Genealogy Blog

31 December 2013

100-Year-Old Negatives Found in Antarctica

Antarctic Heritage Trust conservators recently made a stunning discovery: a box of 22 exposed but unprocessed negatives, frozen in a block of ice for nearly one hundred years.

The negatives were recovered from a corner of a supply hut that British explorer Robert Falcon Scott established to support his doomed expedition to the South Pole from 1910-1913. Scott and his men reached the South Pole but died on the trip home.

Source & Full Story

British Archives Show Cost of Revolutionary War in Georgia

A trio of researchers took a fall trip to England and Scotland and spent three weeks digging through government archives for any documents that might shed new light on Georgia’s role in the Revolutionary War. They came back with digital images of roughly 2,000 records from 1771 to 1783.

“There’s an awful lot of stuff, paperwork dealing with the business of war, the logistics of funding the war, correspondence between the big wigs,” said archaeologist Dan Elliott, president of the Georgia-based LAMAR Institute, a nonprofit focused on archaeological and historical research in the Southeast.

Source & Full Story

30 December 2013

Cemeteries With Graves of Indian Soldiers of World War I Receive £5 Million Grant

Cemeteries where brave Indian soldiers who died fighting for Britain in World War I have been buried, have now received a £5 million grant that will help conserve, repair and protect these burial sites.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the funding on Thursday while visiting Flanders as part of UK's massive plans to mark the centenary of the First World War in 2014. Soldiers from India who gave their lives for Britain will be honoured and remembered during UK's four-year-long roster to commemorate the centenary of the great battle.

Source & Full Story

The Amazing Quest To Preserve And Restore 52,000 Holocaust Testimonials

From 1994 to 1999, some 52,000 testimonies from Holocaust survivors and eye-witnesses were recorded on Betacam SP tapes by USC’s Shoah Foundation’s Institute for Visual History and Education.

Last year, a massive preservation project was completed that digitised all the inventory — but about five per cent of the tapes were discovered to be almost completely unwatchable.

Source & Full Story

Ex-Stasi Staff Still Work at Archives of East Germany's Former Secret Police

It was set up as a unique historical experiment: an agency that would open up the secret service's files to those it had spied upon. But now the commissioner in charge of the East Germany's secret police archive has admitted that his agency still counts 37 former Stasi employees among its staff.

The Federal Commission for the Stasi Archives was established by the German government in 1991 and tasked with protecting the Stasi archives from former agents eager to destroy records of their deeds.

Source & Full Story

Protect the Iraqi Jewish Archive, or it Will Face a Terrible Fate

The 2,000-year-old Jobar Synagogue in Damascus is said to be the site where the prophet Elijah concealed himself from persecution and anointed his successor, Elisha. It was a UNESCO World Heritage Site until last March when someone appeared to have blown it up.

The Syrian government and the rebels blamed one another and most of the world — including UNESCO — yawned.

Source & Full Story

Are You Related to Del Shannon?

Del Shannon was born Charles Weedon Westover on December 30, 1934, in Grand Rapids, Michigan and grew up in nearby Coopersville. He learned ukulele and guitar and listened to country and western music, including Hank Williams, Hank Snow, and Lefty Frizzell.

He was drafted into the Army in 1954, and while in Germany played guitar in a band called The Cool Flames. When his service ended, he returned to Battle Creek, Michigan, and worked as a carpet salesman and as a truck driver in a furniture factory.

Del Shannon's Family Tree

Upload and Share Indexes on GeneaNet

Sharing information is second nature to most genealogists and GeneaNet lets you easily upload and share your indexex of birth, baptism, marriage, death, burial, census, etc. to help other genealogists with their research.

Indexes are your property and you can remove them at any time.

You can also search and browse indexes uploaded by other GeneaNet members.

Continue reading...

23 December 2013

Search and Browse the GeneaNet Archival Registers

On GeneaNet, you can search and browse archival registers which have been uploaded and shared by members.

You can also index some archival registers to helping other members with their genealogy research and of course, you can upload and share your own archival registers.

Continue reading...

