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Genealogy Blog

16 December 2013

US Film Historians Find Treasure in Czech Archive

American film historians recently came across a fascinating discovery when they found the Czech National Film Archive has the only surviving print of the 1929 US movie, the Mysterious Island.

The archive in Prague stores around 500 films from Hollywood’s early days, proof that the global dominance of American cinema goes all the way back to the birth of the film industry. The epic American movie The Mysterious Island, loosely based on the French writer Jules Verne’s adventurous novel, was released in 1929. The Technicolor film starred, among others, the Oscar-winning actor Lionel Barrymore.

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9 December 2013

Have We Found the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island?

It's a mystery that has intrigued Americans for centuries: What happened to the lost colonists of North Carolina's Roanoke Island? The settlers, who arrived in 1587, disappeared in 1590, leaving behind only two clues: the words "Croatoan" carved into a fort's gatepost and "Cro" etched into a tree.

Theories about the disappearance have ranged from an annihilating disease to a violent rampage by local Native American tribes. Previous digs have turned up some information and artifacts from the original colonists but very little about what happened to them.

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4 December 2013

Badge of Honour: Rusting Royal Irish Rifles Cap Pin Found Next To Body Dug Up On Somme Poignant Symbol of Ulster's Sacrifice

It's an old and battered badge – but serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifice of thousands in the Battle of the Somme. This Royal Irish Rifles pin was discovered alongside human remains under mud and soil in the once bloody fields of France where soldiers from Ulster fought and died.

The simple military symbol was found with the remains a week ago, raising the possibility they belong to a Royal Irish Rifles soldier killed during World War One.

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3 December 2013

Texas Archaeologist May Have Discovered Earliest Spanish Mission, Alamo’s Original Location

Texas archaeologists are excited about the possibility they have located the oldest Spanish mission in San Antonio and the precursor to the famous Alamo.

Remnants, that include broken pottery and rosary beads, have been located on a 3-acre parcel of land by city archaeologists and by the University of Texas’ Center for Archaeological Research. The items are thought to belong to the 1718 Mission San Antonio de Valero.

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2 December 2013

Australian World War I Photographs Surface After Being Lost For 100 Years

Huddled together holding a sign asking for their "Mumie", this photograph is just one of several newly acquired portraits of Australian soldiers that shed light on what life was like during World War One.

The negatives were discovered in the attic of photographer Louis Thuillier's barn almost a century after they were taken. NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said of the 800 negatives discovered, 74 hand-printed photographic portraits had been donated to the Australian War Memorial and exhibited to the public next year.

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29 November 2013

How UK Ordered Mau Mau Files To Be Destroyed: Archives Reveal How Staff 'Cleansed' Dirty Documents Relating To Colonial Crimes

Secret documents released today reveal the full extent to which Whitehall systematically destroyed files relating to colonial crimes committed in the final years of the British empire.

Files published by the National Archives at Kew tell how administration staff in Kenya, Uganda and Malaya ‘cleansed’ so-called dirty documents. Material which could ‘embarrass Her Majesty’s Government’ was burnt, dumped in rivers or discreetly flown to Britain to stop it falling into the hands of post-independence regimes.

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28 November 2013

New York City: Historian Finds Newspaper From 1864 In Archives

Finding a treasured piece of history hidden in a file cabinet may be the dream of many, but it happened to Stuyvesant Town Historian Juanita Knott. She recently found what could be handwritten copies of an 1864 newspaper, “The Old Flag” which lists pages of Union soldier prisoners of war during the Civil War, including those from New York state.

“I’m not sure if they’re copies or hand-written,” Knott said, carefully turning the yellow, almost crumbling pages of “The Old Flag” newspaper that she had clipped to acid-free paper so as not to destroy this voice from the past.

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27 November 2013

500 Year Old Love Letter Found Buried With Korean Mummy

A poetic love letter written by a mourning Korean wife that was found beside the mummified body of the woman's husband has grabbed the limelight many a time since its discovery more than a decade ago.

Archaeologists at Andong National University found a 16th century male mummy in Andong City in South Korea in 2000. Along with it was a heart-rending letter written by the dead man's pregnant wife who poured out her grief into what has become a testament of loss, lamentation and berievement.

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21 November 2013

Americas' Natives Have European Roots

The 24,000-year-old remains of a young boy from the Siberian village of Mal’ta have added a new root to the family tree of indigenous Americans. While some of the New World's native ancestry clearly traces back to east Asia, the Mal’ta boy’s genome — the oldest known of any modern human — shows that up to one-third of that ancestry can be traced back to Europe.

The results show that people related to western Eurasians had spread further east than anyone had suspected, and lived in Siberia during the coldest parts of the last Ice Age.

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20 November 2013

The Discovery of a Roman Girl In The 15th Century

Some of our greatest archaeological finds have happened by accident, revealing wonders from the past. Such a thing could also happen in the Middle Ages, such as when the perfectly preserved body of a girl was discovered along the Via Appia just outside of Rome. The discovery took place in April of 1485.

The best account of this event comes from a letter written by Bartolomeo Fonzio, who was a Renaissance scholar and professor of literature at the University of Florence.

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14 November 2013

Documents Taken From Virginia Courthouse During Civil War Found in Worthington, Massachusetts

The court document ordered tobacco farmer Robert Ashby Jr. to pay the local mercantile 3 pounds he owed, plus a fine of 79 pounds of tobacco. It was dated 1753. And it was issued in Stafford, Va.

So how that document and another one dated some 20 years later ended up in an attic in South Worthington in 2005 was puzzling. Dr. George Bresnick was digging through “the proverbial old trunk in the attic” at a neighbor’s South Worthington home when he stumbled across the documents.

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12 November 2013

English Civil War Defences Found at Brandon Hill

More English Civil War defences have been found at Brandon Hill. The results of a geophysical survey carried out last month have revealed an underground ditch near the remains of Water Fort.

More than 30 people, including children from nearby Queen Elizabeth Hospital Junior School, enjoyed an educational walk organised by the Friends of Brandon Hill and led by the city council's senior archaeology officer Peter Insole.

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6 November 2013

New WWI Mystery Unearthed: Women Dressed As Soldiers Puzzle

A project to identify photographs of World War I soldiers from photographic plates found in a Wellington studio has unearthed a new mystery. Among the male soldiers, a couple of women in uniform have also been discovered. Researchers at Te Papa now want to identify who they were, and why they were dressed as soldiers.

Te Papa history curator Michael Fitzgerald said it was hoped members of the public might help shed some light on their identities.

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Argentina Finds Archives Belonging To The Military Dictatorship

Argentina Defense Minister Agustín Rossi announced on Monday the finding of a vast quantity of archives belonging to the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976-83, including minutes that document 280 secret meetings held by the Armed Forces in those crucial years.

Speaking at a specially-convened press conference, Rossi revealed that around 1500 files had been found last Thursday in the basement of the Condor Building, the headquarters of the Argentine Air Force.

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30 October 2013

Designer of the Bayeux Tapestry Identified

New research has identified the man who designed the Bayeux Tapestry, one of the most important artworks of the Middle Ages. Historian Howard B. Clarke believes that this was Scolland, the abbot of St.Augustine’s monastery in Canterbury, and that it was made around the year 1075.

Clarke, professor emeritus at University College, Dublin, first presented his ideas at the 2012 Battle Conference, which was held at the French town of Bayeux, and now published in the journal Anglo-Norman Studies.

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