Remains of Explorer who put Australia on the Map found under Euston Station

Archaeologists excavating an abandoned burial ground under Euston Station in London have uncovered the remains of the Royal Navy explorer Captain Matthew Flinders, who led the first expedition to circumnavigate Australia in 1802 and gave the country its name. Identified by a lead plate on his coffin, Captain Flinders’ grave is one of 40,000 human burials that are being relocated to make way for the HS2 high-speed railway’s London terminus.

Today is Thomas Crapper Day!

thomas-crapperThomas Crapper was a plumber in the late 19th century who founded Thomas Crapper & Co. Ltd. in London. He is widely (but erroneously) credited with invention of the flush toilet.

Thomas Crapper’s date of birth is unknown but a record exists of his baptism in Thorne, Yorkshire, on September 28, 1836. He died January 27, 1910 so that date every year is dedicated to his memory because of all he did for England and the rest of the world.

Actually, Crapper did not invent the flushing toilet. It was invented by John Harington in 1596 but it never achieved much success commercially. Most people had never seen a flush toilet until after the 1880s. Crapper improved the design and used his skills as a shrewd businessman and salesperson to make it extremely popular. His company, Thomas Crapper & Co, owned the world’s first bath, toilet and sink showroom, in King’s Road, London, England.

Cullman County, Alabama, Historic Photographs Online

Wallace State Community College’s Genealogy online collection features photographs from Cullman County’s past for the public’s use. Wallace State’s Library has collected many other photographs over the years including an entire defunct newspaper’s archives. Those images will join the other collections on the Wallace State website at wallacestate.edu/library/genealogy.

Croom Family Reunion 1930

The David Rumsey Map Collection Places a 42×38 foot 1940 WPA San Francisco Model Online

“But my computer monitor isn’t big enough to display that!”

Seriously, if you have ancestors in San Francisco or have any other interest in the city as it existed in 1940, you will be interested in the scale model of San Francisco.

Thousands of Ottoman-Era Photographs from Turkey are now Online

If you have ancestors from Turkey, you will be interested in a new online collection of photographs. The digitization project focused on photographs from the nineteenth century until World War I (Series I–VIII), resulting in 3,750 individual records of digital files.

Pierre de Gigord Collection of Photographs of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey, 1850-1958

French collector Pierre de Gigord traveled to Turkey and collected thousands of Ottoman-era photographs in a variety of media and formats. The resulting Pierre de Gigord Collection is now housed in the Getty Research Institute, which recently digitized over 12,000 of the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century photographs, making them available to study and download for free online.

Report on Josh Duhamel’s appearance on “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. star Josh Duhamel was the celebrity guest on this week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are?. He found some unnerving information about one of his distant ancestors, including interrogation and torture.

Duhamel traveled to England to investigate the extraordinary life of his twelve times great-grandfather, Thomas Norton. A visit to the Tower of London, the U.K. College of Arms, and Cambridge University resulted in Duhamel examining numerous original documents written in the 1500s.

You can see a bit more of the program in the following video:

World War I Newspaper Clippings, 1914 to 1926, are Now Available Online

Quoting from the Library of Congress web site:

“The massive collection, World War History: Newspaper Clippings, 1914 to 1926, is now fully digitized and freely available on the Library of Congress website. The 79,621 pages are packed with war-related front pages, illustrated feature articles, editorial cartoons, and more. You can search by keywords, browse the content chronologically, and download pages.

AT&T More-or-Less Accurately Predicted the Future in 1993

In 1993, AT&T produced a series of television advertisements that surely seemed like science fiction at the time. The company proclaimed that in 25 years (that’s in 2018), AT&T would help you watch the movie you wanted to watch at any time that is convenient to you, attend a meeting remotely from your home, have telephone communications on a wristwatch, keep an eye on your home when you are not at home, and even get directions from your car. Indeed, such things were unheard of only 25 years ago.

Yet today we accept Netflix, GoToMeeting, Apple Watch, GPS devices, and many other “science fiction” capabilities as common, everyday services.

You can watch the AT&T ads in a YouTube video (who ever dreamed of YouTube in 1993?) below or at: https://youtu.be/a2EgfkhC1eo.