20 December 2013

No Online Access for British Internet Archive

An official archive of all the websites in the UK has finally gone live, following almost a decade of negotiations between publishers and the British Library, but it can only be accessed in person, from a terminal in one of the UK's six major academic libraries.

Earlier this year, The British Library announced that it would begin "harvesting" the entire UK web domain to document current events and record the country's burgeoning collection of online cultural and intellectual works.

Source & Full Story

South Korea To Repatriate China's Korean War Soldiers

South Korea will repatriate the remains of 425 Chinese soldiers killed in the Korean War 60 years ago. The authorities will dig up the remains, clean them and put them into coffins before sending them back to China in a process that will take several months.

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops are thought to have died in the war. They fought for North Korea against UN forces, including soldiers from the United States and South Korea.

Source & Full Story

18 December 2013

Genealogy Software Updates of the Week

iScrapbook 4.0.8 (Family Pictures - Mac - Purchase)

• Added support for new XML Sharing Option in Aperture 3.5 and later.
• Added ability to crop an image with multiple lines of text (previously limited to top line).
• Added new appearance options for image placeholders.
• Improved the way shapes are selected by detecting clicks near the actual path of the shape (if not filled) instead of the interior of the shape.
• Improved the grid feature: the grid settings can now be saved on a document-by-document basis and the grid can optionally be printed.
• When multiple objects are resized, the font size and kerning of text boxes are scaled proportionally.
• The handles for the selected graphic now ALWAYS appear, even if Trim to Page is enabled and the handles are outside of the page bounds.
• Bug fixes.

RootsMapper 1.2.0 (Mapmaking - Windows, Mac, Linux, Mobile - Freeware)

• Quickview: When you hover over a pin you will see a tooltip appear giving you a preview of that person and their lifespan so that you don't have to click on a pin just to find out their name. For more details you can still click on the pin.
• Traceback: By default, when you click on a pin, the lines and pins that trace that person back to the root person will be highlighted in black and yellow so that you can see how the root person relates to the selected person. This function can be disabled in the new Options menu.
• Isolate: This button will temporarily hide all pins and lines except for the highlighted Traceback so that you can more easily examine it.
• Country Statistics: Also available in the new Options menu, the Country Stats button will show you a count of the number of pins in each country. The numbers are updated any time a new pin is plotted, whether by a run or by expanding a line.
• Pedigree List: The Pedigree List button in the Options menu displays an expandable pedigree of the people who have been plotted. Presently it is for informational purposes only and does not allow interaction with the pins.
• Lines: The lines that connect the pins on the map can be hidden using the Lines button in the options menu.
• Bug fixes.

15 of the Weirdest Images in the British Library’s New Digital Trove

Digging through the archives of old libraries is a blast. Depending on the library, you'll find everything from dated architectural drawings to snippets of old children's books. You can just imagine the treasures to be found in the British Library's ancient archive. And, now, you don't even have to get your fingers dusty!

The British Library just uploaded over a million images from the 17th to the 19th centuries to Flickr Commons.

Source & Full Story

Australian Govt Gears Up For 2016 Digital Census

The Australian government is looking to make the 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Census digital, and has gone to tender for IT systems required for the digital move.

The ABS says it will pay special attention to a company's ability to handle the high risk involved in capturing the personal information of 6.5 million homes in such a small timeframe.

Source & Full Story

Are You Related to Katie Holmes?

Holmes was born on December 18, 1978 in Toledo, Ohio. She is the youngest of five children born to Kathleen (née Stothers), a homemaker and philanthropist, and Martin Joseph Holmes, Sr., an attorney.

She has three sisters and one brother: Tamera, Holly Ann, Martin Joseph, Jr., and Nancy Kay. Holmes was baptized a Roman Catholic and attended Christ the King Church in Toledo. She graduated from the all-female Notre Dame Academy in Toledo (also her mother's alma mater), where she was a 4.0 student.

