabs taken from possible ancestors to test the paternal and maternal DNA lines. "In our case, with the Lost Colony, the only way we're going to trace who was who and if they survived is to use DNA," Estes said.
While DNA will not make any immediate connections beyond living relatives, the samples can provide clues to an individual's country of origin and other shared family traits, Estes said. Genealogy will have to fill in the blanks.
Researchers may also try to test American Indian remains or known relatives of the colonists in England.
The 100 people settled on the Island vanished somewhere between august 1587 and 1590.this was discovered when the governor returned to the Island after a trip to England.