About Me

Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD, is an internationally recognised forensic genealogist, the founder of Identifinders International.  She has been involved in high profile forensic cases, including the identification of the Unknown Child on the Titanic and the Amelia Earhart project; she is now the Forensic Genealogist on the Abraham Lincoln DNA Project.  Colleen has also been a key member of team that have exposed three international Holocaust literary frauds. Colleen’s collaborations include the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, the US Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Office, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, the University of Arizona, Harvard Medical School and law enforcement agencies nationwide. She is a Fellow of the Society of Photoinstrumentation Engineers (SPIE), an Associate Member of the American Academy of Forensic Science (AAFS).

Working with the Boston University Center for Professional Excellence, Colleen was most recently awarded a grant by the Elie Wiesel Jewish Studies Center to conduct a full day seminar ” Holocaust Survival and Reunion Stories:  Separating fact from Fiction using Genealogical Research Techniques”.

As a world traveler and multi-lingual, Colleen specializes in international cases; she has researched in over 50 countries. Colleen assists nonprofits, military organizations, attorneys, and law enforcement with cold case work, forensic identification, and with locating hard-to-find individuals. She has developed innovative DNA identification techniques that have benefited Child Survivors of the Holocaust and adoptees who otherwise would have given up hope of finding their birth parents.

Colleen lectures widely in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.  She has appeared in hundreds of domestic and international newspapers and magazines, and on international radio and television programs. These include the BBC World News Tonight, RTE Ireland Television’s Nationwide, Radio New Zealand, Japan’s Nippon TV, CNN, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, More Magazine, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, The Boston Globe, The Melbourne Sun, The Denver Post, The Seattle Times, and The Orange County Register.  She is the author of three books:  Forensic Genealogy, DNA & Genealogy, and The Dead Horse Investigation:  Forensic Photo Analysis for Everyone.



2012-Pres   Identification of Missing Identity Children of the Holocaust
Leader of an international group researching the identity of Child Survivors of the Holocaust.  See identifinders.wordpress.com for more information about this extensive effort.

2009-2014  The Mascot, Potential Holocaust Fraud
 Team leader and strategist on potential Holocaust literary fraud The Mascot – Melbourne, Australia.

Sep 2008    Herman Rosenblat Holocaust Fraud Exposure
Strategist and researcher for team that exposed Herman Rosenblat’s soon-to-be-published and Oprah-touted fraudulent best-selling Angel at the Fence Holocaust memoire.

Feb 2008    Misha Defonseca Holocaust Fraud Exposure
Strategist and researcher for team that exposed Misha Defonseca’s fraudulent best-selling Holocaust memoir Surviving with Wolves.


Apr 11–Pr     Abraham Lincoln DNA Project with Dr. Zach Spigelman, Tufts                              University, Boston, MA
Forensic genealogist investigating Abraham Lincoln’s extended family for DNA testing; advisor on DNA analysis and obtaining project funding.

2007-2008   Identification of the Unknown Child on the Titanic, US Armed                                Force DNA Identification Laboratory
Successful worldwide search for a Y-DNA reference to assist identification of Sydney Leslie Goodwin as the Unknown Child on the Titanic.

2008-Pres    Amelia Earhart Identification Project
Location of a family reference for Fred Noonan, Amelia Earhart’s navigator, for future identification of their remains should their crash site be located.


2011-2012     US Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operations Center, Fort                            Knox, KY
Identification of Primary Next-of-Kin, autosomal, DNA, mtDNA and Y-DNA references for soldiers missing in action from past conflicts.

2008 -2009 Hand in the Snow Project, Armed Forces DNA Identification                                    Laboratory, Rockville, MD
Location of the mtDNA reference required to identify the frozen hand and arm found in 1999 in a glacier in Alaska belonging to a victim of the crash of Northwest Airlines Flight 4422, March 1948.


Aug 11-Pr     Independent Consultant to Multiple Law Enforcement Agencies
Developing new Y-DNA and autosomal SNP testing techniques for generating cold case leads. Clients include Social Security Fraud Div, Office of the Chief State’s Attorney for CT, NYPD, LAPD, King Co Seattle Sheriff’s Dept, Phoenix Police Dept., Seminole County Sheriff’s Dept & many others.

Cases include:  Lori Ruff  (Soc Sec Fraud Div), The Grim Sleeper (LAPD), the Original Night Stalker (multiple CA law enforcement agencies), 1991-1992 Canal Murders (Phoenix, AZ), 1991 Sarah Yarborough murder case (King Co Seattle), Pamela Kahanes murder case (Seminole Co, FL) and others.