Katie Holmes' Family Tree

17 December 2013

North Korea News Site Purges 95% of Digital Archive

The North Korean state-run news organization has deleted 95% of its digital archive, including all but seven of its articles that predate Oct. 1. The purge comes just days after KCNA announced the execution of Jang Song Thaek, Kim Jong Un's uncle, believed to be the second-most powerful man in the country.

More than 35,000 articles from September and earlier have suddenly gone missing, according to NK News, a privately-owned site based in Washington, D.C.

Source & Full Story

16 December 2013

The British Library Have Released Over a Million Images Onto Flickr Commons

The British Library have released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. These images were taken from the pages of 17th, 18th and 19th century books digitised by Microsoft who then generously gifted the scanned images to us, allowing us to release them back into the Public Domain.

There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more.

Source & Full Story

US Film Historians Find Treasure in Czech Archive

American film historians recently came across a fascinating discovery when they found the Czech National Film Archive has the only surviving print of the 1929 US movie, the Mysterious Island.

The archive in Prague stores around 500 films from Hollywood’s early days, proof that the global dominance of American cinema goes all the way back to the birth of the film industry. The epic American movie The Mysterious Island, loosely based on the French writer Jules Verne’s adventurous novel, was released in 1929. The Technicolor film starred, among others, the Oscar-winning actor Lionel Barrymore.

Source & Full Story

£100,000 Funds for Northern Ireland World War I Projects

Grants totalling £100,000 are being awarded to projects to help Northern Ireland communities explore their links to the First World War. The money from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will support five new heritage projects.

The projects aim to help communities better understand the First World War period and other events that impacted on both local life and the world stage. Among them are projects in Newry and Mourne, Ballymoney and Tandragee.

Source & Full Story

Invite your Family and Friends To View their Ancestry on your GeneaNet Family Tree

You can give family and friends Access Rights to your GeneaNet family tree so they can view their ancestry.

When they will go to your family tree on their personal computer, their tablet or their mobile phone, they will be automatically redirected to their own page in your family tree.

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13 December 2013

Illinois' Capital Newspaper Archives Back To 1830s Going Online

News from Illinois' capital — before it was even the capital — will be searchable online. Springfield's public library, Lincoln Library, announced Wednesday the acquisition of a $250,000 historical digital newspaper archive.

It will allow access to the city's newspaper — the State Journal-Register — and its predecessors, from 1831 to 1950. The library already has State Journal-Register archives from 1985 forward. News from 1831 to 1922 has been digitized and the last three decades will become available during 2014.

Source & Full Story

Are You Related to Taylor Swift?

Taylor Alison Swift was born on December 13, 1989 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Her father, Scott Swift, is a Merrill Lynch financial adviser. Scott was raised in Pennsylvania and is the descendant of three generations of bank presidents. Her mother, Andrea (née Finlay), is a homemaker who previously worked as a mutual fund marketing executive. Andrea spent the first ten years of her life in Singapore, before settling in Texas.

She attended preschool and kindergarten at the Alvernia Montessori School, run by Franciscan nuns, and was later educated at the Wyndcroft School, a co-ed private school.

Taylor Swift's Family Tree

12 December 2013

Historical Texts in Turkey's National Library Sold For Paper Value

More than 140 tons of historical texts were sold to second-hand booksellers for their paper value by Turkey’s National Library. The historical pieces were bought by booksellers and collectors, who then allegedly sold the texts to auctioneers at high prices.

Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik said they would clamp down on the corruption in the National Library on Dec. 7 via his Twitter account.

Source & Full Story

Haiti Quake Destroyed or Damaged 60 Years of Archives

The huge, deadly earthquake that pulverized Haiti in 2010 also caused destruction or heavy damage to 60 years of public records, the country's director of National Archives said Wednesday.

The nation lacked an inventory, so what exactly was lost is in doubt, but "I can say that there were enormous losses," said Jean-Wilfrid Bertrand at an international gathering of Francophone archives experts being held in Haiti. "More than 60 years of archives are badly stored, damaged or lost," Bertrand said. "After the earthquake, the situation got worse."

