Genealogy Blog

27 February 2015

British Library Endangered Archives: New Online Collections

Project EAP164 digitised collections which document pre-industrial society on the Ukrainian Steppe (personal memoirs, diaries and letters as well as official records and photographs), project EAP566 digitised Urdu periodicals from India and Pakistan (these periodicals have enormous significance for the understanding of Urdu culture and history of colonial India), and project EAP684 surveyed the collections of the National Archives of Burundi to provide information on the documents which are in a fragile physical condition.

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WWI Soldier's Heartbreaking Scribbled Farewell Thrown in Matchbox From Moving Train as He Headed To the Western Front - Where He Died Just Two Weeks Later

A First World War soldier who was called to the Western Front at short notice made a desperate bid to say goodbye to his family by scribbling a note in a matchbox and throwing it from a moving train.

Sergeant Major George Cavan hurled the message onto the platform of Carluke train station in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, and shouted to a passenger to give it to his wife, Jean. The serviceman and his unit were suddenly called to fight in the Ludendorff Offensive - Germany's last major effort to win the war - from their base in Glasgow, but didn't have time to tell loved ones.

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African Americans Who Fled the South During Great Migration Led Shorter Lives

Millions of African Americans moved from the South in the early 20th century to seek better job opportunities and higher wages, but a new study on the historic Great Migration shows that with improved economic conditions came a greater risk of mortality.

A paper published in the February issue of American Economic Review found that, on average, African Americans who migrated died 1.5 years sooner than their peers who stayed in the South.

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26 February 2015

Genealogy Software Updates of the Week

Ancestral Author 2.9q (Family Books - Windows - Purchase)

• Added checks for unsupported GEDCOM character sets.
• Increased the maximum number of GEDCOM errors that are tolerated before AA refuses to read the rest of the GEDCOM.
• Fixed several bugs.

Brother's Keeper 7.0.43 (Full Featured - Windows - Purchase)

• There is a new option on the Edit screen to mark a person as 'private'. Pick from the top menu Edit, Mark this pereson as private, then pick one of the four types of privacy.
• There is a new option on the descendant Box chart to exclude data for living people.
• A problem was fixed on the Reasonableness report where it was not finding siblings born less than 6 1/2 months apart.
• If you pick Lists, Sources, Show everyone this is attached to: there is a new button to print all the citations for that one source.
• Fixed a problem on Utilities, Find Duplicates in Database, if moving a spouse from the right to the left.
• On the Book reports, it will not say (2) for a marriage if the first relationship was 'Not Married'.

GEDexplorer for Android 1.16 (Mobile - Purchase)

• Support for place and media records as exported by Family Historian.
• Bug fixes.

Pictures of the Vignacourt British Cemetery, Vignacourt, France, Now Available on Geneanet

When the German advance began in March 1918, Vignacourt was occupied by the 20th and 61st Casualty Clearing Stations. It also became a headquarters of Royal Air Force squadrons. The cemetery was begun in April and closed in August, and the burials reflect the desperate fighting of the Australian forces on the Amiens front. Six burials made in the communal cemetery between October 1915 and March 1918 were brought into the cemetery after the Armistice. (Source: CWGC)

Click here to access this new collection (322 indexed pictures).

National Archive of the Republic of Armeni To Present 'Hundred Names' Project

The national Archive of the Republic of Armenia in association with the Initiatives for Development of Armenia (IDeA) Charitable Foundation will present to the public the project 'Hundred names', which will tell about hundred survivors of the Armenian Genocide, who or whose heirs got international recognition.

The Director of the National Archive Amatuni Virabyan told about it on February 25 during a press conference.

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'Unique' Roman Tombstone Found in Cirencester, England

A "unique" Roman headstone is the first of its kind unearthed in the UK, experts believe. The tombstone was found near skeletal remains thought to belong to the person named on its inscription, making the discovery unique.

Archaeologists behind the dig in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, said they believed it marked the grave of a 27-year-old woman called Bodica. The bodies of three children were also found in the "family burial plot".

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National Archives' New Facility To Help Store Australia's Paper Records in Canberra

Storage facilities for the National Archives of Australia are nearing capacity, but a plan for a new purpose-built facility in Canberra will help ease the load.

The archive currently has about 380 kilometres of shelf space at repositories around the nation, including Mitchell, Greenaway and Parkes in Canberra. Archives director-general David Fricker said there was another 250 kilometres of records destined for permanent care in the years ahead.

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25 February 2015

Revealed: Benedict Cumberbatch Is a Descendant of Slave owners in Barbados

Almost five years ago, a hand-written letter arrived at the stage door of London’s National Theatre, where Benedict Cumberbatch was starring in a revival of Terence Rattigan’s After The Dance.

It came from the actor’s cousin, Helen Ashton, who had discovered ‘something interesting’ about their shared ancestry stretching back to when the family’s fortune was made from sugar and slavery in Barbados.

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24 February 2015

Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University, To Digitize Reveille Archives

In 1934, Huey P. Long ordered LSU President James Monroe Smith to expel seven members of The Reveille. The student journalists dared to publish a letter to the editor criticizing Long and refused to submit to discipline for the act.

The rest of the Reveille Seven story is part of the rich legacy of the publication that can be viewed in Hill Memorial Library. The original anti-Long letter and every other printed Reveille issue from 1897 to 2001 can be found in its archives.

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Library of Birmingham, England, Photo Archive 'Still at Risk'

The Library of Birmingham's renowned photographic archives remain at risk despite a council U-turn on proposed budget cuts, it has been claimed.

The influential Royal Photographic Society says it remains concerned for the future of the nationally recognised archives and four specialist staff. Archivist roles were among 100 jobs at the landmark library placed at risk when a £1.5 million package of cuts to its £10 million-a-year running costs was proposed in December.

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23 February 2015

Cambridgeshire Church Plague Graffiti Reveals 'Heartbreaking' Find

"Heartbreaking" graffiti uncovered in a Cambridgeshire church has revealed how three sisters from one family died in a plague outbreak in 1515.

The names Cateryn, Jane and Amee Maddyngley and the date were inscribed on stonework in Kingston parish church. It was found by Norfolk and Suffolk Medieval Graffiti Survey volunteers. Archaeologist Matt Champion said the project had shown church plague graffiti was "far more common than previously realised".

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WWI Trench System Unearthed in Cork, Ireland

Archaeologists at a military camp in North Cork have discovered one of the largest and best preserved First World War underground bunker and trench systems ever built in Britain and Ireland.

Details of the find by a team from Queen’s University Belfast, revealed exclusively to the Irish Examiner, show the underground bunkers, built around 1915, could have accommodated sleeping quarters for up to 300 troops.

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Denmark's Largest Digital Archive Opens Today

Denmark's largest digital photo album with nearly two million images will open to the general public today at 4pm.

Danes will have access to the online database at, which includes 1,841,254 documents such as photos, diaries, letters, and sound and video recordings. Since the late 1980s, all items from the country's more than 550 archives have been recorded electronically, and today a large portion of them becomes freely available to the public.

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3 Tips for Using Geneanet #1

As much as possible, we will post blog notes to answer your most frequently asked questions about using Geneanet.

Tips of the week are:

- How to change your email address?
- How to unsubscribe from the Geneanet newsletter?
- How to add a family picture to your Geneanet family tree?

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