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Genealogy Blog

17 March 2014

Auschwitz Acquires Stamps Used To Tattoo Prisoners

Rare metal stamps used by the Nazis to tattoo prisoners at the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp have surfaced in Poland. A donor insisting on anonymity handed over the stamps to the memorial museum at the site of the World War II-era camp in Oswiecim, southern Poland.

"We obtained the stamps a couple of weeks ago and have confirmed their authenticity," Bartosz Bartyzel, a spokesman for the museum, told AFP on Thursday. "There are five stamps including one zero, two threes and two sixes or nines," he said, adding that Auschwitz was the only Nazi German camp to use tattoos to identify prisoners.

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German Soldier's Kindness Denied Tommy War Grave

A dying soldier's last wish for a photo he was found holding to be returned to his family was fulfilled by the German who killed him, as personal stories marking the centenary of World War One emerge.

Sergeant Percy Buck clutched the black and white photo of his wife Bertha and young son Cyril as he lay fatally wounded in a shell hole on the Western Front in 1917. On the back, he had written his address and asked for whoever found the photo to post it to his loved ones in the event of his death.

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14 March 2014

Australia's First Banknote Uncovered in Scotland Goes Under Hammer

The only known specimen of the first official banknote issued in Australia, uncovered in Scotland, is expected to fetch at least Aus$250,000 (US$224,000) at an auction in Sydney this month, officials said Wednesday.

The ten shilling note, issued on the order of New South Wales governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1817 by the Bank of New South Wales (now called Westpac) on the day it opened, is expected to attract bids from collectors around the world.

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6 March 2014

In the Basement of the Masonic Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, There's a Hidden Treasure

In the basement of the Masonic Library in Cedar Rapids, there's a hidden treasure that few people know about.

"We have almost anything that you'd ever look for," said Charlene Hansen with the Linn County Genealogical Society. She's been helping people track down deceased relatives, birth records, and old pictures since the early 1970's. Most of it was given to the Society by Linn County.

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5 March 2014

Vietnam Veterans Trying To Save Bronx Community College's Damaged Relics from World War I, Civil War

Three historic cannons and a British naval deck gun that have languished for decades at a Bronx college campus need to be protected, two Vietnam veterans say.

Brothers Kevin and Bill Farrell, both 61, are trying to secure $200,000 to restore two World War I-era German cannons, a Civil War Dictator Mortar cannon and a gun that has been rusting away outside since the 1920s.

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4 March 2014

Suitcase Full of WWII Love Letters Finds it Way Back To Family

A suitcase full of lost love letters written during Word War II have found their way home to a North Carolina woman. The suitcase of letters was found in a storage unit in Reno. A man gave the suitcase to a police officer at the VA Medical Center.

That officer opened some of the letters and discovered that they were love letters from a Major Lamont Haas to his wife Betty Lou. Haas had left medical school to enlist in 1951. He was lost in a mid-air collision over France during the war.

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17 February 2014

Fire Breaks Out at National Archives in Kew, London

A fire broke out at the National Archives in Kew, home to some of the UK's most important historical documents. Some 20 firefighters tackled the blaze, which affected two disused water towers at the site in Richmond, south-west London.

London Fire Brigade(LFB), which was called out at about 12:30 GMT, said the blaze was now out. The National Archives is the official UK government archive and publisher. Held there are 11 million historical documents of national importance, some dating back more than 1,000 years.

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13 February 2014

Irish Teenager Leads Bid To Save Historic WWI British Legion Hall in Dublin

Politicians are being urged to support a campaign to save one of the few remaining British Legion halls in Ireland built for World War I veterans. The building in Killester, north Dublin -- part of a suburb known originally known as Little Britain -- has gone on sale for €50,000 after pleas to preserve it as a war memorial were rejected.

Aaron Crampton (16), whose great-grandfather John Brophy fought in World War I, said preserving it as some form of mini-cenotaph or community centre and peace park would be a fitting tribute.

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11 February 2014

Sarajevo Fire May Have Destroyed State’s Ottoman Archives

Some of the most important historical documents charting the history of central Europe in the 20th century are feared lost, after a fire at the state archives of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo.

The archive, which contains mostly documents from 1878 to 1918, when the Austro-Hungarian ministry of finance was in charge of Bosnia, but also older material from the Ottoman period and documents from the war crimes commission after the second World War, was targeted by protesters.

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6 February 2014

9 Die in Fire Destroying Argentine Bank Archives

Nine first-responders were killed and seven others injured as they battled a fire of unknown origin that destroyed an archive of corporate and banking industry documents in Argentina’s capital on Wednesday.

The fire at the Iron Mountain warehouse took hours to control and at least half of the sprawling building was ruined despite the efforts of at least 10 squads of firefighters.

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4 February 2014

Senate Boosts Efforts To Keep Iraqi Jewish Archive Out of Iraq

Efforts to keep a significant collection of artifacts seized from Iraq’s Jewish community by Saddam Hussein from being returned to the Gulf nation by the United States may be picking up steam on Capitol Hill.

With just months to go before a June deadline mandates the return of the religious archive, U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are shepherding a resolution that asks the State Department to renegotiate an earlier agreement reached with the Iraqi government.

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28 January 2014

Churches Can Use Ancient Law To Demand Cash From Householders

Four Anglican churches in North Lincolnshire have taken advantage of a 475-year-old law that gives them the right to demand money from home and land owners to help pay repair bills.

All Saints' at Winterton, St Mary's at Wrawby, St Nicholas' at Searby and St Hybald's at Scawby have so far registered 29 homes or plots of land as carrying liabilities to pay. Letters informing owners of their liabilities, which date back to the reign of Henry VIII, have been sent out by the Land Registry, which manages the list.

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22 January 2014

First English Book on Women's Rights From 1632 To Sell at Bonhams

The first book in English to compile laws on the rights of women is to be sold at Bonhams on 5 March as part of the sale of rare and historic European law books from the collection of the Los Angeles County Law Library.

The book, entitled The Lawes of Resolutions of Women’s Rights: or the Lawes, Provision for Women, was compiled by Thomas Edgar and sold by John Grove in 1632. Estimated at £2,000-3,000 it is the earliest work in English on the laws and rights applicable to women including issues such as divorce, polygamy, promises of marriage and rape.

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21 January 2014

Smithsonian Archives Preserve Lost and Dying Languages

Daryl Baldwin learned about the Smithsonian’s National Anthropological Archives when he was trying to find out more about his Native American heritage and the language of his tribe, the Miami of Oklahoma.

He was 28 and working construction in Ohio when he came across some Miami words his late grandfather had written in his personal papers. Baldwin knew nothing of the language except some ancestral names, but the words piqued his interest. There were no Miami speakers left, but a friend mentioned the archives, an immense hoard of recorded voices, documents and other materials describing more than 250 languages from all over the world.

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14 January 2014

Revealed: Black Watch Hero's Diaries Provide Eyewitness Account of WWI Attacks on Enemy Lines From France To North Africa and Middle East

A black Watch hero’s World War I diaries were opened for the first time yesterday. Lieutenant Colonel John Stewart, of the 9th Battalion, ordered that his personal memoirs only be revealed in 2014.

When experts at the Black Watch regimental museum in Perth unsealed the records, they discovered bundles of letters and diaries from WW1, giving eyewitness accounts of key battles. Museum archivist Richard McKenzie said it was an exciting find.

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