Source & Full Story

Napoleon Receives Letter From French Census Bureau

He has been dead for nearly two centuries but such is the enduring pull exerted by Napoleon Bonaparte on the French that this week he received a letter from the country's statistics agency.

The letter, addressed in typed letters to Bonaparte, Napoleon, was despatched to 3 Rue Saint Charles in Ajaccio – just next door to the former emperor's birthplace, which is now a museum dedicated to his memory. The person who received the letter, the current resident of 3 Rue Saint Charles, clearly had a sense of humour – he or she marked it 'return to sender', scrawling a note beneath the address: "Died in 1821 – please forward with a prayer to Saint Peter."

Source & Full Story

National Geographic Shares Rich Map Content With The World Via Google Maps Engine

Google and National Geographic are teaming up to share over 500 of the maps created by National Geographic Magazine. Using Google Maps, people will be able to browse freely though these maps.

Frank Biasi, Director of Digital Development at National Geographic Maps: "People have collected our magazine fold-out maps for over a hundred years, and many of those maps are sequestered away in attics and garages. The public data program gives us the opportunity to release our amazing map collection to the wider world."

Source & Full Story

11 December 2013

Genealogy Software Updates of the Week

Brother's Keeper 6.6.12 (Full Featured - Windows - Purchase)

• This version will show any changes made by the translators using the new translation program dated December 2013.

LTools 1.3.39 (Other Tools - Windows - Freeware)

• Make 'Find Unattached Multimedia' compatible with Legacy V8.
• Use HTML entities to add unicode characters in 'Tidy Legacy HTML'.

US Archives To Showcase Magna Carta in New Gallery

The only original copy of the Magna Carta in the United States is the centerpiece of a new museum gallery at the National Archives, tracing the evolution of rights and freedoms through present day.

On Wednesday, the archives will open its new "Records of Rights" permanent exhibit in an expanded museum space on the National Mall. Philanthropist David Rubenstein donated $13.5 million to fund the project, along with funds from Congress. Rubenstein also is loaning the 1297 copy of Magna Carta to the archives.

Source & Full Story

9 December 2013

Old Photographs of Belfast - From The Belfast Telegraph Archives

Belfast’s history as a modern town begins on 27 April 1613. A royal charter, issued in the name of James I, transformed what had been a collection of dwellings by a river crossing into a legal entity governed by a corporation of 13 men, headed by a sovereign, writes Sean Connolly.

The new charter, in fact, was one of forty issued at around this time, partly to promote the economic development of Ireland by extending its urban network and partly to ensure a safe government majority in the forthcoming parliamentary session.

Source & Full Story

Have We Found the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island?

It's a mystery that has intrigued Americans for centuries: What happened to the lost colonists of North Carolina's Roanoke Island? The settlers, who arrived in 1587, disappeared in 1590, leaving behind only two clues: the words "Croatoan" carved into a fort's gatepost and "Cro" etched into a tree.

Theories about the disappearance have ranged from an annihilating disease to a violent rampage by local Native American tribes. Previous digs have turned up some information and artifacts from the original colonists but very little about what happened to them.

Source & Full Story

Build Your GeneaNet Family Tree Template

GeneaNet offers to build your family tree template.

The template is divided into different sections as follows: Individual, Parents, Spouses and Children, Siblings, Family Link, Extended Family, Notes, Sources, and Family Tree Preview.

You can specify the information you want to be displayed in each section (Basic, Extended, Full, With Pictures) and you can choose a family tree preview theme (3-Generation Family Tree Chart, 3-Generation Family Tree Chart + Family pictures, 4-Generation Family Tree Chart (Vertical), 3-Generation Family Tree Chart (Horizontal)).

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8 December 2013

Are You Related to Jim Morrison?

James Douglas Morrison was born on December 8, 1943, in Melbourne, Florida, the son of Clara Virginia (née Clarke) and future Rear Admiral George Stephen Morrison.

Morrison had a sister, Anne Robin, who was born in 1947 in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and a brother, Andrew Lee Morrison, who was born in 1948 in Los Altos, California. His ancestry included English, Scottish, and Irish.

