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Genealogy Blog

25 June 2014

Spanish Documents Suggest Irish Arrived in America Before Columbus

While Christopher Columbus is generally credited with having discovered America in 1492, a 1521 Spanish report provides inklings of evidence that there were, in fact, Irish people settled in America prior to Columbus’ journey.

“Researchers feel certain that there was a colony of Irish folk living in what is now South Carolina, when Christopher Columbus “thought” he had discovered the New World,” writes Richard Thornton for The Examiner.

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20 June 2014

Dracula's Tomb Found in Italy? Er...Not Really

Has the tomb of Vlad III the Impaler, the historical Dracula, been found in the center of Naples in Italy? Not really. Experts and bloggers are now debunking the claim that circulated late last week, saying it’s not rooted in real history but rather resembles a Da Vinci Code conspiracy novel.

According to a report in the Italian daily Il Mattino, the remains of the 15th century Romanian prince upon which Bram Stoker's gothic novel "Dracula" is based, lie in a cloister in the Santa Maria La Nova church in Naples.

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10 June 2014

'Incredibly Important' Medieval Find in Wales

Archaeologists says they have discovered an "incredibly important" medieval convent, cemetery and Tudor mansion in Ceredigion. The location of Llanllyr nunnery in the Aeron Valley had been a mystery until now.

The convent, founded by Lord Rhys ap Gruffudd in 1180, was a daughter house of the Strata Florida abbey, a former Cistercian monastery which was of immense importance to Wales during the Middle Ages.

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9 June 2014

10th-Century Viking king May Have Been Discovered in Scotland

In 2005 archaeologists working in eastern Scotland came across the skeleton of a warrior buried in a saint’s cemetery. A historian now believes these might be the remains of Olaf Guthfrithsson, King of Dublin and Northumbria from 934 to 941.

The remains were uncovered in the village of Auldhame, East Lothian, which is home to an Anglo-Saxon church and cemetery.

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5 June 2014

Oldest Known Pair of Pants Unearthed

The world’s first-known pants were recently excavated from tombs in western China, reports a new study.

The pants, which date from 3,000 to 3,300 years ago, are tattered, but are surprisingly stylish, combining attractive form with function. Made out of wool, the trousers feature straight-fitting legs and a wide crotch. The pants were discovered in an excavation led by archaeologists Ulrike Beck and Mayke Wagner of the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin.

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2 June 2014

Remains of Five World War I Soldiers Found in France

The remains of five French soldiers who fought in World War I have been found along with their weapons in a wood in the country's east, a man behind the discovery said on Sunday.

The skeletons were discovered along with Lebel rifles, the basic weapon of the French infantry during the Great War, in a forest near the town of Luneville, Philippe Sugg told AFP. One of them had his identity tag and was a 27-year-old from an area near the southern city of Perpignan, he said.

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Medieval Skulls Found in Coventry's Old Grammar School

Fragments of medieval skulls and bones have been found during the restoration of a 12th Century building in Coventry. The bones found in the Old Grammar School are believed to date back to some time between the 12th and 16th Centuries.

The excavation of the Grade I listed building is part of an £8.5m scheme to restore the building and extend the neighbouring Transport Museum. Experts described the finds as "surprising".

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Unique Silk Cloth Found in Emperor Henry VII's Coffin

A unique silk cloth has been found in the tomb of German king and Holy Roman emperor Henry VII of Luxembourg (1275-1313), among bones and what remains of his boiled head, Italian researchers announced this week.

Resting in Pisa Cathedral, the remains of Henry VII were exhumed last fall with the aim of getting more insights into the emperor’s physical features and cause of death. The research is still ongoing, but the opening of the sarcophagus has already revealed a medieval treasure trove.

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30 May 2014

Trenches used for WWI training unearthed in Iowa

Archaeologists hired to dig at World War I training trenches on the Iowa National Guard Base at Camp Dodge have uncovered several artifacts dating to when the United States entered the war: rifle shell casings, a machine gun suppressor from the era and non-exploding grenades.

Excavation began last week in Johnston and continued Wednesday with the team working to learn more about the trench systems, which were used for training U.S. soldiers before they were shipped out to Europe.

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27 May 2014

Remains of 40 Confederate Soldiers Discovered in Virginia Cemetery

Their remains sat, unmarked, in shallow graves at the Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, Va., for decades. Now, two centuries after the Civil War, the bodies of 40 Confederate soldiers discovered over the past two months will receive a proper memorial.

"It's been very meaningful to us to find these spots, identify these soldiers and bring closure to families," said Ted Delaney, the cemetery's assistant director, who, along with a team of archaeologists, uncovered the exact resting place of some 40 Confederate soldiers as well as the plots where Union soldiers were once buried and later exhumed.

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'Magical' 18th-Century Artifacts Found in Caribbean

Archaeologists working on two small Caribbean islands have found artifacts intentionally buried beneath two 18th-century plantation houses.

They appear to have been placed there for their spiritual power, protecting the inhabitants against harm, said John Chenoweth, a professor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. The discoveries were made recently in the British Virgin Islands, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom.

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Found: Lost Photos of WWI Soldier Who Fought in the Trenches Alongside Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves and Inspired Their Poems

Long-lost photos of a soldier who inspired First World War poets Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves have been uncovered by his former school.

Pictured for the first time as a carefree school sportsman, David Cuthbert Thomas inspired Sassoon's A Subaltern - written in the trenches of the Somme just a week before Thomas was killed by a sniper. His poet friends described him as 'a gentle soldier, perfect and without stain' as they wept at his funeral, which was interrupted by the crashing of German weaponry.

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16 May 2014

Skeleton Reveals Secrets of New World's First People

A superbly preserved skeleton found in an underwater Mexican cave is that of a teenage girl that lived around 13,000 years ago, a genetic analysis of her remains has revealed.

The study of DNA extracted from the girl's wisdom tooth sheds light on a longstanding debate about the origins of the Western Hemisphere's first people and their relationship to today's Native American populations.

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15 May 2014

Heartbreaking Letters From WWI Soldier To His Fiancee Just Months Before He Died on the Somme

A series of love letters sent from one of the first soldiers to die during the Battle of the Somme to his fiancee have been found in a dusty attic.

Private Frederick Bertram Key served with the 1/8th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as part of the ‘pals battalions’ between 1914 to 1916. He was killed at the age of 27 while fighting the German Empire during the bloody battle of the Somme, in France on July 1st, 1916 - the day the conflict began.

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14 May 2014

Letters Found in Maine Bring Bloody Civil War Battle Alive

One-hundred-fifty years ago this week, soldiers from Maine were among those taking part in one of the bloodiest clashes of the Civil War: the battle of Spotsylvania Court House.

For one Vermont resident, it's an historical event bought to life by a recently-discovered cache of letters written by her great-great-grandfather who was there - and captured an enemy flag before being wounded. Tom Porter has more.

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