Mail Call 1945

Edward Endres. Courtesy Endres family

Edward Endres.
Courtesy of Endres family

 

This is a continuation of my post Mail Call 1942 and Mail Call 1943. I would advise you to start reading in Mail Call 1942 to get the complete story. I purchased about 200 letters at an auction and discovered that the letters told a great story. It was about a family, a time, a way of life, of sacrifices that were made for future generations, and perhaps most of all about love.

We were forced to start in 1945 as I have only one letter in 1944. A few weeks ago I noticed more letters from this family were being offered at auction. I went to try and purchase them. However when the bidding went to $50.00 I had to drop out. A decision I regret very much now. But more about that later. I talked to the lady who bought them and she is an antique dealer. She plans to sell them off in her shop. She was not sure if as singles or as a package. I believe many of the letters from 1944 were in that group.

The first letter in 1945 is from George Endres to his father Baptist Endres. It is dated 13, January, 1944 but, in fact, it is 1945. The confusion of the date is understandable considering the event of the previous weeks. We find that George has taken part in perhaps the American army’s greatest battle, The Battle of the Bulge. He has taken part in the defense of St. Vith. A nasty blood bath that was a part of this great battle. The result a badly out numbered and out gunned group of American soldiers held off at least two German armies for about five days. George in his letter writes the following.

Somewhere in Belgium

 Dear Pa, … Now that censorship has been lifted I can tell you about the battle we were in all by our lonesome at St. Vith. I guess I aged about five years in a few days. We were called all the way from Germany & drove into the town to try and check that whole German drive. The Germans threw a couple of armies against us but we held like a stone-wall for five days. The German drive was split in half. We went out of one end of town with our aid-station & the Germans came in the other. That night the town was all ablaze. For a time I didn’t think we would make it. The German radio said that the 7th Panzer U.S. Division was cut to pieces but we’ll be around to give them many a jolt in days to come…. Well, Pa I am well & so far so good. Take care of yourself & someday I hope to see you again. Your son George.

George’s next letter is once more to his father. If you read between the lines of these letters you can see that the carnage of war and his own mortality is now a horrible and constant part of his life. It is dated 15, January, 1945.

Dear Pa, Just the usual few lines to let you know I am O.K.. Things are about the same here. Life as usual is pretty rough & winter is very much in evidence….Am cold most always….Had a few spare moments today so thought I would write. A fellow never can depend too much on the future & I do want to write to you as often as possible. …Lola writes every day, but the service is poor due probably to the weather & the greater need for other things. The war picture does look good & the Germans are being driven back pretty steadily. Even in the Pacific the news is real good. …I may not be able to write so often all the while but don’t you worry. I’ll try to keep in touch with you. Maybe with a little luck I’ll be home Christmas. I do hope so. Be good. As ever your son George.

 

Mass in the forward area. This is not the beautiful St. Francis de Sales Church. George's hometown church. But I am sure prayers were never said with so much faith. Note the weapons beside the soldiers . George is in the background.

Mass in the forward area. This is not the beautiful St. Francis de Sales Church. George’s hometown church. But I am sure prayers were never said with so much faith. Note the weapons beside the soldiers . George is in the background.

 

February finds George a little better off. In a letter dated the 24th, George writes to his father the following.

Dear Pa, … It still seems much like Spring here. The snow has been gone for a couple of weeks now. Received a letter from Eddie dated February 7th. He just got back from a furlough to Naples. Ed said he didn’t have a very good time….Things will never seem like home over here regardless of where you go. My mail has been coming along a lot better. Lola’s latest letter was dated February 12th. I also received 22 newspapers from home & that gave me a chance to catch up on local news in my spare time….I go through them from one end to the other & I don’t miss very much…. Got two bottles of Coke yesterday. Pretty good. Your son George.

 In March and April a hope for victory is vibrating through George’s letters. In a letter headed, Somewhere in Germany, 2 April, 1945 he writes the following.

Dear Pa, How are you these days? Hope you are well. I am fine….I doubt very much if the war will last more than a couple of months now. It really does look very good with our troops and the Russians deep in Germany. there probably will be some battles to come but the Germans can no longer win. Guess they shot their wad when they invaded Belgium last December…. Take good care of yourself. Hope by this time next year I’ll be able to see you again. Bye. Your son, George.

 Somewhere in Germany, 8, April, 1945. Dear Pa, Just a few line to let you know I am O.K. so far…. Haven’t heard any real late war news. It all seems good though. I hope to see it end by Fall. We still are having rough times and there are bound to be more ahead. Germany’s battle is a losing one and I’d like to see it end soon…. Well Pa I’ll say goodbye once more. Hope to be able to write again soon. Take care of yourself. Your son, George.

George at his Aid Station in Germany.

George at his Aid Station in Germany.

Once the peace was won in Europe, George had a new worry.

Eilenbug, Germany, 2, June 1945. Dear Pa, how are you getting along these days? Hope you are well…. Have no idea what will happen to me. Eventually, I’ll probably be going to the Pacific. Looks like we shall be here for a while yet anyhow. Perhaps a couple of months or longer. I’m hoping to get home on a furlough first. Most of the combat outfits are going that way…. Your son, George.

