Using Science to Answer Questions from Latter-day Saint History: The Case of Josephine Lyon’s Paternity

Title

Using Science to Answer Questions from Latter-day Saint History: The Case of Josephine Lyon’s Paternity

Publication Type

Journal Article

Year of Publication

2019

Authors

Perego, Ugo A. (Primary)

Pagination

143-150

Volume

58

Issue

4

Terms of use

Items in the BMC Archive are made publicly available for non-commercial, private use. Inclusion within the BMC Archive does not imply endorsement. Items do not represent the official views of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of Book of Mormon Central.

Bibliographic Citation

Perego, Ugo A. "Using Science to Answer Questions from Latter-day Saint History: The Case of Josephine Lyon’s Paternity", Vol. 58. 2019:143-150.

Abstract

Historians have often speculated if Joseph Smith had any children with his plural wives. The strongest case for a child born through one of Joseph Smith’s polygamous unions is that of Josephine Lyon, born on February 8, 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois, to Sylvia Sessions, who was sealed to Joseph Smith. Because of previous limitations in DNA analysis, her paternity could not be verified through science until recently. This report summarizes the steps that were taken to establish the biological paternity of Josephine Lyon through the analysis of autosomal DNA from descendants of both Joseph and Josephine. Based on the data presented in this study, it appears that Joseph Smith was not the father of Josephine Lyon.

DNA
Polygamy

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