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Genealogy Blog

22 June 2013

The Ruins of Normandy: Unpublished Color Photos From France, 1944

The ruins left behind after warfare speak a language of their own. And, even more strikingly, no matter where the conflict has taken place — whether it’s in northern Europe or the South Pacific, the Middle East or Central Africa — the vernacular of destruction is very often the same.

Buildings reduced to rubble and dust. A scarred, tortured landscape seemingly devoid of any life at all, aside from small human forms trying to piece it back together. Twisted, rusting, abandoned vehicles. And always, above it all, the silent, indifferent sky.

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17 June 2013

Alleged Nazi SS Commander Found Living in Minnesota

Polish prosecutors have pledged to help U.S. investigators bring to justice a 94-year-old man living in Minnesota, who is accused of being a former commander of a Nazi SS unit responsible for killing scores of women and children during World War II.

A lengthy investigation across six countries led the Associated Press to discover Michael Karkoc living quietly in Minneapolis. Karkoc is accused of leading the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, an organization whose members massacred civilians and resistance fighters throughout Ukraine and Poland and helped suppress the Warsaw Uprising.

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29 May 2013

'The First Chinese American' is chronicled in first biography

A new book by Washington, DC author Scott D. Seligman traces the life and times of Wong Chin Foo (1847-1898), an early Chinese American journalist, lecturer and political activist.

Just released by Hong Kong University Press, The First Chinese American: The Remarkable Life of Wong Chin Foo fills in a forgotten chapter in the struggle for equal rights in America.

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21 May 2013

Plague Helped Bring Down Roman Empire

To help solve this mystery, scientists investigated ancient DNA from the teeth of 19 different sixth-century skeletons from a medieval graveyard in Bavaria, Germany, of people who apparently succumbed to the Justinianic Plague.

They unambiguously found the plague bacterium Y. pestis there.

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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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