Get Out Your POW Bracelet, by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak

POW Bracelet-Lt. Col. Newk Grubb, 1-26-66If you’re American and old enough to remember the Vietnam War, there’s a good chance you have a POW bracelet somewhere in your stash of possessions. I stumbled across mine a couple of months ago while I was looking for something else. Since it adorned my wrist for years (as the wear testified), I remembered the name and date well: Lt. Col. Newk Grubb, 1-26-66.

I always connected Lt. Col. Grubb to my father. Not surprising, I guess, since my father served in Vietnam the year after he was captured–and the date on the bracelet happened to be my dad’s birthday.

Flash Backs
I have peculiar recollections of the Vietnam War, compared to most. I remember crossing the days off the calendar until my dad came home. I remember going to Newark Airport in my pajamas to greet him upon his arrival–and wondering who that strange man kissing my mom was. I remember living in an apartment filled to the ceiling with boxes of soap collected for Vietnamese orphans. (Local townsfolk had kindly gathered it, forgetting that someone had to pay to ship it–which my Nana eventually did). I remember spending Christmas day roller-skating in the Pentagon when my dad was duty officer. And I remember my father having to go to Dover to identify my cousin, Dominic Scatuorchio, who was shot down in a helicopter in 1970. Continue reading

Using Searching Pre-1850 Censuses, by Juliana Smith

After last week’s column, I was determined to go back and find my Kelly family in some missing census years. I decided to focus on pre-1850 records, which I often find myself shying away from, and since I had found part of the family in 1850, I decided to move back methodically and began with 1840.

Since these earlier census records (pre-1850) only list the head of household (and identify other householders by age group and occasionally some very basic information), locating your ancestors in them can be challenging to say the least. In today’s column, I thought I’d share some tips I’ve found helpful in using these early enumerations. Continue reading

Your Quick Tips

Check for Corner Markers
When visiting cemeteries in search of long-lost relatives, check to see if the particular cemetery used corner markers to mark the lots of families. Local cemeteries in some areas of southwestern Ohio have lots marked at the four corners with the initials of the primary owner. Sometimes you may discover a “new” family member buried within the lot alongside more familiar names.

Cheryl Jordan Continue reading

Photo Corner: Jeanne M. Salzer and Fred Appleton

Jeanne Mercedes Salzer, ca. 1943-45


Contributed by Rita Barbeaux, Manistique, Michigan
Already a grandmother several times over, Jeanne Mercedes Salzer served stateside from 1943-45 with one of her duties being to photograph the civilians and process their passports for them to go overseas to entertain the troops – including one Lester T. Hope better known as Bob Hope!


Cliick on the photographs to enlarge them.

Lance Corporal Fred Appleton, ca. 1917

Private Fred Appleton, 1913Contributed by Peter Appleton
His grandfather, Fred Appleton, taken in 1913 just after he had joined the Territorial Army at age 21 as a Bandsman in the 4th Yorkshire Regiment (better known as The Green Howards).

The second photograph (right) of now Lance Corporal Fred Appleton was taken just four years later after he had served on the Western Front for two years showing a dramatic change in appearance. It clearly shows the strain that active service put on the young soldiers during the 1914-1918 war. And granddad was a Bandsman. He would have been spared the front line fighting because the band was a valuable morale booster. However, he would have been a stretcher bearer, bringing the wounded and dead back from No Man’s Land. He probably saw horrors the like of which we cannot even imagine.



The Year Was 1941

Charleston newspaper, December 8, 1941The Year was 1941 and it opened with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous Four Freedoms Speech. In this State of the Union address, the president told Congress and the country that “the future and the safety of our country and of our democracy are overwhelmingly involved in events far beyond our borders.” Following World War I, the U.S. had reverted to isolationism, with the majority of the public not favoring involvement in foreign disputes, but the tide was slowly turning as many Americans began to ponder the impact of Axis victories in Asia and Europe and wonder about the extent of their ambitions. Continue reading

Book and Movie Club: Dances with Luigi

Here’s another book review. If you have a book or movie that relates to your family history and you’d like to share it, please send it to  

I have just finished reading Dances with Luigi, by Paul Paolicelli, St. Martin’s Press, New York.  This is about a grandson’s quest to understand Italy, Italians and especially his ancestors.  I don’t have Italian ancestors, but I believe that for someone with Italian ancestors it would be very helpful.  Besides, it was an interesting read.

Ann Meisburger

Thanks for sharing this Ann!

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WWII Draft Cards Coming Soon is currently in the final stages of work on a new database collection of World War II Draft Cards. In October 1940, President Roosevelt signed into law the first peacetime selective service draft in U.S. history, due to rising world conflicts. The U.S. officially entered World War II on 8 December 1941 following an attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Upon entry into the war, a new selective service act required that all men between ages 18 and 65 register for the draft. Between November 1940 and October 1946, over 10 million American men were registered.

This database is an indexed collection of draft cards from the Fourth Registration, the only registration currently available to the public. The Fourth Registration, often referred to as the “old man’s registration,” was conducted on 27 April 1942 and registered men who born on or between 28 April 1877 and 16 February 1897-men who were between 45 and 64 years old and who were not already in the military. The WWII draft card database at will contain all the registrations that are currently available on microfilm to the public, which covers one-third of the total registrants (3,385,693 Images) from the following thirteen states: Continue reading

Revisiting Old Web Sites and Finding New Ones, by George G. Morgan

Aha! SeminarsI don’t know about you but I certainly enjoy discovering new Web sites that are rich in content. Don’t get me wrong; I have learned to regularly revisit sites that I’ve used before. Most of them are continually adding new content, expanding their offerings, and improving the ways you can work with them. Both these updated older sites and the new ones I find have the effect of reenergizing my research. Let me share a few of these with you. Continue reading