An AP story out of Halifax reports that DNA testing has identified the infant known as the Titanic‘s Unknown Child–“Buried in a small plot in a Halifax cemetery, the baby was a poignant symbol of the children who perished on the vessel when it sank in 1912.”  Previously believed, on the basis of dental records to be a 13-month-old Finnish boy, he turned out to be 19-month-old Sidney Leslie Goodwin of England. The boy’s father was an electrician who’d taken a job in New York. The family was sailing third-class.

AOL readers got to post comments about the story, and I read the most recent 50 or so out of some 1,400 before losing interest. The conversation had deteriorated into an exchange of rants about Bush, Iraq, foreigners, immigrants, and whatever disease you think research money should be spent on instead of on 95-year-old mysteries. What puzzled me was the huge hole in the AP story and the fact nobody seemed to notice it. What was the Unknown Child doing in a Nova Scotian grave in the first place, instead of at the bottom of the Atlantic? 

An older story I found online said the body was spotted floating in the water by a Canadian recovery ship, and that, in all, some 300 bodies were recovered. I didn’t know that, and it didn’t occur to the AP to tell me. But maybe only a journalist is bothered by what a news story doesn’t say. Everyone else is so eager to spackle the holes with their assumptions.