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Genealogy Blog

9 June 2014

World War Two Skeletons Washed from Marshall Islands Graves 'By Rising Seas'

The skeletons of 26 Japanese soldiers who died during World War II have been washed from their graves in the low-lying Marshall Islands, prompting warnings by the nation that its future is under threat from rising sea levels.

The nation of 70,000 people revealed the extent of the devastation during United Nations climate change talks in Germany, saying global warming was ruining crops and that sea rises were overrunning parts of the islands. The nation’s 1,000-plus islands are only about six feet above sea level – and scientists are predicting a three- to six-foot rise in sea levels by the end of the century.

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4 June 2014

Gravestone Girls Preserve Cemetery Art

The next time you pass by a cemetery, stop and look at the gravestones because the dead are trying to tell you something and remind you that, one day, you will also take the long dirt nap.

Gravestone Girls co-founder Brenda J. Sullivan is helping keep the dead alive. She, along with Gravestone Girls Maggie White and Melissa Anderson, travel all over New England preserving cemetery art and history and giving presentations.

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2 June 2014

Skeletons of 800 Babies, Infants Believed To Be Buried at Bon Secours Sisters Site in Ireland

A woman with a dark secret has revealed why the skeletons of about 800 infants and children are believed to be in a disused septic tank.

The site in Tuam 32km north of Galway City, Ireland, is located at what was The Home, a home for unmarried mothers, run by the Bon Secours Sisters — a Roman Catholic religious order of nuns that today operates in US, Ireland, Peru, France, and Great Britain — from the 1920s until the 1960s, Irish Mail on Sunday reported.

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30 May 2014

Massive Flooding Causes Caskets To Float Away From Graves in South Louisiana

Heavy rains in south Louisiana Wednesday caused about a dozen caskets to float away from their graves. The scene unfolded in a cemetery in Assumption Parish, about 50 miles south of Baton Rouge, in the town of Belle Rose.

Loved ones of people buried there rushed to the cemetery and prevented them from floating away using sandbags to weigh them down. Others opted to move the caskets to higher ground.

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28 May 2014

Digger’s Remains Found at Fromelles: DNA Technology Uncovers New South Wales Soldier

The remains of Canowindra-born World War I digger Private Albert Williamson, who died in the bloody battle of Fromelles in 1916, have been identified using DNA technology.

Private Williamson, a member of the 54th battalion, was one of 20 diggers announced this week as having been identified, after their remains were found in a mass grave at Pheasant Wood in France in 2009. The battle of Fromelles is considered to be Australia’s worst military defeat of World War I.

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27 May 2014

Eight Decades in the Wrong Grave: Mac Map Collection Helps Solve Family Mystery

For 84 years, Private William Phillips was missing, lying underneath another man's headstone.

The soldier was killed in the final months of the war, when the front lines were moving quickly. He was buried on the battlefield near Bray-sur-Somme, but when the graves were moved into cemeteries in 1919, he was recorded as missing, his body classified as an unknown soldier.

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26 May 2014

After Almost 100 Years British WWI Prisoners of War Who Died in German Captivity Finally Have their Graves Marked with Headstones

British prisoners of war who died in German camps in the First World War have finally been honoured with proper war graves. Thirty-nine servicemen who were held in the Heilsberg prisoner camp were commemorated in a ceremony today at the site, which is in modern-day Poland.

The men, some of them just teenagers, were buried in a common grave after they died from disease and mistreatment while incarcerated.

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14 May 2014

150 Years Later, Family Visits Grave of Arlington’s First Hero

Army Pvt. William Christman died in service to his country, but until this year, his family didn’t even know where he was buried. A victim of measles, the 20-year-old from Pocono Lake, Pa., died in a D.C. hospital in 1864.

But as the first person to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Christman has one of the most distinct honors in military history. “Everybody buried here is a hero,” said Jack E. Lechner, Jr., the cemetery’s deputy superintendent. “Mode or manner of death isn’t a determining factor. It’s service to country.”

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12 May 2014

After 150 Years, Arlington Cemetery Still Holds Secrets

A lingering image for any Arlington National Cemetery visitor — more than caissons bearing the soon-to-be-interred or even the white-gloved honor guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier — is the perfect symmetry of alabaster headstones endlessly arrayed.

The stone sentinels give up their dead only on close inspection to visitors who leave pathways to gingerly step close and read the black lettering etched into marble.

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9 May 2014

16th Century 'Vampire' Grave Unearthed in Poland

Archaeologists have discovered the grave of a suspected vampire in Kamien Pomorski, northwestern Poland. The body, which dates back to the 16th century, was unearthed during a dig in a marketplace in the town, situated in the West Pomeranian Province.

As reported in Kamienskie.info, the team found unusual features which indicated the burial site was vampiric. The teeth, or "fangs" had been removed and a fragment of rock had been inserted into the mouth. In addition, his leg had been staked in order to prevent the body from rising from its grave.

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5 May 2014

18th Century Cemetery Uncovered in the French City of Marseille

An eighteenth century cemetery consisting of some 800 graves has been uncovered by Metro works in the French city of Marseille. Located in the northern suburbs, the cemetery of Petites-Crottes, as it was called at the time, was used between 1784 and 1905 before becoming a dumping ground for industrial waste in 1930.

"We knew from historical archives that there was a cemetery in the area but we did not know where," said Anne Richier, an archaeologist from Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives (Inrap) which is in charge of the excavations.

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About 130 Graves in Historic Cemetery To Get Markers for First Time in Florence, Alabama

Surveyors are in the process of defining the boundaries of the historic Gen. John Coffee Cemetery and the adjacent African-American burial ground that dates back to the earliest days of the city.

For the first time, the approximately 130 graves in the African-American cemetery will have markers, though the names of the people buried there remain largely unknown, said Robert Steen, chairman of the Florence Historical Board.

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28 April 2014

The Western Front in France and Belgium - From Muddy Hell to Stunning Beauty

Passing through the serene, colourful countryside of northern France, it’s almost impossible to fathom the horror that came a century before.

Bright yellow, blooming canola fields and immaculate green fields line the winding roads, masking the bloodshed from World War I that will always be connected to these lands. The Western Front in France and Belgium, where 46,000 Australians died between 1914 and 1918, was once a picture of carnage, a battleground of trench warfare described as a “muddy hell” by those who fought there.

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24 April 2014

Skeletons Found in Suffolk, England, Water Pipe Dig

Nine human skeletons have been found by archaeologists excavating land to be used for a water pipeline in Suffolk. Eight of them, found together near Barnham, are believed to date back to about AD300. Two of the bodies had been buried with a brooch and a knife.

The other skeleton was discovered at Rougham. Anglian Water, which is installing a new pipeline to serve Bury St Edmunds, said items from the dig would be "kept in a secure museum archive".

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18 April 2014

The Uplifting Story Behind a Blunt Obituary

Stig Kernell had specific and strong wishes for his own obituary notice. He told his local undertaker in Tranås, southern Sweden that he wanted the notice simply to state his name and the words "I Am Dead", along with the place and date of his death.

"He was a special man with a very particular sense of humour and a twinkle in his eye," Kernell's son, Lars-Åke, told tabloid Expressen. He added: "He was crass, too, and that has helped us deal with our loss, since he did not fear death in the least."

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