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September 2009







Friday, September 25, 2009

Hampton, not Jamestown, Alleged to be the Original Landing Point for the First Africans in Virginia

When you can reach as far back into the past as the city of Hampton, chances are that at least some people will sit up and take notice.

But even in this old seaport town, not enough people are paying attention to the unsurpassed collection of nationally prominent African-American milestones that have taken place here over the past 400 years, says Hampton resident Calvin Pearson.

The first recorded Africans in English America came ashore at Hampton's Old Point Comfort in 1619. The first recorded African-American child was born here in old Elizabeth City County about 1623. The first escaped slaves to be declared contraband of war made their way to Fort Monroe in 1861, Pearson says.

And that's just the beginning in a long litany of landmark events that persuaded him along with a cadre of other history enthusiasts to organize a festival marking the 390th year since the first Africans landed.

"It's not a celebration. It's a remembrance. It's a way to remind us that this is where black America started," Pearson says, describing this Saturday's "From Slavery to Freedom" observance.

"Hampton is the birthplace of black America. But it's unrecognized because that significance hasn't been promoted enough."

Read the rest of the story . . .

Source: Daily Press

Posted by Staff on 9/25/09 at 4:31 am EST


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Technology Helps FamilySearch Volunteers Hit Major Milestone

FamilySearch volunteers expect to have transcribed more than 325 million names by the end of 2009, just three years since the organization began its online indexing program.

The milestone was a number once thought impossible to reach in such a short period of time. In 2006, a few thousand volunteers indexed only 11 million names. But thanks to continuing advances in technology and a growing number of volunteers---more than 100,000 across five continents---an estimated half million individual names are indexed each day.

At that rate, Paul Nauta, FamilySearch public affairs manager, expects that 500 million names will be transcribed by the end of 2010.

And yet all this work barely makes a dent in the vast stores of historical records throughout the world, which grow by more than 100 million records (each with multiple names) every year.

"We are not catching up," Brother Nauta said. "In preserving records alone, there are more records created in one year than we could ever film in years with current technology."

To hasten the work of making important historical records available online, FamilySearch is continually trying to improve upon current technologies and find additional dedicated volunteers.

Over time, the Church's Family History Department has developed new ways to preserve records not only as quickly as possible but at the highest quality possible. This has resulted in specially designed digital cameras, innovative scanning technology, and new computer software.

"It is not necessarily that we want to be pioneers in this field and this technology," Brother Nauta said. "But we are compelled to do it."

Read the rest of the story . . .

Source: LDS.org

Posted by Staff on 9/19/09 at 12:18 pm EST


Monday, September 14, 2009

Ms. Gertrude Baines, Oldest Person in the World, Dies in Los Angeles at 115

LOS ANGELES Gertrude Baines, who lived to be the world's oldest person on a steady diet of crispy bacon, fried chicken and ice cream, died Friday at a nursing home. She was 115.

Baines, who remarked last year that she enjoyed life so much she wouldn't mind living another 100 years, died in her sleep, said Emma Camanag, administrator at Western Convalescent Hospital.

The centenarian likely suffered a heart attack, said her longtime physician, Dr. Charles Witt. An autopsy was scheduled to determine the cause of death.

"I saw her two days ago, and she was just doing fine," Witt told The Associated Press. "She was in excellent shape. She was mentally alert. She smiled frequently."

Born in 1894 in Shellman, Ga., Baines claimed the title of the world's oldest living person when a 115-year-old woman, Maria de Jesus, died in Portugal in January.

"I'm glad I'm here. I don't care if I live a hundred more," Baines said in November after casting her vote for Barack Obama in the presidential election. "I enjoy nothing but eating and sleeping."

The oldest person in the world is now Kama Chinen, 114, who lives in Japan, according to Dr. L. Stephen Coles of the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks claims of extreme old age. Chinen was born May 10, 1895, Coles said.

The oldest person who has ever lived is Jeanne-Louise Calment, according to Coles. She was 122 when she died Aug. 4, 1997, in Arles, France.

Baines outlived her entire family, including her only daughter, who died of typhoid.

Baines worked as a maid in Ohio State University dormitories until her retirement and has lived at the Western Convalescent Hospital in Los Angeles for more than 10 years.

"Living that long is like winning the genetic lottery," Robert Young, a scientist and senior consultant with Guinness World Records, said at her birthday party in April.

Staff at Baines' nursing home described her as a modest woman who liked to watch the "Jerry Springer Show" and eat fried chicken, bacon and ice cream. She refused to use dentures.

"I don't know how she does it. She only has her gums, no teeth," said Susie Exconde, the nursing director who found Baines dead in her bed at about 7:25 a.m.

Witt, Baines' physician, said that when he visited her earlier this week, she only complained that her bacon was soggy and arthritis was causing pain in her right knee.

Baines celebrated her birthday at the nursing home April 6 with music, two cakes and a letter from Obama.

Featured on local television newscasts when she voted last year, Baines, who is black, said she backed Obama "because he's for the colored." She said she never thought she would live to see a black man become president.

"We were hoping to have her until the next election," Exconde said. "We'll miss her.

Source: AP

Posted by Staff on 9/14/09 at 12:25 am EST



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