Genealogy Blog

14 January 2014

Revealed: Black Watch Hero's Diaries Provide Eyewitness Account of WWI Attacks on Enemy Lines From France To North Africa and Middle East

A black Watch hero’s World War I diaries were opened for the first time yesterday. Lieutenant Colonel John Stewart, of the 9th Battalion, ordered that his personal memoirs only be revealed in 2014.

When experts at the Black Watch regimental museum in Perth unsealed the records, they discovered bundles of letters and diaries from WW1, giving eyewitness accounts of key battles. Museum archivist Richard McKenzie said it was an exciting find.

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Diary of First World War Hero To Be Blogged 100 Years After Each Day's Entry Was Written

Private Arthur Linfoot volunteered for the Royal Army Medical Corps when he was 25 in 1915 and kept a diary of his experiences in the trenches of France. His diary, written in Pitman shorthand, chronicled January 1 1914 to December 31 1918 and have been decoded by his 82-year-old son Denis.

Mr Linfoot, from Canterbury in Kent, learnt the old form of shorthand so he could read his father's diaries and spent months looking at the journals.

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13 January 2014

Saving Relics, Afghans Defy the Taliban

Every piece of antiquity that is restored to the halls of the bombed, pillaged and now rebuilt National Museum of Afghanistan sends a message of defiance and resilience.

These are messages to the Taliban, who in 2001 smashed every museum artifact that they could find that bore a human or animal likeness. But these are messages for others as well: to the warlords who looted the museum, some of whom are still in positions of power in Afghanistan; to corrupt custodians of the past who stood by while some 70,000 objects walked out the door.

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9 January 2014

Franklin County, North Carolina: State-Led Destruction of Town Archives Leaves Historians and Citizens Devastated

Franklin County citizens expressed their frustration and anger during a town hall meeting on Monday over the decision to incinerate newly-discovered town records dating back from the 1840's.

When the documents were discovered in a long-sealed room under the Franklin County Courthouse by a "Clerk of Court" in North Carolina in May, the residents were delighted. Diane Taylor Torrent of the Heritage Society of Franklin County, NC detailed the timeline of events on her must-read Facebook post. She said that "a quick investigation of the records revealed boxes from most every department of the Franklin County government."

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30 December 2013

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.

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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.

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16 December 2013

£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.

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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.

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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."

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11 December 2013

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.

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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.

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2 December 2013

'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.

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20 November 2013

Transcript of Nuremberg Trials Coverage From World War II Donated To US Holocaust Museum

A one-time U.S. Army reporter during World War II donated a never-before-published transcript of radio coverage of the Nuremberg war crimes trials of Nazi leaders to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Tuesday — 68 years to the day after he began reporting on the landmark military tribunal.

Harold Burson covered the trials in 1945 and 1946 for the American Forces Network on the radio. He wrote extensive scripts for on-air announcers who were broadcasting to U.S. soldiers in Europe and to the English-speaking population in Germany during the first Nuremberg trial.

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Biola University, California, USA: Library Archives Mold Free And Open To Students

The library archives are open for use after being closed for nearly two months due to the presence of non-toxic mold. The archives were made available on Nov. 14, said Sue Whitehead, interim co-director of the library.

The situation was initially investigated by Healthy Buildings, whose experts tested the mold and determined that it was not toxic. Healthy Buildings also installed data loggers in the archive room to get hourly readings on the temperature and moisture in the room, said Beverly Cain, assistant director of facilities management.

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14 November 2013

Rare Depiction of Jacobite Heroine Flora MacDonald For Sale at Bonhams Edinburgh

A portrait of Flora MacDonald, a heroine of the Jacobite risings, who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape after the Battle of Culloden is to be sold at Bonhams Scottish pictures sale in Edinburgh on Thursday 5 December.

It is estimated at £7,000-10,000. Following his defeat at Culloden on 16 April 1746, Charles Edward Stuart - Bonnie Prince Charlie - fled the field and went into hiding. Pursued by the army of George II, whose claim to the British throne he had challenged, the Prince took refuge on the Hebridean island of Benbecula, which was under the control of the government.

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