Military records can contain details that may help you move your research forward. Browse your family tree for males who would have been of an age to serve during military conflicts, including siblings and other collateral relatives. Use age as a guideline, but bear in mind that many men â€œfudgedâ€ a little to get accepted into the service of their country–some older, and some younger. Most family history programs include the option to sort your family database index by date of birth, making this task an easy one.
As you receive this newsletter, people across America will be observing Memorial Day. There will be barbeques, camping trips, family get-togethers, or perhaps home improvement chores over a long holiday weekend. Sometimes, between the hot dogs and potato salad, itâ€™s easy to lose sight of the meaning of the holiday.
This past week, Ancestry.com launched a new collection of more than 90 million military records, which are available free through the anniversary of D-Day, 6 June 2007. Among the new collections there are powerful reminders of what Memorial Day is really about.
World War II United News Newsreels, 1942-1946
My first stop in exploring the collections was the World War II United News Newsreels, 1942-1946. There were 267 newsreels produced by the U.S. Office of War Information (OWI) to promote patriotism and all of these films are now available on Ancestry.com. I spent the better part of the day on Wednesday watching some of them and was fascinated by the content.
Clearly aimed at bolstering the war effort, one film showed celebrities like James Cagney, Ronald Colman, Bing Crosby, Irene Dunne, Greer Garson, and Heddy Lamar promoting the sale of war bonds. A later clip in the same film saw other stars like Jimmy Stewart, Joe Louis, Jackie Coogan, and Tyrone Power enlisting for duty.Â Â Continue reading
Jack Larkinâ€™s new book, Where We Lived: Discovering The Places We Once Called Home. The American Home from 1775-1840 (Taunton Press, $40.00), is inspiring. His focus on the everyday lives of Americans during this period offers insights into the lives genealogistâ€™s research. In your search for records of your forefathers and foremothers, have you considered where they rested their heads each night? Take Larkinâ€™s tour of regional architecture from New England to the West of 1840 and I guarantee youâ€™ll want to know more about where your ancestors lived. Gorgeous photos and fascinating stories let us peer into the buildings our ancestors inhabited. Larkin didnâ€™t stop with houses, youâ€™ll find sidebars on schools, slave quarters, houses of worship, public structures, and even outhouses.
Itâ€™s more than an architectural history. Larkin talks about how our ancestors decorated their dwellings and he uses travelersâ€™ journals to present a first-person perspective on what it was really like inside the four walls of your great-great-grandparentâ€™s house. Noted reformer Lydia Marie Child saw overcrowding with fifteen families in one house while others viewed the more comfortable upper class estates. Continue reading
For each of your ancestors’ vital dates (birth, marriage, and death), always record the precise location as it existed at the time of the event. That means listing the town, the county or parish, and the state for U.S. events. For foreign locations, the town, province, and county should be recorded. More important, because boundaries and jurisdictions change so much over time, make certain you have the correct county or state or province or country listed as it existed when the event occurred. This is important to you for purposes of locating copies of records and important for future researchers who want to confirm your research and obtain copies for themselves.
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Living with the In-Laws
I needed to find my wife’s great-grandparents who I had good reason to think were in the 1860 census of Washington Co., Maryland. I went through the census records several times using the family name–without success. Then I tried looking for her great-grandfather using his given name. I found the family living with his father-in-law under their last name. I was able to confirm the find since I had the names and ages of their children at that time. This also confirmed the family name of her great-grandmother. I had previously found a marriage record but did not know if it was for the correct couple. Search using given names if all else fails!
Bill Shook Continue reading
The year was 1918 and around the world, “Spanish Influenza” was killing people in the prime of their lives. It’s estimated that 1/5 of the world’s population was infected and it killed between 20 and 40 million people–more than World War I, which was at that point nearing an end.
On 3 March, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk took Russia (which was under Bolshevik rule) out of World War I. The treaty turned control of the Ukraine, Finland, the Baltic provinces, and Poland to the Central Powers–the German Empire, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Not only was this treaty devastating for Russia–which lost 300,000 square miles of territory, more than 50 million people, and vast amounts of natural resourcesâ€”but removing Russia from the fighting also allowed the Germans to reposition their troops on the Western Front fighting the Allied troops of France, Britain, Italy, and the United States.
After fierce fighting in battles at Aisne, Cantigny, Vimy Ridge, Marne, and Amiens, among others,Â on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the guns were silenced after the signing of an armistice in a railway car in the forest of Compiegne.Â Continue reading
Contributed by Howard C. Mayberry, Jr., Louisville, Kentucky
On the left, my father, First Lieut. Howard C. Mayberry, Sr. (1892-1957) prior to his departure for France with the American Expeditionary Force in WWI. On the left is his father, George Alexander Mayberry (1861-1938). The second star on the banner is for another son, Alexander Lenard Mayberry.
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Contributed by Judy Linenfelser
This is a picture of my uncle Alvin Reese (Claude Alvin Reese) in full uniform. This picture was taken about 1941-42. He was born 10 Jul 1914 in Marshall, Texas, and in WWII was declared missing around 1 Oct 1944 near New Guinea. He was later declared dead without his body ever being found. He was my mother’s only brother and was the son of Claud Reese and Lillian Ruth Crowell. He never married. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on 11 Feb 1941 in Dallas, Texas. He spent some time at Ft. Benning, Georgia and then was shipped overseas to New Guinea.
Earlier this month, we posted some photographs from Kathy StrineÂ that she found in the family collection, but she’s not sure how they tie in with her lines. She wrote,
From all I can discern (as they wrote in old German) the cards were from Maria and that she spoke of John, Jacob and Lorek, apparantly the father, plus a new baby that she mentions as Hermine….Some of the cards are dated 1920 and the ones I have are addressed to Mrs Rudolf Bleidl.Â And the cards say from Maria and mother and the rest of us.Â
From all indications, this appears to be the whole family of husband and wife with the grandparents and her brother and children.
Click on the photographs to enlarge them. Click here to see more pictures from this collection and to learn more about them.