There were a Number of Thanksgiving Celebrations in North America Prior to 1621

As you sit down to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner, please don’t make the mistake of referring to the Pilgrims and “the first Thanksgiving.” They weren’t the first.

Spanish documents show the first recorded meal between European colonists and Native Americans happened on the grounds of what is now the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida in 1565. However, that may or may not be considered as a meal of “thanksgiving.” They fact that they ate together doesn’t automatically qualify as giving thanks.

It is believed that the first recorded Thanksgiving celebration was held in April 1598 in Nuevo Mexico, about 25 miles south of what is now El Paso, Texas (which puts it in present-day Mexico, not the U.S.)

I wrote about that many years ago in the November 25, 2002 edition of newsletter which is still available at: http://www.eogn.com/archives/news0247.htm.

The Real Story About Thanksgiving You’ve Probably Never Heard

Millions of American schoolchildren are taught that the Pilgrims landed at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620. Many of the Pilgrims died in the first few months. However, almost a year later, the Pilgrims celebrated a feast of thanksgiving to celebrate their bountiful harvest from their first year of crops.

That part of the story is true. Almost everything else we have been told about the Pilgrims’ early years  is either false or misleading.

The story actually begins in 1614, six years before the Pilgrims landed in modern-day Massachusetts. An Englishman named Thomas Hunt kidnapped Tisquantum from his village, Patuxet, which was part of a group of villages known as the Wampanoag confederation. Most of today’s history books mistakenly refer to Tisquantum as “Squanto.”

Civil War Facial Recognition

Photography was a new technology at the time of the U.S. Civil War. An estimated 40 million photos were taken during the Civil war – although only four million are believed to remain today. Many have been treated as heirloom photos by families ever since. Still others are valuable for their historical value. One problem is that many of the people shown in the old photographs have never been identified, until now.

In a marriage of the latest technology and 150-year-old technology, computerized facial recognition techniques are now identifying many of the people in the old photographs.

Computer scientist and history buff Kurt Luther created a free-to-use website, called Civil War Photo Sleuth, that uses facial recognition technology to cross-reference vintage photographs with a database and hopefully assign a name to unknown subjects.

New Suspect in D.B. Cooper Skyjacking Case Unearthed

1972 FBI Composite Drawing of DB Cooper

This isn’t genealogy. Instead, let’s file this article under “History.” Whatever the classification, I find it interesting.

On Nov. 24, 1971, a man using the name Dan Cooper hijacked Northwest Orient Flight 305 out of Portland and demanded money — a lot of it. “Do you have a grudge against Northwest?” a flight attendant asked Cooper during the skyjacking.

His response: “I don’t have a grudge against your airline, Miss. I just have a grudge.”

A U.S. Army officer with a security clearance and a “solid professional reputation” believes he has now solved the infamous D.B. Cooper skyjacking case — naming a partnership of two now-dead men in New Jersey who have never before been suspected, “possibly breaking wide open the only unsolved skyjacking case in U.S. history,” according to the Oregonian.

The evidence certainly isn’t conclusive nor is it air tight. But there are some interesting coincidences.

Over 60 Million Pages of Digitized Canadian Documentary Heritage soon to be Available at No Charge

As of January 1, 2019, 60 million pages of Canadian digital documentary heritage will be available at no charge to users. The Canadiana collections are the largest online collections of early textual Canadiana in the world. The removal of the subscription paywall will allow unimpeded access to this unique historical content for researchers, students, faculty, and all users in Canada and around the world.

The full announcement may be found in the Canadian Research Knowledge Network web site at: http://bit.ly/2PZXLyH.

International Tracing Service Adds 900, 000 Post-War Records Making Over 2 Million Records Available Online

The following is an announcement written by Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee:

The International Tracing Service (ITS) added 900,000 post-war documents online. This brings the total of number of documents freely available in the online archive to over 2 million. One can search by name. The newly added documents contain approximately 405,000 names of Holocaust survivors, former concentration camp inmates and forced laborers. They were under the care of the International Refugee Organization (IRO) in Austria, Italy, Switzerland and England after World War II.

