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Genealogy Blog

12 January 2011

Last Known Lusitania Survivor, 95, Dies

The last known survivor from the Lusitania ocean liner that was sunk by a German U-boat in 1915 has died. Audrey Lawson-Johnston from Melchbourne in Bedfordshire died in the early hours of Tuesday aged 95.

She was three months old when the liner bound for Liverpool from New York sank off the Irish coast on 7 May. Mrs Lawson-Johnston's family had been emigrating to England when the boat was hit in an attack that killed hundreds, including her sisters.

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10 January 2011

Dick Winters, of 'Band of Brothers' Fame, Dies

Dick Winters, the former World War II commander whose war story was told in the book and miniseries “Band of Brothers,” has died. Dick Winters led a quiet life on his Fredericksburg farm and in his Hershey home until the book and miniseries “Band of Brothers” threw him into the international spotlight.

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Winters and his troops from Easy Company, 506th regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, parachuted behind enemy lines to take on a German artillery nest on Utah Beach. His company fought through the Battle of the Bulge, the liberation of a death camp at Dachau and to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest at Berchtesgaden.

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7 November 2010

Nazi War Criminal Michael Seifert Dies in Italy

Michael Seifert, a former Nazi SS prison guard known as 'the beast of Bolzano' for his cruelty, has died in an Italian hospital aged 86. He was serving a life sentence in prison in southern Italy, and died in hospital in Caserta where he was admitted several days ago.

Seifert was convicted in absentia in 2000 by an Italian military tribunal of 11 murders at a prison camp in Bolzano. He was extradited to Italy from Canada in 2008.

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5 November 2010

World's Oldest Person, Eugenie Blanchard, Dead at 114 Years Old

Eugenie Blanchard lived a really, really long life. The 114-year-old nun—believed to be the world's oldest person — died on Thursday in the French West Indies. Blanchard died in a hospital on Saint-Barthelemy, a French overseas territory where she was also born.

Now, an East Texan is the oldest person in the world. Eunice G. Sanborn, 114, of Jacksonville, was born on July 20, 1896, five months after Blanchard.

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21 September 2010

Files Reveal Bravery Of WWII Spy

More details are coming to light on the tragic life of World War II heroine Eileen Nearne, MBE.

Ms Nearne lived a hermit's life in her Torquay flat and the secrets of her work as a spy only emerged after she died of a heart attack, aged 89, on 2 September 2010.

Ms Nearne was parachuted into France in 1944 where she worked undercover for the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Her remarkable story is told in files at the National Archives in London.

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15 September 2010

War Heroine Found Dead In Devon To Have Council Funeral

A wartime heroine who was captured three times by the Germans and endured spells in concentration and labour camps is to be buried by a council because no friends or family can be traced.

Eileen Nearne, 89, who died in her Devon home on 2 September, was one of 39 female agents sent to occupied France in her capacity as a member of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) during World War II.

Miss Nearne, who was fluent in French, was captured by the Germans just four months after arriving in France, but managed to persuade them she was an innocent French woman.

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10 September 2010

Japan Says Over 230,000 Listed Centenarians Can't Be Found

More than 230,000 people listed as alive and at least 100 years old in Japan cannot be found, including 884 who would be 150 or older, officials said Friday.

Japan, famed for its longevity, launched a nationwide survey after a recent string of grisly discoveries -- including a mummified man in his bed and an old woman's remains in a backpack -- sparked alarm over the fate of many elderly.

The cases also triggered soul-searching over elderly people living in isolation, and public outrage at relatives of those missing who have kept their deaths secret in order to keep receiving their pension payments.

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30 July 2010

Tokyo's 'Oldest Man' Had Been Dead For 30 Years

He was thought to be the oldest man in Tokyo - but when officials went to congratulate Sogen Kato on his 111th birthday, they uncovered mummified skeletal remains lying in his bed.

Mr Kato may have been dead for 30 years according to Japanese authorities.