July 2010    Consultant, Elmer Crawford Murder Case, Melbourne, Victoria                               Police Department
Assisted Melbourne law enforcement with case of fugitive killer Elmer Crawford who murdered his wife and three children in 1970 in Australia.

Feb 2010     Consultant, Grim Sleeper Serial Murder Case, Los Angeles                                         Police Department
Assisted the LAPD with the identification of the Grim Sleeper Serial Killer through         comparing his DNA profile with genetic genealogy database.  Was able to confirm African   American ethnicity along the male line of his family.


2006-Pres   Hebron Investments, Inc, Various Probate Law Offices
>100 heir searches in > 30 countries, 6 continents for probate and tax certificate cases; > 95% success rate.


The DNA Detective by Lynn Rosellini sums up very nicely what I would write here on my own.  See her More Magazine article at http://www.more.com/2009/17738-the-dna-detective.

I am the author of three best-sellers in genealogy:  Forensic Genealogy, DNA & Genealogy, and The Dead Horse Investigation:  Forensic Photo Analysis for Everyone, in addition to numerous articles in all the genealogy magazines, GAMES magazine, and Scientific American.

You can order copies by clicking here.

You also might want to check out the website of our company Idenifinders International, www.identifinders.com, where I have posted descriptions of some of the cool projects I have been very fortunate to have been involved in. Click on Case Histories to read about The Unknown Child on the Titanic, The Hand in the Snow, Benjaman Kyle, Smithers-Gray, and the two Holocaust Literary Frauds I have helped expose.  You’ll enjoy reading about them.  Make sure you click on some of the links in the right margin of each page for further information.

Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD

8 Responses to About Me

  1. Angel Emory says:

    I love this site! It is a fabulous source of information. As a writer, I do phenomenal amounts of research and have to have impeccable sources. Just one issue: there are often incorrect or unconfirmed facts published on the site. I don’t know if this matters to anyone or not, but I would love to be able to use Identifinders as a named or quotable source. The greatest majority of my work is in the True Crime Genre; specifically, I publish detailed accounts of murder, kidnapping, domestic violence & serial killings, the resulting investigations, and their conclusions. Needless to say, it’s not easy to find an intelligent, informative source such as Identifinders. As I said before, I love this site and will keep returning, I would just love even more to use it as a backup to my research and as a quotable/named source. On behalf of victims and their families everywhere, thank you so much for all the work put into this site.

    • Hi Angel,

      I understand your comments about posting unconfirmed facts. I try to be as clear and responsible as possible when I write a post. Sometimes it is difficult to do this, as much of my success is based on intuition, so that it is not easy to explain or to document what led me from point A to point B. If you would like to talk about specific cases, or have some points you would like me to clarify, please write me directly at colleen@identifinders.com


  2. Sharon Posey says:

    I also love this site and will return often.

  3. Pat Schilling says:

    I can across your “search for Benjamin Kyle while searching for a relative’s birth family. What caught my eye was that Benjamin was born about the same time as my relative, which was Aug 26, 1948, at Coleman Hospital. My relative, named Karen, was listed as Baby Girl Schilling (my family name), but went straight to foster care, and adopted at two years old. Beyond the above, she was only told that her mother was 16 at the time. We have both taken the Ancestry.com DNA test, which is how she found me (a 2nd or 3rd cousin match). From my research into my family tree, I have one possible for the birth mother (who is no longer alive), although my tree is not 100% complete. Can you offer any suggestions as to areas I might research to help Karen find her birth mother? Thanks you for a reply.

    • Hi Pat, If you think you have a candidate for Karen’s mother, you might want to upload your raw data to Gedmatch (www.gedmatch.com) to see if you can find matches from other companies. I’d also take Karen’s other matches and see if you can connect any of them to the suspected mother in the right way. I don’t know everything you tried, but it seems you need to dig into your genealogy a little deeper and network your matches some more. I’ve wait to contact the suspected mother’s family (other children, sibs) until you are more certain you have her correctly identified. Colleen

  4. Pingback: The Golden State Killer’s DNA Was in a Publicly Available Database, and Yours Might Be Too – Marketfources

  5. Pingback: The Golden State Killer Suspect’s DNA Was in a Publicly Available Database, and Yours Might Be Too | The Linkielist

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