Sometimes Things Don’t Turn Out as You Expected

I was chatting with a friend of mine this evening, using Signal, the encrypted app for cell phones that provides text messaging, voice calls, and two-way video calls.

No, that’s not me or my friend. That is a promotional image for Signal. But it looks about the same as our two-way video call of today.

For years, futurists claimed that some day we all would have two-way video phones. Indeed, we do. Signal, FaceTime, Duo, Skype, and probably a dozen or so other apps all offer 2-way-video calls today and they are available free of charge.

Still… it didn’t work out exactly as predicted. For instance, here is a woman talking on a movie producer’s vision of the future videophone in the 1955 short film The Future is Now:

720,000 Newly Digitized Historic Photos Show Where New Yorkers Lived in the 1940s

The New York City Department of Records & Information Services is home to a lot of documents and photographs; from Lindsay administration memos to crime scene photos, the expansive collection draws from 50 NYC agencies. The archives are so vast that it’s taking a while to digitize everything, but they did just release 720,000 images online.

The latest photo dump brings their 1940s tax photos online; tax photographs were taken by the City’s property tax office (or rather, by freelancers which they paid via funding from the Depression-era Works Progress Administration) as part of their assessment process. All in all, they show “every house and building in the five boroughs” from the decade, according to their press rep.

In Search of the Food Your Norwegian Ancestors Enjoyed: Lutefisk

NOTE: I am presently in a hotel room in Oslo, Norway, and will attend the MyHeritage LIVE 2018 Conference this weekend. While here, I decided to look for a restaurant that serves a traditional Norwegian meal called lutefisk. However, I haven’t found it yet. Is it still a staple food in Norway? Admittedly, I am hampered by the fact that many restaurants in Norway print their menus only in Norwegian! Also, I am here in Norway a bit early for the lutefisk season.

I have found restaurants that serve mooseburgers and reindeer burgers (It was delicious!) and steaks but no Lutefisk as of yet.

Here is what I know about Lutefisk.

lu·te·fisk \´lüd·e¸fisk, ´ lüe-\ or lut·fisk \´lüt¸f-\ also lu-de·fisk \´lüde-\ or lud·fisk \´ lüd¸f-\ n -s [lutefisk fr. Norw, fr. lute to wash in lye solution + fisk fish; lutfisk fr. Sw, fr.luta to wash in lye solution + fisk fish; ludefisk & ludfisk fr. Dan ludfisk fr. lude to wash in lye solution + fisk fish; stockfish that has been soaked in lye water, skinned, boned, and boiled

It is with some hesitation that I write about lutefisk. It reportedly is a vile tasting dish made of cod or a similar white fish, dried, then preserved, then soaked in lye (!), later soaked in plain water to remove the caustic (poisonous) lye, then cooked. All along the way, it smells like … Well, let’s just say I am told that it smells bad. Really bad.

A Dark And Fascinating History of Cemeteries

It’s Hallowe’en and we are all genealogists, right? What better way to spend this “holiday” than to study how people have buried their dead throughout the ages. You can watch the YouTube cartoon below or at: https://youtu.be/8HegwRtbDSU.

The Orphan Trains

From the 1850s through the 1920s, New York City was teeming with tens of thousands of homeless and orphaned children. To survive, these so-called “street urchins” resorted to begging, stealing, or forming gangs to commit violence. Some children worked in factories and slept in doorways or flophouses. The children roamed the streets and slums with little or no hope of a successful future. Their numbers were stunningly large; an estimated 30,000 children were homeless in New York City in the 1850s.

Charles Loring Brace, the founder of The Children’s Aid Society, believed that there was a way to change the futures of these children. By removing youngsters from the poverty and debauchery of the city streets and placing them in morally upright farm families, he thought they would have a chance to escape a lifetime of suffering.

The Genealogies of the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers Rivalry

Friends and co-workers of David Allen Lambert can tell you that he is not only a baseball fan, but also a serious baseball historian. As the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, David is in a unique location: his office is only a short walk from Fenway Park, the home (since 1912) of the Boston Red Sox. And, yes, David knows the history of Fenway Park and the Red Sox about as well as anyone else.

1916 Boston Red Sox

David has written a brief history of the rivalry of the two teams locked in a battle for this year’s World Series.