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Genealogy Blog

14 February 2014

Note From 1916 Discovered Behind a Fireplace Is Finally Delivered to WWI Seaman's Great Granddaughter

A forgotten letter from a mystery First World War sailor has found its way to his granddaughter after almost a century. The note dated 1916 was discovered behind a fireplace in Kirkwall, Orkney, and signed ‘Your Blue Jacket Boy’.

Addressed to the serviceman’s family, it was sealed and stamped but never posted. Staff at Orkney Library hoped to identify the letter writer and launched an appeal on their blog. The hunt spread to Canada, where a distant relative suggested the sailor might be David John Phillips from Llanelli, South Wales.

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13 February 2014

Naval Archivists Discover Trove of Never Before Seen Photographs from Spanish-American Conflict of 1898

Archivists at the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington DC were going through a backlog of artifacts this week when they came across an unexpected treasure: a wooden box filled with 150 original glass plate photos from the Spanish-American War.

‘The plates were individually wrapped in tissue paper and include full captions and dates, which were likely prepared by the photographer, Douglas White,’ said Lisa Crunk, NHHC's photo archives branch head.

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12 February 2014

New Zealand's First Missionary Station Uncovered

The site of New Zealand's first missionary's station and its first classroom have been discovered by archaeologists after two years of research and fieldwork.

Artefacts from the Hohi Mission Station at Kerikeri have uncovered details about the daily lives of the first permanent European settlers, researchers said. University of Otago Anthropology and Archaeology Associate Professor Ian Smith and Archaeology Honourary Research Fellow Dr Angela Middleton led the excavation team.

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3D Technology Gives Face To Ancient Female Skull

A scattered female skull, which was found during excavations in the Aktopraklık tumulus in Turkey's northwestern province of Bursa’s Akçalar district and determined to have been killed with torture, has been reassembled and its face has been constructed with 3D technology.

Excavations have been carried out in the 8,500-year-old tumulus under the leadership of Istanbul University Prehistory Department member Associate Professor Necmi Karul.

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11 February 2014

Oklahoma Woman Discovers Civil War Documents

An Oklahoma woman has discovered a rare historical find in her home. "I found something with some pretty writing on it," Julie Mathis said. Mathis was cleaning out a box to use to move when she uncovered pieces of American history.

"Letters, stamps, writing utensils, locks," said Mathis. "It seemed to be almost a whole bit of history, a whole person's history just wrapped in twine." Among the findings: a handwritten letter from 1866 with a colorful government seal and signed by several Pennsylvania lawmakers.

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10 February 2014

Map Discovered in Drawer Details WWII POW Experience

For six years, the mobile home sat empty on 5 acres, a buffer between Richard White and a deteriorating neighborhood.

Veryl and Norma Orcutt had lived there in the winters since 1990, escaping the Wisconsin snow. But then old age and Veryl's illness put an end to the lifestyle. That and the drugs. "We just couldn't stand all the shady characters who started coming around,'' Norma said. "It soured us on Florida.''

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6 February 2014

German Federal Archives Authenticates Recently Released Himmler Letters

As Germany was invading the Soviet Union in June of 1941, the wife of Heinrich Himmler, who was the chief of the Nazi Gestapo and the SS and also one of the primary orchestrators of the Holocaust, sent him a message: "There is a can of caviar in the ice box. Take it."

At another time, Himmler’s wife, Margarete, received a note from her husband that read: "I am off to Auschwitz. Kisses, Your Heini."

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Remains of Blanche Mortimer Discovered in Lead Coffin

The discovery of a body inside a church memorial has caused amazement in the world of archaeology and surprised experts. Michael Eastham, a conservator of sculpture has been working on the memorial in a Herefordshire Church for nearly two years but was taken aback when a mysterious coffin was discovered jammed inside the tomb-chest.

Blanche was born around 1316 at Wigmore Castle in Herefordshire, and was the youngest child of Sir Roger Mortimer and Joan de Geneville. She became the wife of Peter de Grandison , but died in 1347. They had one son, Otto.

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5 February 2014

Unique Documents Related to US-Dakota War of 1862 Located

Local historians are thrilled about a recent discovery that could lead to previously unknown yet extraordinarily valuable information about life in the area in the run-up to, and aftermath of, the US-Dakota War of 1862.

The excitement comes in the wake of a significant find in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.: a private researcher, funded by a small private grant, last year located about half of the property-loss (or "depredation") claims filed by area residents just after the war.

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3 February 2014

Charlemagne's Bones Are (Probably) Real

German scientists have announced after almost 26 years of research that the bones interred for centuries at Aachen Cathedral are likely to be those of Charlemagne.

Researchers confirmed on Wednesday evening - 1,200 years to the day since Charlemagne died - that the 94 bones and bone fragments taken from the supposed resting place of the King of the Franks and founder of what was to become the Holy Roman Empire came from a tall, thin, older man.

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31 January 2014

Melting Glaciers in Northern Italy Reveal Corpses of WW1 Soldiers

At first glance Peio is a small alpine ski resort like many others in northern Italy. In winter it is popular with middle-class Italians as well as, increasingly, Russian tourists. In summer there’s good hiking in the Stelvio National Park.

It has a spa, shops that sell a dozen different kinds of grappa, and, perhaps, aspirations to be the next Cortina. A cable car was inaugurated three years ago, and a multi-storey car park is under construction.

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29 January 2014

Genealogist Baffled By Surprise Hidden in Antique Present

An intrigued genealogist is hoping readers can put her in the picture after discovering decades-old film tucked inside her birthday surprise.

Michala Hulme, from Tabley, was shocked when her fiancé Gavin presented her with a 1930s box camera from Knutsford Antiques on December 24, instead of the CD or video game she usually receives. But what was hidden inside the camera came as an even bigger shock –film from the WWII-era - and the 31-year-old has spent the past month trying to unravel the story behind the lens.

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Forgotten Images From the Western Front: Negatives Discovered in a Rusty Metal Box Reveal Devastation of French Battlefields at The End of The First World War

This astonishing collection of photographs was discovered in a rusty metal box by Peter Berry Ottaway, 71, in the home of his late grandfather, Hubert Ottaway, who was a sapper (or combat engineer) in the Territorial Army between 1914 and 1919.

He captured the rare images while he was stationed in northern France. He worked with the Light Engineers Railway Companies who were tasked with supplying communication lines towards Belguim and upgrading trenches. Hubert's pictures provide a unique glimpse into life on the Western Front in the final 18 months of the Great War.

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28 January 2014

Save Photo Discover The Earliest Surviving Original Photographs of Sir Winston Churchill

Save Photo Limited have discovered what may be the earliest surviving original images of Winston Churchill. They were discovered in the Hills and Saunders Harrow Collection, which they were contracted to digitise, conserve and catalogue for the private owner.

The collection was found in poor condition in the dairy barn of a farm outside Cirencester in 2012. The private owner and Save Photo rescued the collection and relocated it to a secure and climate controlled storage at Save Photo’s headquarters in Warwickshire.

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20 January 2014

Museum Uncovers 100-Year-Old Diaries of WWI Soldier But Has No Idea What They Say Because They're Written in Shorthand

Two diaries written by a soldier during the First World War have been unearthed by a museum with curators puzzling about what they could contain because they are written in shorthand. York Castle Museum came across the books in boxes of World War One archive material before Christmas, after they were donated by the East Riding Yeomanry Old Comrades Association.

Curators at the museum are excited about finding the 100 year-old diaries, but are equally frustrated that they cannot understand what they say, as it seems closer to Pitman shorthand than written English.

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