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Genealogy Blog

2 October 2013

Call To Rethink Cases of French WWI 'Coward' Soldiers

A panel of French historians has called for the records of soldiers who were shot for cowardice and desertion in World War I to be rewritten. The historians' report, commissioned by the government, called for the cases of 650 men shot during the war to be reconsidered.

Many of them are "worthy and deserving of moral, civic and public-spirited rehabilitation", the report says. Veterans' minister Kader Arif has promised to consider the issue.

Source & Full Story

12 September 2013

Those Magnificent Ladies in Their Flying Machines

In the early days of human flight, a new word entered our lexicon: "aviatrix," the female version of "aviator."

These women were true pioneers, although if you asked them, they would probably tell you they were just adventurous and loved flying -same as the men who took to the air in those days. Or even today, for that matter. But for a woman to drive one of the newfangled flying machines in the early 20th century took a can-do attitude that wasn't normally encouraged in women.

Source & Full Story

10 Snapshots of British Schoolchildren During World War II

World War II had a huge impact on the daily lives of the people of Britain, but soldiers and grieving widows weren’t the only ones whose lives were irrevocably altered by the war.

Young schoolchildren in cities across Britain found themselves evacuated to the relative safety of the countryside, separated from their families and identified by nothing more than a brown paper tag.

Source & Full Story

5 September 2013

The British WWI Prisoner of War Who Returned To Captivity

A British officer captured during World War I was granted leave to visit his dying mother on one condition - that he return, a historian has discovered. And Capt Robert Campbell kept his promise to Kaiser Wilhelm II and returned from Kent to Germany, where he stayed until the war ended in 1918.

Historian Richard van Emden told the BBC that Capt Campbell would have felt a duty to honour his word. It also emerged that Capt Campbell tried to escape as soon as he returned.

Source & Full Story

27 August 2013

Your Ancestors Didn’t Sleep Like You

Ok, maybe your grandparents probably slept like you. And your great, great-grandparents. But once you go back before the 1800s, sleep starts to look a lot different. Your ancestors slept in a way that modern sleepers would find bizarre – they slept twice.

The existence of our sleeping twice per night was first uncovered by Roger Ekirch, professor of History at Virginia Tech. His research found that we didn’t always sleep in one eight hour chunk. We used to sleep in two shorter periods, over a longer range of night.

Source & Full Story

29 July 2013

Secret Code wWthin WWII POW's Letters Cracked 70 Years Later

Thousands of British servicemen were captured during World War II. They endured life in German prison camps, but a few managed to send coded letters with vital military intelligence back home.

The secret messages of one such prisoner are being revealed 70 years later. The evacuation of British and Allied troops from Dunkirk early in World War II was either a military disaster or a strategic withdrawal. Winston Churchill called the rescue of more than 300,000 troops hemmed in by the Nazi advance a miracle.

Source & Full Story

23 July 2013

World War Two Code Breaker Alan Turing Set To Be Pardoned For His Gay Conviction

The Government said it would not stand in the way of legislation to offer a full Parliamentary pardon for Turing, who helped Britain to win the Second World War as a skilled code-breaker.

Until now, the Government has resisted using the Royal Prerogative to pardon Turing for his conviction for gross indecency in 1952 because he was a homosexual.

Source & Full Story

22 July 2013

Irish Historians Team Up With Gardai To Trace Relatives of World War I Internees

Historians and the Garda Siochana are attempting to trace relatives of more than 2,600 German and Austro-Hungarian citizens who were interned in Ireland during World War I. The move is part of a major campaign to mark the centenary of Ireland's connections to the 1914-18 war.

The internment of German and Austro-Hungarian citizens on the outbreak of the war is one of the long forgotten aspects of Ireland's involvement in the Great War. But while 300 people were effectively imprisoned for no other reason than their nationality, Ireland's major involvement came when 2,300 captured German and Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war (POW) were shipped to Tipperary and Meath.

Source & Full Story

18 July 2013

Jews Should Get WWII Property Taxes Back, Says Amsterdam Mayor

Jewish Amsterdammers who were charged ground rent for their properties over the years they spent in concentration camps or in hiding during World War II should get that money back, according to the city’s mayor.

In April, students discovered that hundreds of Jews were sent the bills when they returned to their homes after the war. They should now get that money back plus interest, Eberhard van der Laan told KRO television programme Oog in Oog.

Source & Full Story

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.

Source & Full Story

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.

Source & Full Story

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.

Source & Full Story

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.

Source & Full Story

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.

Source & Full Story

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.

Source & Full Story

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