Article by Michael Klein in The Philadelphia Inquirer 3 Dec 2002:

"There's a difference between imitating a good man and counterfeiting him,” Ben Franklin once said. How about being descended from him? L. David Roper, a retired physics professor from Blacksburg, Va., and a genealogy and genetics buff, is searching for males with the surname Franklin. Roper wants to trace Franklin’s blood line and, in the process, answer some family mysteries. Many with the founding father’s name, including Roper’s mother’s clan, believe they are related to the statesman-printer, who died here in 1790. In search of the truth, Roper wants Franklin’s DNA — especially a Y-chromosome, perhaps from a tooth — to compare it to that of modern-day Franklins. Problem is, Poor Richard is buried at Fifth and Arch Streets and it’s not likely that his body will be exhumed for a genealogy project. So Roper is collecting Y-chromosomes from men, mainly along the Eastern seaboard, named Franklin. The idea is to learn whether their DNA has a common thread with verified Franklin descendants. Participants will have to pay for their test, which costs about $149 at labs — or $99 if Roper arranges it. Roper expects to have something definitive by Jan. 17, 2006, the 300th anniversary of Franklin’s birth. He can be reached at 540-951-7047; by e-mail at, or through his Web site at"