Genealogy Blog

29 September 2011

Mauritania Insists on Census Despite Death

The government has vowed to pursue the census despite the violence. "The government will ... take the necessary time to allow all Mauritanians to register and get secure documents," Interior Minister Mohamed Ould Boilil said in a radio and television address.

Critics claim the census discriminates against black people, but Ould Boilil insisted it was aimed at giving Mauritania "a modern and trustworthy biometric register." The demonstrator was shot and killed when police tried to disperse people protesting the census in Maghama.

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27 September 2011

First Certificate of Irish Heritage Goes to Fallen FDNY Hero

On a visit to New York last week to speak at the 66th United Nations General Assembly, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., used the opportunity to present the first Certificate of Irish Heritage to the family of Joseph (Joe) Hunter, a New York fireman who lost his life in the 9/11 attacks.

The Certificate of Irish Heritage aims to recognise those of Irish lineage in an official way, giving greater expression to the sense of Irish identity felt by many around the world who might not otherwise be able to do so.

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1 September 2011

World's Oldest Person Discovered in Amazon Rainforest

Maria Lucimar Pereira is arguably the world's oldest living person: a member of the Kaxinawá tribe, Pereira lives in the Brazilian Amazon and will be soon celebrating her 121st birthday, according to Survival International.

Pereira has had an official birth certificate approved in 1985 that states her year of birth as 1890, meaning she would have been 24 when World War I broke out, 49 when World War II commenced, and 79 when the first man set foot on the moon.

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30 August 2011

Sofia Coppola Marries in her Ancestor's Birthplace

Filmmaker Sofia Coppola has married in the southern Italian town where her great-grandfather was born. She married Thomas Mars, lead singer of the French rock band Phoenix and the father of their two young daughters.

The ceremony took place in the garden of a palazzo which her father, Francis Ford Coppola, has renovated in the centre of Bernalda. The town, near the UNESCO-recognised troglodyte settlement of Matera to the north, was home to Francis Ford's grandfather, Agostino, before he emigrated to the United States.

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29 August 2011

Montreal Family Still Fighting for Birth Certificate

A Montreal family is in bureaucratic limbo waiting for a birth certificate for their baby after using an unregistered midwife. Sunshine Rose, now five months old, is not legally registered in the province because the midwife who attended to her home birth couldn’t provide legal attestation.

Her mother, Heather Mattingsley, tried for several months to get a registered midwife to deliver her child. But, after languishing on a waiting list at two birthing centres, she connected with an underground midwife who had the credentials, but not the civil authority, to supervise the birth.

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15 August 2011

Two Sisters in Kentucky Fight for Social Security Numbers

For more than two decades, a pair of sisters in rural Kentucky have lived without Social Security numbers. Now Raechel and Stephanie Schultz want steady, legitimate work, yet the federal government has refused to issue numbers to the women, saying they need more proof the pair were born in the U.S.

Raechel was born at a home in Madison County, Ky., near where the family lives now; Stephanie was delivered in the back of a Dodge van in southern Alabama. The births were recorded in a family Bible but were otherwise undocumented.

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14 August 2011

History Comes Alive, Thanks to Award-Winning Librarian

Tim Blevins, mild-mannered and bespectacled, spends much of his time looking for lost people, ferreting out obscure clues about them and sometimes finding them across oceans or hundreds of years back in time.

Blevins is manager of special collections for the Pikes Peak Library District, and most days you can find him poring over obscure documents, gumshoeing on the computer and examining brittle, yellowed history books in a climate-controlled vault in the Car-negie wing of Penrose library.

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13 August 2011

The Stasi Fashion Show:: East German Spy Archive Showcases the Art of Disguise

Spies from former communist East Germany demonstrate the art of disguise by donning fur wigs, fake mustaches and dark glasses in a Berlin exhibition of recently uncovered and once highly classified photographs.

German artist Simon Menner, who put together the exhibition "Pictures from the Secret Stasi Archives," said it should show how something that seems harmless, such as these images that could be shots from a spy film spoof, can harbor danger.

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Cayman Islands National Archive Building Renamed for Archivist

The government has renamed the Cayman Islands National Archive (CINA) building in memory of Dr. Philip E. Pedley, who died last year. During an unveiling ceremony on the compound, the founding CINA director was posthumously lauded for 15 years of contributions towards preserving Cayman’s oral, written and photographic history.

Under his leadership the archive’s collection grew from a few boxes of documents, to more than 15,000 photographs and 3,600-catalogued items, the oldest of which dates from 1810. The archive also has a moving image collection of 66-catalogued titles and a reference library containing over 4,400 titles.

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25 July 2011

Long Lost Sweethearts Reconnect at Archives and History Center

Most people come to the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center, Florida, to see some old pictures or reminisce. For Vonell Purvis Browning, a trip to the center at 106 S. Evers St. ended with a rekindled romance – and matrimony – with a former sweetheart she had scarcely seen since World War II.

Her love story began about a year ago when she came into the gallery where I am secretary/receptionist with several family members to view our current exhibit as well as visit. During her stay, Vonell looked through several photos albums and mentioned names of people that she knew in the past.

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13 July 2011

Drop Dead Gorgeous: Fashion Design for Deceased

It was when fashion designer Pia Interlandi was preparing her beloved grandfather for his funeral, complete in his best suit and leather shoes, that she realised her calling was in death wear. "Doing up his leather shoes...I was just like 'where is he going to be walking?' Really. He doesn't need shoes," the quietly-spoken, black-clad 26-year-old said.

The experience helped prompt Interlandi to create her "shroud" clothing, hemp and silk garments designed to wrap the body and head, which she hopes can provide personalised and sympathetic coverings for the dead.

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1 July 2011

I Buried My Mother 15 Years Ago... But Now She's Turned Up Alive

A woman who thought she had buried her mother 15 years ago got a shock when the old woman turned up alive and in Florida. Grace Kivisto, 56, from Knox County, Illinois, had been told human remains found in a local brickyard in 1996 belonged to her mother, who disappeared over 40 years ago.

But investigators using DNA analysis last week told her family the remains were not those of their missing relative. Then, yesterday, detectives told Mrs Kivisto her missing mother had been found, alive and well, in Jacksonville, Florida.

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28 June 2011

Botswana's Bushmen Refuse to be Counted in Census

Botswana's Bushmen plan to boycott the country's upcoming census in protest at the government's refusal to provide them with a polling station during the last election, a spokesman said Monday.

Jumanda Gakelebone, spokesman for the Bushmen living in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), said they were still bitter at their exclusion from the 2009 elections.

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29 April 2011

Orlando Bloom's Son Named After Ancestor

'Pirates of the Caribbean' actor Orlando Bloom has revealed that he and his wife Miranda Kerr named their son Flynn after his grandmother. The star, who became a father for the first time earlier this year, said that the name was inspired by his grandmother, who passed away when the baby was conceived.

Speaking on 'Live with Regis and Kelly', Bloom said: "I was convinced we were going to have a girl. Because my grandmother actually passed when Flynn was conceived and she was really dear to my heart."

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20 April 2011

How Do You Get a Coat of Arms?

A coat of arms has been granted to Kate Middleton's family ahead of the royal wedding. How do you acquire such a design? Her parents may have been an ex-flight dispatcher and a former air stewardess descended from a miner, but an absence of noble blood has not prevented the family of Kate Middleton having a coat of arms drawn up for them.

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