They grew suspicious when they went to honour Mr Kato at his address in Adachi ward, but his granddaughter told them he "doesn't want to see anybody".

Police are now investigating the family on possible fraud charges.

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20 July 2010

African Ancestry Tracing Goes Mobile with AfricanAncestry.com's First Multi-City 'We Are Africa' Road Tour

If you think ‘Mobile Ancestry’ is another new app … think again! In an old-school move, African Ancestry, the company that pioneered DNA-based ancestry tracing for people of African descent, is going “mobile” by loading up a van, a video camera and one of its co-founders and taking ancestry tracing on a 14-city trek to help African Americans more easily and accurately access their ancestral roots. The first-ever ‘We Are Africa’ Road Tour kicks off on August 1 in New Orleans and culminates on August 19 in New England, hitting 12 cities in between.

To learn more about African Ancestry’s ‘We Are Africa’ Road Tour and find out more about what’s happening in your city go to http://www.africanancestry.com/roadtour.

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UK's Oldest Person Dies Aged 111

The oldest person in the UK has died, one month before her 112th birthday.

Eunice Bowman, who was born in 1898, died peacefully in her sleep at a care home on Tyneside.

When World War I broke out she went to work for the Armstrong munitions factory in Newcastle and the money she earned was used to help her family.

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23 June 2010

Nurse In Iconic WWII Photograph Dies Aged 91

A 91-year-old who said she was the nurse photographed being kissed in Times Square in New York at the end of World War II has died.

Edith Shain said she was grabbed and kissed by an unknown American soldier on 14 August 1945.

The picture by Alfred Eisenstaedt was taken as people celebrated Japan's surrender, and it became an iconic image.

The identity of the sailor remains disputed.

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8 June 2010

Death Of Scottish 'Great Escape' Survivor

A Scot who is believed to be the last survivor of the "Great Escape" from a German prisoner of war camp has died, at the age of 97.

Jack Harrison took part in the famous breakout from Stalag Luft III in 1944, an event later immortalised on film.

He missed his chance to flee the camp when the German guards discovered the escape plot.

Of those who broke out of the camp only three reached safety and of the 73 recaptured, 50 were shot.

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5 May 2010

World's Oldest Person Dies At 114

Guinness World Records has reported the death of the world's oldest person aged 114 years and 357 days, a week shy of her 115th birthday.

Kama Chinen, a resident of a sub-tropical island in Okinawa, Japan, died on May 2, 2010. She lived to see three different centuries, the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) commented.

The title of oldest human now passes to 114-year-old Frenchwoman Eugenie Blanchard, who was born in February 1896. She lives on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, GRG said.

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23 April 2010

Whitney Harris, Nuremberg Prosecutor, Dies At 97

Whitney Harris, who was a member of the U.S. legal team that prosecuted Nazis at Nuremberg after World War II, has died. He was 97.

Harris was the last surviving of the three Nuremberg prosecutors, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said. He died Wednesday at his home in the suburban St. Louis town of Frontenac, according to his stepdaughter, Theresa Galakatos of Richmond Heights. She said he had been battling cancer for three years and had been in and out of the hospital since suffering a fall in his home about six months ago.

Harris was lead prosecutor in the first of the Nuremberg war-crime trials in 1945 and tried Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the senior surviving leader of the Nazi Security Police. He also helped cross-examine Hermann Goering, Hitler's second-in-command, and helped get the confession of Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess, head of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

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6 April 2010

John H. Lauten Dies At 96; Army Captain Helped Plan Invasion Of Normandy

John H. Lauten, a lawyer who helped plan the invasion of Normandy as an Army captain during World War II and later became the first non-engineer to oversee the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, has died. He was 96.

Lauten died of natural causes March 22 at an assisted-living facility in Simi Valley, his family said.

For heroism during the D-day invasion, Lauten was awarded a Silver Star. He already had received a Bronze Star for heroic action in Algeria in 1942.

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