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Genealogy Blog

20 May 2013

Records Show Japanese Slaves Crossed the Pacific to Mexico in 16th Century

The first documentation of Japanese people crossing the Pacific Ocean has been discovered by researchers amongst the Inquisition records in the General Archives of the Nation in Mexico. Three names were found in the document, not written in Japanese but with the word “xapon” (Japan) written after their names.

Lucio de Sousa, a special researcher at University of Evora in Portugal, and Mihoko Oka, an assistant professor at the Historiographical Institute, University of Tokyo found the rare document showing that the three, believed to be slaves owned by a Portuguese merchant named Perez.

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10 European Colonies in America That Failed Before Jamestown

The Jamestown settlement in Virginia, which officially was started on May 14, 1607, was one of the first European colonies to last in North America, and was historically significant for hosting the first parliamentary assembly in America.

But Jamestown barely survived, as recent headlines about the confirmation of cannibalism at the colony confirm. The adaption to the North American continent by the early Europeans was extremely problematic.

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10 May 2013

15,000-Year-Old Words?

Mother, bark and spit are just three of 23 words that researchers believe date back 15,000 years, making them the oldest known words.

The words, highlighted in a new PNAS paper, all come from seven language families of Europe and Asia. It’s believed that they were part of a linguistic super-family that evolved from a common ancestral language.

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7 May 2013

Colonial Settlements That Failed: Photos

Established in 1607, Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, may have helped the British gain a foothold in the New World, but it came at a high cost, as evidenced by recent research from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Fossil evidence shows that the earliest settlers resorted to cannibalism in order to survive the brutal conditions of what was known as the "starving time."

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6 May 2013

King Richard III's Teeth and Jaw Reveal Monarch's Anxious Life and Violent Death

Researchers say the skull and jaw of last English monarch to die in battle were badly damaged, lending support to reports that the blows that killed him were so heavy that it drove the king’s crown into his head.

They also conclude that Richard III may have been as anxious and fearful as William Shakespeare portrayed him – he ground his teeth with stress. Researchers also found that the king had suffered severe tooth decay, perhaps as a result of his privileged position and a sweet tooth.

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2 May 2013

America's Founding Fathers Were Essex Boys, According To Claims

A rival claim to the Mayflower by the port town of Harwich states that the ship's crew were from Essex and only set foot briefly in the West Country before starting their transatlantic voyage.

The claim has taken on extra significance as the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's voyage in 2020 nears - Plymouth has already sent an invitation to whoever is the President of the United States in seven years' time.

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18 April 2013

Australian WWI Nurses Unsung No More

Almost every Australian World War I history lesson will include an insight into how difficult life was as a soldier. Just as likely is that there will be no mention of Australian nurses who, says actress Carolyn Bock, were as inspiring as the men on the front line.

Bock, along with friend and fellow actress Helen Hopkins, utilised her theatrical prowess to co-write The Girls in Grey, a play highlighting the difficulties Australian nurses went through during the war.

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9 April 2013

Secret Athens Report: Berlin Owes Greece Billions in WWII Reparations

A top-secret report compiled at the behest of the Finance Ministry in Athens has come to the conclusion that Germany owes Greece billions in World War II reparations. The total could be enough to solve the country's debt problems, but the Greek government is wary of picking a fight with its paymaster.

The headline on Sunday's issue of the Greek newspaper To Vima made it clear what is at stake: "What Germany Owes Us," it read. The article below outlined possible reparations payments Athens might demand from Germany resulting from World War II.

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Pennsylvania Field Holds Secrets of 1780s British POW Camp

The mud of a south-central Pennsylvania cornfield may soon produce answers about the fate of British prisoners of war - and the newly independent Americans who guarded them - during the waning years of the American Revolution.

A few miles east of York, the city that briefly served as the fledgling nation's capital after the Continental Congress fled Philadelphia, more than a thousand English, Scottish and Canadian soldiers were imprisoned at what was then known as Camp Security.

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29 March 2013

Public Archives to Celebrate 375th Anniversary of the Landing of Swedes in Delaware

The year 2013 commemorates the 375th anniversary of the landing in Delaware of the Swedish ship Kalmar Nyckel. At 10:30 a.m., Saturday, April 6, the Delaware Public Archives will honor the First State’s rich Swedish heritage with a program celebrating the arrival of Swedes in Delaware.

Presented by Bill Hutchison, education coordinator for the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, this program will focus on the voyage of the ship to America in 1638 and the founding of the colony of New Sweden on the Delaware.

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28 March 2013

Forgotten Women Victims of World War II

Ahn Sehong had to go to China to recover a vanishing — and painful — part of Korea’s wartime history. Visiting small villages and overcoming barriers of language and distrust, he documented the tales of women — some barely teenagers — who had been forced into sexual slavery during World War II by the Japanese Army.

Starting in 2001, he began tracking down 13 of these women who had been stranded in China after the war. Now in their 80s and 90s, some were childless, others penniless.

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14 March 2013

Unsung Here, American Women Left Home To Rebuild France After WWI

Few people in the United States know about the hundreds of American women who left privileged lives to help rebuild France, driving trucks and building schools, during and after World War I.

But a photo and film exhibit is coming to Southwest Florida to help spread the story. The Arsenault Gallery in Old Naples is hosting “American Women Rebuilding France,” a silent film and a collection of historic photographs highlighting the humanitarian efforts made by a group of female volunteers.

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1 March 2013

The Women Who Fought As Men: Rare American Civil War Pictures Show How Females Disguised Themselves So They Could Go Into Battle

To his comrades in the Union cavalry, Jack Williams was definitely one of the boys - a hard-drinking, tobacco-chewing, foul-mouthed son of a gun. Outstanding on horseback, he was as deadly with a sword as he was around the poker table - just the sort of fella you would want by your side when the going got rough.

And for Jack it frequently did. By the end of a distinguished military career, he had fought in 18 battles, been wounded three times and taken prisoner once.

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Death On The Mississippi: The Maritime Tragedy That Cost More Lives Than The Titanic

It remains the worst maritime tragedy in US history, and cost more lives than the sinking of the Titanic, but the Sultana disaster is a story history has largely forgotten.

In April 1865, at least 1,700 people, mostly Union soldiers returning home after the end of the Civil War, lost their lives when the riverboat exploded on the Mississippi.

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19 February 2013

Mystery of Henri IV's Missing Head Divides France

Richard III may have had an ignominious resting place under a Leicester car park, but spare a thought for Henri IV. First the French monarch was disinterred from the royal sepulchre by revolutionaries and thrown into a mass grave. Then his head was cut off and – allegedly – turned up in the attic of a retired tax inspector.

Worse, while British experts have confirmed that the deformed skeleton found in Leicester is "almost certainly" that of Richard, bearing signs of fatal wounds he suffered during the battle of Bosworth, French scientists are still fighting over the disputed remains of Henri.

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