Sunday, August 20, 2017

New Digital Archive Sheds Light on WWII Civilian Internment Camps in Singapore

The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) Collection has launched a new digital archive, Voices of civilian internment: WWII Singapore. These unique records, now freely available through Cambridge Digital Library, were conserved and digitized over a two year period with the support of the Wellcome Trust. They powerfully bring to life the experience of civilians who were interned at the Changi and Sime Road camps between 1942 and 1945 following the fall of Malaya to the Japanese. The archive will be of immense interest to the families of internees and a wide range of researchers since few survivors ever spoke of their traumatic ordeal. 

 The Cambridge University Library site provides a little background: 
The Royal Commonwealth Society Collection at Cambridge University Library has digitized the archives of two Second World War civilian internment camps established by the Japanese at Singapore, generously funded by a Research Resources Award from the Wellcome Trust.  The records are of immense interest to the families of internees and a wide range of researchers, since few survivors ever spoke of their traumatic ordeal.  The survival of this unique archive is largely due to the vision of Hugh Bryson, a career member of the Malayan Civil Service, who himself was interned.  While Secretary of the British Association of Malaysia and Singapore from 1952 to 1967, he collected original documents, diaries and correspondence of historical interest from members, and encouraged them to write their memoirs.  When the association disbanded in 1977, its archive was deposited with the Royal Commonwealth Society, and it came to Cambridge in 1993 when the University acquired its library.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, British colonial civil servants remained at their posts and civilians running businesses overseas stayed to support the war effort.  In this respect Malaya’s rubber and tin industries were particularly important.  There were plans to evacuate women and children from Malaya, but the speed of the Japanese invasion in December 1941 caught many by surprise. There was an exodus of refugees to Singapore as the Japanese advance continued.  Memoirs in the collection record the final battle for Singapore: aerial bombardment, shelling, blazing petrol stores in the harbour and the acrid smoke of burning fuel.

Missouri Gravestone Project

The Missouri Gravestone Project was created as a non-profit organization to help preserve Missouri history by acquiring digital images of every tombstone in the state.  You can search the site's database by county, surname or cemetery name.

The mission of the Missouri Gravestone Project is "to capture digital images of every gravestone in Missouri, and preserve these images and the information they provide for researchers and future generations.  This invaluable historical information, especially the older gravestones from before the middle of the last century are in danger of being lost forever, and many are already gone.  We are volunteers and this project is a "Not For Profit" organization."  

photo credit: Michelle Spencer

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the organization here.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Highlights from the 2017 MoSGA Conference

Last weekend MoSGA wrapped up another great annual conference held at the Stoney Creek Conference Center in Columbia, MO.  Participants were wowed by keynote speaker Kathleen Brandt's presentations.  She gave us all a lot to think about including a few tips on breaking down the brick walls, how to engage family members of all ages in genealogy and how to use migration paths to trace your ancestors.

Kathleen Bradt with her family history quilt
We also had great vendors who showed us new products, research options, membership possibilities and genealogy bling.  Thanks to ALL the vendors who offered door prizes.

Stay tuned to hear about the 2018 conference!

Missouri State Genealogical Association Announces 2017 Award Recipients

The Missouri State Genealogical Association (MoSGA) recognizes individuals, groups and organizations that have put forth extra effort to support genealogical research, activities, and publications in the Show-Me State. The 2017 awards were presented August 5th during the Awards Luncheon of the MoSGA Annual Conference held in Columbia, Missouri at Stoney Creek Hotel &Conference Center. The awards were presented by MoSGA Board Member Jenna Mills.

Director’s Award - ​For distinguished service over an extended period of time in support of genealogy and exceptional contributions to the field with extra effort to promote goodwill and improve service.  Awarded at the discretion of the Awards Committee. The 2017 recipient is Lana Smith of Stanberry, Missouri.

Certificate of Appreciation – Presented to an individual, group, organization or institution, expressing thanks officially for compensated duties related to Missouri genealogy and/or family history performed in an exemplary and outstanding manner. The 2017 recipient is Dan Lilienkamp of St. Louis, Missouri. 

Award of Merit – Presented to an individual, group, organization or institution in recognition of meritorious service or distinguished work in Missouri genealogy and/or family history for which no compensation was received. The 2017 recipient is Paul Barker of Springfield, Missouri. (Mr. Barker was not present at the luncheon)