Jim Morrison's Family Tree

6 December 2013

Genealogy Software Updates of the Week

Billion Graves 3.4.1 (Applications pour mobiles - Mobile - Freeware)

• Fixed a crash that happens only on pre-iO7 devices when opening the Camera View.

Family Get-To-Gether (Applications pour mobiles - Mobile - Purchase)

• Minor quality enhancements.

GedTreeFree 0.9.14 (Applications pour mobiles - Mobile - Freeware)

• Screen rotation now properly supported.
• App state properly saved during pause/resume.
• Marriages are now shown in the long-click popup.
• The number of generations shown is now configurable.
• Different codecs supported (utf-8, ascii, latin_1, ansel).

RootsMagic (Full Featured - Windows - Purchase)

• New: Added the ability to print sources (endnotes only) for pedigree charts.
• New: Added support for sharing notes between RootsMagic and FamilySearch Family Tree.
• New: Added support for direct import of Legacy 8 files.
• Fixed: Page number in index for group sheets would sometimes be blank.
• Fixed: Several cosmetic issues with FamilySearch Person Tools screens.
• Fixed: Some issues with RM published website indexes when viewed with Safari.

Rare Biblical Texts From Bodleian and Vatican Libraries Digitized

A Gutenberg Bible, a dazzlingly illuminated 15th-century Hebrew Bible from Spain and a copy of Maimonides’s 12th-century commentary on the Mishnah written in the philosopher’s own hand are among the rare bibles and biblical commentaries from the Vatican Library and the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford that have been digitized and posted online, as part of a collaboration between the institutions that went live on Tuesday.

Those items will eventually be joined by more than 1.5 million other pages of Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, 15th-century incunabula and early printed books, religious and secular, that will be made freely available in zoomable images over the next three years.

Source & Full Story

5 December 2013

The Revolver JRR Tolkien Carried With Him In The Trenches of WWI Is Going On Display For The First Time

During the dark days of the First World War, 2nd Lieutenant JRR Tolkien kept his revolver close to him at all times as he fought to survive the front-line trenches.

Now the precious gun is going on display for the first time, helping Lord of the Rings fans connect with the history that helped shape the author's writing. The Webley MK VI was given to Tolkien who joined the 11th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers in June 1916.

Source & Full Story

4 December 2013

The Vatican and Oxford University Team Up To Digitize 1.5 Million Pages of Medieval Manuscripts

The University of Oxford and the Vatican have jointly created a digital project that will put online over 1.5 million pages of medieval and biblical texts.

The four-year project will digitize the collections of the Bodleian Libraries and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (BAV) related to their Hebrew manuscripts, Greek manuscripts and fifteenth-century printed books. They include a Gutenberg Bible from 1455, an autographed and annotated manuscript of Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, and the oldest surviving Hebrew codex.

Source & Full Story

World War II Female Secret Agents 'Very Afraid'

The Prince of Wales has unveiled a memorial to the women who were secret agents during World War II. More than 80 British women are believed to have infiltrated enemy lines during the war, with four being awarded the George Cross for their bravery.

Noreen Riols, who was in the Special Operations Executive (SOE), described the women as "very brave, very courageous, and very afraid", and said they mostly acted as couriers behind enemy lines.

Source & Full Story

Norway Decided to Digitize All the Norwegian Books

The National Library of Norway is planning to digitize all the books by the mid 2020s. Yes. All. The. Books. In Norwegian, at least. Hundreds of thousands of them. Every book in the library's holdings.

By law, "all published content, in all media, [must] be deposited with the National Library of Norway," so when the library is finished scanning, the entire record of a people's language and literature will be machine-readable and sitting in whatever we call the cloud in 15 years.

Source & Full Story

Badge of Honour: Rusting Royal Irish Rifles Cap Pin Found Next To Body Dug Up On Somme Poignant Symbol of Ulster's Sacrifice

It's an old and battered badge – but serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifice of thousands in the Battle of the Somme. This Royal Irish Rifles pin was discovered alongside human remains under mud and soil in the once bloody fields of France where soldiers from Ulster fought and died.

