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Genealogy Blog

13 May 2014

WWII French and German Soldiers Are Best Friends 70 Years After Normandy Landings

When Leon Gautier landed on Sword Beach in a hail of enemy fire on June 6, 1944 the last thing he expected was that 70 years later one of the 'Boches' he was fighting against would be a friend and neighbour.

Yet today, Mr Gautier, now 91, and Johannes Boerner, 88, live side-by-side in the very town where the French commando came ashore in the first wave of the D-Day invasion. They are two of the dwindling number of veterans of the Allies' Normandy landings and the ensuing three-month battle to push German forces back on the western front of Nazi-occupied Europe.

Source & Full Story

New Project To Look at Medieval Miracles in the British Isles

A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge have started creating an online database to categorize the miracles found in saints’ lives that were written in Britain and Ireland between 500 and 1300.

Known as Mapping Miracles, the project is run by Robert Gallagher, Julianne Pigott and Sarah Waidler of the University of Cambridge along with Jennifer Key of the University of St.Andrews. By developing this database, they hope to show what were the similarities and differences in the miracles recorded in saints’ lives, even those that were written in other different parts of the British Isles and centuries apart.

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7 May 2014

Were Red Cross Parcels Invented in Bristol in WWI?

Wednesday January 8 1919, 11am. Hundreds of men, most of them pale, all of them thin – some dangerously so – started to gather on Corn Street. They stood in small groups chatting, sharing cigarettes, waiting.

Most were in uniform, and fell silent as an officer – Major Dinham, 2nd Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment – standing on the Council House steps, called for order.

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28 April 2014

Slave Girl Who Changed History

Earlier this year, the film 12 Years A Slave — a searingly brutal account of the helplessness of 19th-century slaves in America’s Deep South — swept the 'best picture' category at the leading Hollywood award ceremonies.

Now, a new film made in Britain will tell the story of the remarkable relationship that may have lain at the heart of the abolition of slavery on this side of the Atlantic. It centres on the 1st Earl of Mansfield, the most influential Lord Chief Justice of the 18th century, and the woman he helped to raise — Dido Elizabeth Belle, the daughter of a black slave woman.

Source & Full Story

24 April 2014

Unlocking the Secrets to Sweden’s Holy King

Researchers in Sweden have opened the casket of King Erik IX, and hope to analyze his bones to understand more about the health of the twelfth-century ruler and to even make sure these remains are his.

King Erik IX ruled Sweden from 1155 to 1160 and was murdered, allegedly by an assassin working for a rival noble family or for a Danish claimant to his throne. Within a few years his remains were being revered as holy relics, and Uppsala Cathedral was built on the site where he was killed.

Source & Full Story

22 April 2014

Inside The Mundaneum

On the night of June 1, 1934, a Belgian information scientist named Paul Otlet sat in silent, peaceful protest outside the locked doors of a government building in Brussels from which he had just been evicted.

Inside was his life’s work: a vast archive of more than twelve million bibliographic three-by-five-inch index cards, which attempted to catalog and cross-reference the relationships among all the world’s published information.

Source & Full Story

College Student Fought Dutch Bureaucrats To Obtain Justice for Amsterdam Holocaust Survivors

Charlotte van den Berg was a 20-year-old college student working part-time in Amsterdam's city archives when she and other interns came across a shocking find: letters from Jewish Holocaust survivors complaining that the city was forcing them to pay back taxes and late payment fines on property seized after they were deported to Nazi death camps.

Following her discovery four years ago, Van den Berg waged a lonely fight against Amsterdam's modern bureaucracy to have the travesty publicly recognized. Now, largely due to her efforts,

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16 April 2014

Scotland Gets Ready To Celebrate Battle of Bannockburn's 700th Anniversary

Music, culture, ancestry, food, drink and fight re-enacting will make the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn a memorable one.

Bannockburn Live on June 28-29 will see hundreds of artists and clan members unite for a festival at the Stirling battlefield where Robert the Bruce’s army annihilated the English, led by Edward II, and paved the way for Scottish independence.

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4 April 2014

The Bravest Street in England: Cul-de-Sac Where 161 Men Joined Up for WWI - and 50 Gave Their Lives for Their Country

On the eve of the First World War it was just another ordinary British street - a nondescript cul-de-sac of 60 terrace houses, home to dozens of hard-working blue-collar families.

But by November 1918, some 161 residents of Chapel Street in Altrincham had stepped up to serve their country in the trenches of the Great War. Of those 29 were killed in action while a further 20 would succumb to their injuries on their return. Such was its sacrifice that King George V called Chapel Street the 'bravest little street in England' for having provided so many volunteers.

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2 April 2014

Diaries Reveal New Details About Gas Attack on Irish Soldiers in 1916

Hundreds of Irishmen fighting for the British Army in World War 1 perished in a horrific German gas attack as their countrymen battled to end British rule in Ireland.

The National Archives in Kew has this week released war diaries from the 8th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, which reveal details of the deadly German attack that left 500 Irish soldiers dead.

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31 March 2014

1 in 4 Indians Believe India Fought Against UK in WWI

Over 1 in 4 Indians believe India was fighting the British and against the UK in the First World War.

As part of its commemoration to mark 100 years of the war, the British Council commissioned YouGov to carry out a survey among the adult populations of Egypt, France, Germany, India, Russia, Turkey and the UK to gauge their knowledge surrounding the war.

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Hungarian WWI Soldiers Heroes, Not Only Victims, Says Defence Minister

Hungarian soldiers who fell in World War I were not only victims, but heroes as well, the Hungarian defence minister said in western Hungary on Sunday, at a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war.

The example of these of our heroes, their personal sacrifice as well as their loyalty, are also part of a decision taken in a referendum later in 1923 by the locals in Narda expressing their wish to belong to Hungary, said Csaba Hende in the village located on the border with Austria.

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24 March 2014

French Say First Australian To Die in WWI Was Sydney’s Lieutenant William Malcolm Chisholm

French authorities believe they have identified the first Australian to have died during World War I as they prepare to honour the sacrifice made by the then “young nation” from the other side of the world.

The Australian War Memorial has long listed the first Australian fatalities of the Great War as being sailors from the Australian Navy and Military Expeditionary Force during the landing on German New Guinea in September 1914.

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13 March 2014

WWI Diaries Tell How Dummy Troops Fooled the Germans

As shells rained down on No Man’s Land and poisonous gas swirled into the trenches, a company of British soldiers stood firm. They were the timber Tommies of the First World War and they proved a vital tool in the battle to keep the Germans guessing.

The wooden cut-outs made to resemble live soldiers on the move were positioned above the trenches to trick the enemy into concentrating their defences in one area, or provoking them to open fire while an attack was launched from another direction.

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12 March 2014

WW1 German Soldier Recalls Moment He Bayoneted Foe To Death

The German Army of the Kaiser consisted of 800,000 conscripts. There were hardly any professional soldiers. Amongst these 800,000 men they had ten thousand who were called One Year’s Volunteers. That means mostly students and men with higher certification of education.

The medical students had to serve only for half a year with the Infantry. And then, after they were qualified the next half year as doctors, as Medical Officers.

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