Leith is a district to the north of the city of Edinburgh. When local historian Fraser Parkinson was entrusted with a set of photographs showing Leith slums in the inter-war era, he knew they deserved to be shared with a wider audience. The incredible images were produced by the city authorities to show the slums of the old port prior to the ‘Edinburgh (Leith) Improvement Scheme of 1924’, which would see large swathes of the district vanish for good.
The Civil War will never end. While there haven’t been any battles in 151 years, the remnants of the war still exist and must be dealt with. Hurricane Matthew moved up the southeastern coast of the US over the weekend and caused a lot of beach erosion. The damaging storm acted like an archaeologist in South Carolina when it uncovered a potentially dangerous piece of history at Folly Beach.
This region of South Carolina was a major staging area for Union troops. “Despite the the jungle-like foliage, the soldiers constructed roads, forts, an artillery battery, and a supply depot,” stated the City of Folly Beach. This weekend’s storm uncovered a cache of old ordnance that apparently had been buried for at least 151 years.
At the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture, a small object is getting a lot of attention. An album of Civil War photos portraying 17 men of Company G, 14th Regiment, United States Colored Troops was a gift from the descendants of Captain William A. Prickitt, the white officer commanding those black troops, and the person most likely responsible for writing the names of the men in the album. These names make the album quite rare, since few of the 200,000 African American soldiers who served in the Union Army have been identified in photographs.
Here is another strong argument why libraries, archives, and museums should make digital copies of everything in their collections and store the copies off-site. During recent warfare and insurrections, tens of thousands of historical items were stolen and most apparently are lost forever. Now more than 163,000 digital pages of documents are being returned to the owners of the originals.
A digital copy is never as good as the original but it is a lot better than staring at an empty space where the original was once housed!
The following announcement was written by the Library of Congress:
Library of Congress, Carnegie Corporation provide Cultural, Historical Materials
The Library of Congress has completed a three-year project, financed by Carnegie Corporation of New York, to digitize holdings of the Library of Congress relating to the culture and history of Afghanistan, for use by that nation’s cultural and educational institutions.
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, joined by Carnegie Corporation of New York President Vartan Gregorian, presented hard drives containing more than 163,000 pages of documents to the Afghan Minister of Information and Culture, Abdul Bari Jahani, and to Abdul Wahid Wafa, Executive Director of the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University.
The Burbank Public Library has a new online web site called Burbank in Focus. It contains hundreds of hundreds of historic photographs saved by the library and by the public. Whether you are interested in browsing by collection, searching for photos of a particular person or event, or even searching by location, this is the place to celebrate the Media Capital of the World and the people who have made it great.
Burbank in Focus is available at https://burbankinfocus.org.
Genealogy information is found in many places, including on eBay. James Boling wrote:
“It all began in April 2014, as I was conducting on-line research into my maternal grandfather’s military service on the Mexican Border (1916). After many swings and misses, lo and behold, I discovered an eBay auction for a number of ‘postcards, Mexican Border, Pancho Villa.’ I immediately went to the listing and discovered four cards showing my grandfather, James ‘Harvey’ Holdeman, both in uniform and in his later career as an oil exploration geologist in Texas.
“Of course, I hit the ‘contact seller’ button, and was soon corresponding with a bookseller near Houston who had an interesting story. Here is what we pieced together:”
A Civil War soldier from Maine whose cremains were stored haphazardly at the Oregon State Hospital for nearly 100 years has finally come home. Private Jewett Williams was part of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He saw a number of battles of combat and was present at Appomattox when his commanding officer, Joshua Chamberlain, accepted the formal surrender of the Confederate army.
(Photo of Jewett Williams from the Oregon State Hospital records)
In 1922, Jewett Williams passed away at the age of 78. His remains had been stored at the Oregon State Hospital ever since. His family never claimed his body and he had no known relatives. Thanks to the Patriot Guard Riders, Jewett Williams’ final journey began August 1 and ended on Sunday after crossing 19 states to get to Maine.
An article by Robert Lowell in the KeepMeCurrent.com web site describes a potential loss for historians, genealogists, and the general public. The Gorham (Maine) Historical Society is on the verge of going out of business. The society doesn’t have a president, vice president or recording secretary. Brenda Caldwell, executive secretary and archivist, and a few core members are trying to breathe new life into it.
The society’s building houses genealogical records, documents, volumes of books, scrapbooks, town reports, school yearbooks and files with histories of Gorham people and landmarks.
Launched last week, Collage, The London Picture Map allows you to trace London’s visual history street by street. With more than 150,000 pictures mapped across the city, the digital photo archive of the city of London is a huge resource showing what London looked like over the years. Yes, if you have London ancestors, it is likely that you can now see what they saw. The project is the result of two full years of digitizing and mapping images from the London Metropolitan Archive and the Guildhall Art Gallery, which together possess the largest collection of London images in the world.
Happy 226th birthday!
One of the most valuable tools for US genealogists is the National Census that is enumerated (created) every ten years. Census results were never intended to benefit genealogists. That is simply a side benefit. The primary purpose is to reapportion seats in the House of Representatives and to to realign congressional districts. Over the years, the Census numbers also have become important for the formulas that distribute hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds each year.
The first national census took place on August 2, 1790, when marshals under the direction of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson canvased the original 13 states plus Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, and the Southwest Territory (Tennessee). They asked six questions: name of the head of the household, and number of persons in each household in these categories: free white males over 16; free white males under 16; free white females; all other free persons; and slaves.
