Monday, February 15, 2016

Mayday! Mayday! These Projects Need Your Help!

The Moravian Archives, which is affiliated with the Moravian Historical Society, has launched a transcription project through the use of Juxta Editions, a professional editing suite for the creation of digital scholarly editions.  Digital images of original manuscripts from the archives' collections have been uploaded, on a platform which allows individuals worldwide to transcribe, edit, and annotate each manuscript.  Those interested in helping with the project may contact the assistant archivist at  For more information visit the transcription project site.

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World War I centennial commemorations continue to be organized.  The Polish Museum of America (PMA) plans to host an exhibition in 2017–2018 honoring the Polonian recruits of the Polish Army in France, often referred to as Haller's Army.  PMA collections include the recruitment papers of more than 30,000 enlistees.  The museum's goal is to put a face to each of those names.  An appeal is being sent to Polish-American genealogists, media organizations, fraternal societies, veteran associations, and family researchers.

If you have researched a relative in the PMA Haller's Army document collection, or if you have a relative who was a member of the Polish Army in France and have a photographic image of the recruit, please send a message to with the subject line "WWI recruit - <surname>."  While donations of original photographs are particularly welcome, reproductions or scanned images will also be gratefully accepted. Your participation in the project will aid in a meaningful remembrance of those who were willing to sacrifice the most for an independent Poland.

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New Zealand also has a World War I project.  Researchers at the University of Waikato are asking for help from the public in transcribing key pieces of information from 100-year-old handwritten military records — about 140,000 personnel files.  The primary aim of the "Measuring the Anzacs" project is to analyze New Zealanders' health via data such as height and weight.  This project will also be helpful to genealogists, however, and will gather military data on the soldiers, including injuries, decorations, and prisoners of war.  As New Zealand's early 20th-century census records were usually destroyed, the project will be collecting information that might not be available otherwise.

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Donna Swarthout is working on a book of stories about people who have reclaimed German citizenship under Article 116 of Germany's Basic Law.  Her blog post of January 14, 2016 describes the book project in more detail.

Donna's family was from Altwiedermus - Gemeinde Ronneburg (Hessen) and Hamburg.  She had her German citizenship restored in 2012.

If you have reclaimed your German citizenship or are in the process of doing so and are interested in contributing your story to the book, please contact Donna by e-mail.

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During World War II, U.S. airmen who were based at RAF (Royal Air Force) Duxford in Cambridgeshire, England sponsored meals and education (and informally "adopted") seven war orphans.  Photographs and documents relating to the children were discovered during work on the Imperial War Museums' Web-based project on the U.S. armed services' presence in Britain.  The children — Brian, Donald, Jeanette, June Rose, and three siblings, Margaret, Ann, and John — were identified by first name only, and the museum is now seeking more information about them.  The BBC has a story about the search.  The American units mentioned in the story are HQ Detachment, 78th Fighter Group; HQ and HQ Squadron 79th [Fighter] Group; 83rd Fighter Squadron; and 84th Fighter Squadron.  Esther Blaine, Public Relations Manager at the museum, is asking people who know about the children to post information on the Web site.  The museum is also asking for contributions of photographs and stories of the U.S. service members who served in Britain during World War II, and of the British people whom they befriended.

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Little is known about the persecution of the Jews of Hof during the Nazi regime in World War II.  The "Jewish Citizens of Hof on Saale (Bavaria) 1933 to 1945" project seeks to produce a publication, lectures, a public memorial plaque, and possibly also an exhibit.  The publication is planned for 2017 and will be designed for use in history and civics classes in schools and adult-education classes.  The project organizers hope to teach young people in particular about democratic ideas in order to prevent future marginalization of minorities.

If you are a descendant of Jews from Hof, Bavaria, if you know any, or if you have information about them, please share what you can.  The project is looking for any kind of information about persecution in Hof:  memories, documents, photos of people and buildings.  It will gladly accommodate requests for anonymity, etc. and will do interviews by telephone or other means.

The project is sponsored by the Hermann und Bertl Müller-Stiftung (Hermann and Bertl Müller Foundation) in Hof and is supported by the Nordoberfränkische Verein für Natur-, Geschichts- und Landeskunde e.V. (North Upper Franconian Association for Nature, History, and Regional Studies), locally known as "The Long-name Association."  The project executive director is Ekkehard Hübschmann, Ph.D.  Please contact if you can help.

Hof is variously known as Hof/Saale, Hof a.d. Saale, Hof/Bayern, Hof (Saale), and Hof an der Saale.

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