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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Entries in Britain (2)

    Monday
    Mar182013

    WDYTYA LIVE Report 4: Face to Skull with Richard III

    You don't have to be Royal Groupie to be captivated by recent headlines about Richard III. It isn't every King whose burial place is lost and then found, and whose remains are identified by scientific and historical analysis and confirmed by DNA. 

    When I heard the news about "the king in the carpark" in late January, and learned that Dr. Turi King would be presenting at Who Do You Think You Are LIVE, the biggest family history event in the world, I hoped I could get a ticket to the presentation. Luckily, although tickets were sold out early, I was able to find a place at the back of the room and catch the entire talk.

    Dr. Turi King, University of Leicester geneticist, led the audience through the project beginning with the initial search for the location of the Greyfriars' church, believed to have been the final resting place of the defeated King Richard after the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485

     

    It was interesting to learn that the site location and excavation occurred in tandem with the genealogical work of identifying and collecting DNA samples to be used for identification. Without the DNA, identification would not have been nearly as conclusive. The descendant DNA confirmed the family tree research, and provided additional evidence for Richard III's positive identification. 

    Dr. King showed photos of the excavation area, and the trenches used to locate the church and likely burial spot. When the skeleton was found and examined, first impressions showed the acute scoliosis and skull injuries that were expected on Richard's remains.

     

    Historical accounts of the battle gave evidence of the kinds of injuries suffered by Richard; these were evident in the remains. Dr. King pointed out injuries on the skull that would be consistent with someone who has lost their helmet in battle. She also pointed out several "humiliation injuries" that were typical for the time: slashes to the face, sword through the buttock, slice through the skull.  

    She also described the careful conditions used to unearth the remains to keep the DNA free from contamination. After being removed from the site, teeth were extracted from the skull for the DNA sample. Dr. King amused the audience by describing the jittery trip to a French lab carrying the teeth through Customs, and then returning with a baggie filled with white powder. 

    Following the formal presentation, Dr. King spent considerable time answering questions, and explained that under the terms of the excavation agreement, King Richard's remains will be buried at Leicester Cathedral, "the nearest consecrated ground" to the previous burial site. The exact date for reinterment has not been set, but it will take place within a pre-determined time limit. Living descendants of Richard III have petitioned to have him returned to his York homeland, but current plans call for reinterment in Leicester.

    Read more about WDYTYALive --

    Meeting the Metropolitan Police at Who Do You Think You Are LIVE

    WDYTYA Report 1: This Genealogy Event is BIG!

    WDYTYA Report 2: Exhibitors and Experts

    WDYTYA Report 3: Remember Me When This You Read

    Monday
    Mar042013

    WDYTYA LIVE Report 2: Exhibitors and Experts

    Who Do You Think You Are LIVE: Bigger Than A Football Field

    Photo Detective Maureen Taylor examined hundreds of photos at Who Do You Think You Are LIVE

    Imagine a genealogy exhibit hall just a bit larger than a football field and you have some idea of main floor at Olympia National for Who Do You Think You Are LIVE. Add two-thirds again and you have the gallery space used for more show exhibits and activity. 

    View from the gallery looking down on the main hall

    The main entrance dropped me into the center of the hall -- right? left? or straight ahead? I decided to start and one end and work my way around the room. One time around for an overview, and back again for serious investigation. Right away I noticed the many book and magazine stalls -- I counted five family history magazines and at least three major book publishers. I also noticed many many stands offering "expert" consultations for all kinds of research.

    Ancestors Magazine, taking orders for new digital magazine

    Helen Osborn, co-founder of Pharos Tutors and author of new book Genealogy:Essential Research Methods

    Oxford genealogy help from local experts

    Wiltshire Genealogy

    As I wandered the hall, I tried to snap representative photos of the kinds of products and services on offer. I couldn't help but notice the large seating areas throughout the hall where vendors and speakers maintained a steady schedule of presentations on everything from software training to research techniques. 

    Look just below the large photographs at the FindMyPast stand and
    you'll see people seated for the ongoing talks at this booth.
    It was usually standing-room-only for these lively presentations.

    The upstairs gallery was actually a wide exhibit area, and was used for lectures and photograph exhibits along with consultation areas for the photo and heirloom experts.

    Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective, at the photo expert tables.

    Eric Knowles, Heirloom Detective

    The gallery also held large conference rooms where some of the presentations were scheduled. I didn't manage to get a reserved ticket for the Richard III talk by Dr. Turi King, but I was able to stand at the back of the room for the entire talk. It's clear why this recent discovery has captured worldwide attention -- it's a fascinating story. Stay tuned for my full report and photos.

    This report is part of a series of posts about Who Do You Think You Are LIVE in London. You might also enjoy:

    Meeting the Metropolitan Police at Who Do You Think You Are LIVE

    WDYTYA Report 1: This Genealogy Event is BIG!