You can see postcards that your UK ancestors may have seen from 1901 to 1910. The following announcement was written by the folks at Lancaster University:
A new public searchable database provides access to a unique and inspirational treasure trove of amazing stories and pictures through what Lancaster University researchers term the ‘social media’ of the Edwardian era.
Described by researchers at Lancaster University as the social media of its day, with features of Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Messenger and SMS texts, the ‘hands-on’ database includes 1000 postcards, written and sent between 1901 and 1910, together with transcriptions and carefully researched historical data about the people who wrote and received the fascinating cards.
We have all read about the Middle Ages, right? A time of kings, princes, knights and fair damsels in distress. It is a vision of the past that includes the splendor of great cathedrals and the brooding darkness of mighty castles. A past of banquets and battles.
There’s only one thing wrong with that vision: 95% of the people were not a part of it.
Most men, women and children were commoners. 95 per cent of the population performed about 99% of the work. This undoubtedly includes your ancestors and mine.
We rarely read about the 95% of the population who were common people. With low levels of literacy throughout much of the Middle Ages, these people did not leave written records behind. The few texts that described the common people were actually written and compiled by the priests, scribes and lawyers of the elite. They refer to the lower orders, but are most certainly not in their own words. However, many of these common folks did leave something written behind: graffiti.
During the 19th century, quack “doctors” outnumbered legit ones three to one. A growing interest in science and a booming open market proved irresistible to businesspeople who rushed to bring products with dubious medical claims to health-starved consumers. These were the people who treated (and mistreated) our ancestors’ medical woes. Among these were Wallace and Willis Reinhardt, twin brothers who helmed a kind of fraudulent dynasty in the Midwest.
After being run out of Minnesota for fear of a grand jury investigation of their faux medical institute, the brothers set up shop in Milwaukee. Under the guise of the “Wisconsin Medical Institute,” they took advantage of ailing patients, diagnosing “sexual ailments” and pushing pricey treatments on their victims. Those who were unable to travel to their office could experience the Reinhardt’s “cures” from afar thanks to mail-order books, devices and medicines.
The American Civil War Newspapers website can be a valuable resource for genealogists researching Civil War era ancestors, even those outside of Virginia. The ultimate goal of the American Civil War Newspapers website is to index newspapers from the Civil War era — Northern and Southern, Eastern and Western, urban and rural, white and black — in order to offer a balanced cross-section of opinion, observation, and experience, from all across America.
Quoting from the newspaper collection’s web site:
“For many years the newspapers of the Civil War era were probably the most neglected of all sources, and yet they are one of the richest. The reason no doubt lay in the sheer mass of them, their inaccessibility, and the fact that they were not indexed. Few if any scholars had the time or resources to spend weeks and months scanning page by page in the hope of finding something of use to their projects. Yet the newspapers are the surest windows on the attitudes of the time, despite their inevitable editorial bias.
Yes, you read that right. Photographs of Americans who fought in the Revolution are exceptionally rare because few of the Patriots of 1775-1783 lived until the dawn of practical photography in the early 1840s.
Utah-based journalist Joe Baumam spent three decades researching and compiling the images. These early photographs – known as daguerreotypes – are exceptionally rare camera-original, fully-identified photographs of veterans of the War for Independence – the war that established the United States.
You can see the photographs in an article in The Daily Mail at http://goo.gl/S3s7g8.
If one of them happens to be your ancestor, right-click on the image to save a family heirloom!
In school, I was taught that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. I was also taught that it was signed by all the members of the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. Now an article by Matthew Wills says that both “facts” are erroneous.
Wills says that Jefferson did actually write the first draft, aided by a committee that consisted of Jefferson himself plus John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston. In later years, Thomas Jefferson claimed that credit must go to Locke, Montesquieu, the Scottish Enlightenment, and the long struggle for English civil liberties.
The Fourth of July seems like the perfect day to plan genealogy research to find information about your ancestors in the 1770s. If they were in the original 13 colonies, they may have participated in the American Revolution, either as a Patriot or a Loyalist. You might want to refer to the article I published last year, How to Find a Revolutionary War Patriot, available at https://goo.gl/KAfk14.
William Shakespeare’s biography has long circled a set of tantalizing mysteries: Was he Protestant or secretly Catholic? Gay or straight? Loving toward his wife, or coldly dismissive?
Most of those questions remain unanswered but one new discovery does provide a bit of insight into the man’s personal life. New documents were recently discovered by Heather Wolfe, the Folger Shakespeare Library’s curator of manuscripts. The documents are said to relate to a coat of arms given to Shakespeare’s father in the year 1596 — a discovery that offers proof of Shakespeare’s gentlemanly status and provides researchers with new insights into his life.
ThrilList.com has compiled a list of the most famous historic houses in each state. The list includes a two-story log building built by the Russians in Alaska long before the United States purchased the territory, the Paul Revere House in Boston, the Edgar Allan Poe House in Baltimore, Maryland, the Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West, Florida, and the Playboy Mansion in California.
Today in History: 22 June 1633 (383 years ago): Galileo admits the Earth is the Center of the Universe
On 22 June 1633, the Holy Office in Rome forced Galileo Galilei to recant his view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe in the form he presented it in, after heated controversy.
You can read more about the trial at http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/galileo/galileoaccount.html.
I have to wonder what “irrefutable facts” of today will be disproven in the next 383 years. Which “absolute truths” do we believe today will be rejected by the year 2399?