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Genealogy Blog

3 March 2015

200 Bodies Found in Mass Grave Beneath Paris Supermarket in France

More than 200 bodies have been found laid out in neat rows in a communal grave beneath a supermarket in central Paris.

The site was formerly the cemetery of a hospital that functioned from the 12th to the 17th century but it was believed the corpses had been moved in the 18th century to the Paris Catacombs which house the bones of six million people transferred from the city's cemeteries 200 years ago.

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2 March 2015

Coffin-Within-a-Coffin Opened at Richard III Grave

A mysterious lead coffin found close to King Richard III’s grave beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, contained the skeleton of an elderly woman, archaeologists at Leicester University announced.

Featuring an inlaid crucifix, carefully soldered on all sides but with feet sticking out of the bottom, the lead coffin was discovered inside a larger limestone sarcophagus in August 2013 . The discovery came one year after the battle-scarred remains of the last Plantagenet king of England — the family ruled vast areas of Europe — were unearthed.

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26 February 2015

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).

'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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18 February 2015

Thousands of African-American Graves Found Beneath Philadelphia Playground

Days after archaeologists on Maryland’s eastern shore uncovered what they believe to be the oldest settlement of African-Americans in the United States, another team in Philadelphia unearthed what may be the resting place of nearly 3,000 others under a playground in the city’s Weccecoe Park.

Underneath the swing sets of an urban playground in the Queen Village neighborhood of South Philadelphia are the forgotten remains of an estimated 3,000 African-Americans.

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16 February 2015

Experts Explore Identities of 5,000 Buried in Bedlam Psychiatric Hospital Graveyard in London, England

Officials building a huge cross-London underground railway are starting to publish the identity of some of the thousands of people buried 400 to 500 years ago in Bedlam cemetery.

After researching parish records, the Crossrail project has released a fascinating database online giving names, occupations and causes of death. The graveyard, which dates back to 1569, was found in 2013 during excavations to construct the 13-mile high-speed Crossrail tunnel under Central London.

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11 February 2015

Winchester Cathedral's 'Royal Bones' Chests Analysed

Six chests thought to contain the remains of some of the early Royal Families of Wessex and England are being recorded and analysed.

The project is part of an initial assessment of Winchester Cathedral's Renaissance mortuary chests. The remains of three bishops and other artefacts are also believed to be contained inside. Some of the remains have already been radiocarbon-dated to the late Anglo-Saxon and early Norman periods.

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10 February 2015

Pictures of the Pont du Cens Cemetery, Nantes, France, Now Available on Geneanet

The Pont du Cens communal cemetery was started in 1939 to supplement the ten other burial grounds within the boundaries of the commune.

There are now over 100, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site. Some were moved into the cemetery from isolated graves at Vivonne, Les Rochelles and near Vertou, and others from Tours (La Salle) Communal Cemetery, St. Brevin-les Pins Communal Cemetery, St. Pere-en-Retz Communal Cemetery, Bougenais Communal Cemetery. (Source: CWGC)

Click here to access this new collection (103 indexed pictures).

6 February 2015

Replica of Lincoln Coffin on Display at Arlington Cemetery

In observance of Presidents Day, a replica of Abraham Lincoln’s coffin will be on display in the Williamsburg Chapel of Arlington Cemetery and Toppitzer Funeral Home, 2900 State Road in the Drexel Hill section of Upper Darby.

The Lincoln coffin at Arlington is one of five replicas constructed 10 years ago by craftsmen at Batesville Casket Co. in Indiana, said Buss. Four are lent to funeral homes nationwide for display and one is part of the permanent collection of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill.

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Old Cemetery Found in central Copenhagen, Denmark

Archaeologists from the Museum of Copenhagen are digging under the cobblestones and unearthing skeleton upon skeleton in what was once an old cemetery, reports Berlingske.

So far, more than 100 skeletons have been found, and according to Jacob Mosekilde, one of the archaeologists, they are from before the 1800’s, though they haven’t been precisely dated yet. “The most interesting thing about them is the fact that they do not have holes in their teeth,” Mosekilde tells Berlingske. “And that means that they are from a period where we had not traded sugar from the colonies.”

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28 January 2015

Solo Tourists Banned in New Orleans' Oldest Cemetery

A historic New Orleans cemetery that may have started New Orleans' tradition of above-ground crypts will soon be off-limits to tourists on their own because of repeated vandalism among the tombs, the Roman Catholic archdiocese that owns the property has announced.

Starting in March, entry to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and its labyrinth of mausoleums will be restricted to the relatives of the dead buried there and to tourists whose guide is registered with the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

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5 January 2015

The Stories Behind the Forgotten Cemetery in Northeast El Paso, Texas

Deep in the heart of Northeast El Paso sits a mostly forgotten cemetery--the final resting place for thousands of people, many unclaimed and unidentified.

One of the oldest cemeteries in El Paso County, the McGill Pauper Cemetery dates back to the 1930s and is home to heroes and outlaws, as well as the poor and homeless who had no families or whose families could not afford a funeral for them.

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12 December 2014

Railwaymen Gravestone Project Wins National Recognition in Bromsgrove, England

The work restoring two world-famous gravestones in memory of two railwaymen has been commended at a national awards ceremony.

All those involved with the works on the memorials, which have stood for more than 170 years in St John’s Church Graveyard, in Bromsgrove, were thrilled to walk away with The Supporters Award.

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5 December 2014

Skeletons Found In Ancient Cemetery Still Have Shackles On Their Necks

Archaeologists working in southwest France have discovered hundreds of Gallo-Roman graves dating to the second half of the 2nd century AD, with some of the skeletons featuring shackles still strapped around their necks and ankles.

The site, which may have been part of an important Gallo-Roman necropolis, is situated near the amphitheatre of Saintes. The Romans dominated the area during the first and second centuries AD.

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Poland Unearths One of WWII's Darkest Secrets

Anastasia carefully digs through the earth with her trowel. Bit by bit, a human skeleton emerges, piled on top of more bones. She removes them with care, slipping them gently into a plastic container.

Was it an Italian soldier? Or a Soviet? Identifying the bodies, while possible, is tricky. What is known is the man died in one of numerous stalags (German prisoner-of-war camps) where Red Army and Allied troops -- including Italians after Italy switched sides from the fascist camp -- were interned.

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