DNA tests show Anna Catharina Bischoff is UK foreign secretary’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother
Scientists in the Swiss city of Basel have finally identified a mysterious mummified body after more than 40 years – and discovered that the woman was a relative of the UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson.
The corpse has been identified as Anna Catharina Bischoff, who died in 1787. Her body was first uncovered in 1975, while Basel’s Barfüsser church was being renovated. It was well preserved because of a high level of mercury in the remains, often a sign that a person had been treated for syphilis. The site of her burial, in front of the church’s altar, indicated that Bischoff was probably of high status.
An unexpected invite to a 50th birthday party in Ireland led Joanna Moorhead to the discovery of a whole new branch of her family, and the laying to rest of a century-old schism
Almost a century ago, a 20-year-old medical student walked out on his studies and his family, took a ship to Australia, via Canada, and never saw his brother, who was his arch-rival, again. Earlier this summer, in the town where those men were raised, two of their grandchildren gave one another a hug. My second cousin Michael and I had never met before, and we may never meet again: but our embrace felt like the healing of a schism, the nuances of which play out in our family to this day.
Michael’s grandfather was Arthur Moorhead. He was the sixth child of our great-grandparents, an Irish doctor, Henry, and his wife, Mary Monica, who lived in Moate in County Westmeath, Ireland. Their house was opposite the church where Arthur and my grandfather George, seven years his junior, were baptised.