The simple military symbol was found with the remains a week ago, raising the possibility they belong to a Royal Irish Rifles soldier killed during World War One.

Source & Full Story

3 December 2013

Texas Archaeologist May Have Discovered Earliest Spanish Mission, Alamo’s Original Location

Texas archaeologists are excited about the possibility they have located the oldest Spanish mission in San Antonio and the precursor to the famous Alamo.

Remnants, that include broken pottery and rosary beads, have been located on a 3-acre parcel of land by city archaeologists and by the University of Texas’ Center for Archaeological Research. The items are thought to belong to the 1718 Mission San Antonio de Valero.

Source & Full Story

National Archives of the U.S. Awards $2.3 Million in Grants for Historical Records Projects

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero has awarded 44 grants totaling $2,283,079 in Federal funds for archives and publishing projects in 32 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. The National Archives grants program is carried out through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Publishing Grants totaling $1.1 million went to nine publishing projects from the U.S. Colonial and Early National Period, including the papers of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Dolley Madison, and John Jay.

Source & Full Story

Somalia: Radio Mogadishu Archives To Get Digitalized

After more than 60 years of analogue storage in an inadequate environment, the Radio Mogadishu audio archive is being digitized in order to save it from deterioration and introduce the unique Somali historical recordings to new audience.

Colonel Abshir Hashi Ali has a long day ahead, he moves as fast as his old legs can carry him, as he carries the weight of Somalia’s history on his shoulders. Tucked in a little corner behind the Somali Ministry of information, lies Somalia’s hidden treasure, the archives of Radio Mogadishu and what’s left of the country’s oral history.

Source & Full Story

2 December 2013

GeneaNet App for iOS and Android 2.1 Update Release

GeneaNet has updated their mobile genealogy app for iOS and Android.

This new version allows users to browse all the GeneaNet family trees for which they have 'Admin' or 'Guest' Access Rights.

Invite your family and friends to browse your family tree wherever they go!

Continue reading...

Awe-Inspiring Spirit of WWI Hero Who Lost Two Brothers In Action And A Sister In A Zeppelin Raid But Survived Being Left For Dead In A Heap of Bodies At Passchendale

A soldier who survived the Somme and fought at Ypres was left for dead after being shot in the stomach at Passchendale, his son has revealed.

The body of Robert Collie was then thrown onto a heap of corpses while he was still alive and he was only saved after a passing India medic saw him twitching. He survived his wounds and returned to the fighting, serving in India after World War I finished and rising through the ranks from Private to Major.

Source & Full Story

The Lives of British Scientists Recorded In Full For The First Time In A New British Library Oral History Archive

A major oral history project to gather the life stories of British scientists has culminated today in the launch of a new online archive by the British Library.

Voices of Science is drawn from a National Life Stories programme ‘An Oral History of British Science’, and features interviews with 100 leading UK scientists and engineers, telling the stories of some of the most remarkable scientific and engineering discoveries of the past century as well as the personal stories of each individual.

Source & Full Story

Australian World War I Photographs Surface After Being Lost For 100 Years

Huddled together holding a sign asking for their "Mumie", this photograph is just one of several newly acquired portraits of Australian soldiers that shed light on what life was like during World War One.

The negatives were discovered in the attic of photographer Louis Thuillier's barn almost a century after they were taken. NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said of the 800 negatives discovered, 74 hand-printed photographic portraits had been donated to the Australian War Memorial and exhibited to the public next year.

Source & Full Story

'Sacred World War I Soil' From Flanders Field Brought To London For a New Memorial Garden To Mark 100th Anniversary of Horrific Conflict

Soil from the First World War battlefields of Flanders was today blessed and added to a memorial garden which will mark next year's 100th anniversary of the start of the conflict.

Seventy bags arrived in London yesterday and were taken by gun carriage from HMS Belfast to Wellington Barracks, where the Flanders Field Memorial Garden is being created. On the way the carriage passed national landmarks such as St Paul's Cathedral and Buckingham Palace.

Source & Full Story