By looking at this envelope you can see that Eddie Endres is on his way home.

By looking at this envelope you can see that Eddie Endres is on his way home.

 

We are at the last of the letters. Eddie is home or on his way by now. George never had to fight in the Pacific, to his relief and to the relief of all the collective servicemen in the armed forces. The best information I can find shows that George’s unit was inactivated in Virginia on October 9, 1945. So it does look like he made it home to his family and into the arms of his wife Lola for Christmas. So it looks like Lola finally got her wish that she expressed to George in a letter dated May 7, 1943.

 I love you and miss you so, that’s old news to you now. Take care of yourself, Hon. If you only were here so we could talk together. I’ll be so glad when I can see you again. Goodnight Hon. All my love, kisses your loving wife.

 When I first bought these letters I did what most of us do in our own family genealogy. With the help of my granddaughter, we read each letter wrote down the names given and tried to see how they were all related. Then I checked Ancestory.com to see if anyone was researching this family line. Also, we were able to get many family records from ancestory.com. We obtain United States census records for the family. I also got a copy of the passenger list for Baptist and his family when they left Germany in 1900 to come to America. I have also Baptist’s passport application that shows he became a U.S. citizen in 1906. World War Two army enlistment papers for George and Edward also were found. I also found the Social Security Death Index for members of the family. A Google search also turned up where many members of the family were buried. I was unable to find very much information in newspapers that were digitized in the area. I could not find any detailed obituaries and for most of the family none at all.

 

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Herkimer’s Library, a very helpful place.

 

So Nicole my granddaughter and myself went to Herkimer the Endre’s hometown to see if we could discover any new items for our research. Our first stop was at the public library, which proved to be a great help. The staff was so helpful and seemed to care that we find what we were looking for. For anyone doing genealogy research, I always advise to make a trip to the local library of the area you are researching. If a trip is out of the question then use the phone and tell them what you are looking for. Herkimer’s library had a small room that they keep their genealogy records in. As a result, we were able to obtain full and detailed obituaries for most of the family. Everyone should make an effort to support their local libraries as much as possible.

George and Lola on their wedding day. Nov 22, 1942

George and Lola on their wedding day. Nov 22, 1942

We learn that Lola and George were married for 49 years before the were separated by George’s death in 1991. They had two daughters. George continued to teach and was very active in school events. He also worked with the Boy Scouts and taught hunter training classes. Lola passed away in 1999.

 

George, Baptist, and Edward Endres. Courtesy of Endres family

George, Baptist, and Edward Endres. Courtesy of Endres family

Edward married Beatrice in June 1945. They must have gotten married as soon as Eddie was out of the army. Bea was to work as a surrogate’s clerk at the Herkimer County Court until 1976 when she retired. Eddie was to work at Remington Arms for 37 years, retiring in 1978. He was an avid fisherman and member of the Ilion Fish and Game club.

However, the best news was that through my efforts in contacting people who were researching this family I was contacted by a cousin. He put me in touch with Lola and George’s daughters. They had no idea about the letters, and it all was a surprise to them. They wrote to me in part.

My dad was a teacher, first teaching in a 1 room school house north of Utica, then over 30 years at Owen D. Young School , in Van Hornesville. During the summers he loved to fish along the creek behind our house, walk up the hills surrounding the town and pick wild strawberries, wild raspberries, and wild black berries and share them with the neighbors. He was a boy scout leader and so appreciated by the community and his students. My mom was kind and gentle, raising my sister and I with love and caring… Again, finding these letter after 70 years is extraordinary! Wish we could write a book, to let people know that surprises can happen when you least expect it……and can bring happiness, in learning more about the lives of their parents through letters lost until now.

George and Lola's little girls

George and Lola’s little girls

We are to meet soon, and the letters will be returned. They will reimburse me my cost in buying the letters. I now wish that I had bid until I won that auction for that second lot of letters. However, in my defense I had no way of knowing what a happy ending this would be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mail Call 1943

My granddaughter reading and researching the letters.

My granddaughter reading and researching the letters.

This posting is a continuation of Mail Call 1942. If you have not read that posting, I will advise that you should. This is a story of a family and their lost letters of World War Two.

The end of the year 1942 brought to a close America’s first full year in the war. As the number of American causalities begins its’ slow, sorrowful climb, Americans start to gird themselves for a long and uncertain war. Rationing was the law across the land. The last automobile was made with no more produced until 1945. The “Dear John” letter was named for all the broken relationships that were done by mail. Our soldiers were to learn to appreciate Spam, powered eggs, and other culinary delights courtesy  of the  armed forces.

The first few days of January finds Lola sick, and bed ridden. She writes on January 11, 1943

“The doctor just left. I’m swell. I wanted to go downstairs, but he won’t let me get up until Wednesday. Isn’t he mean? My temperature went down to normal about 3 this morning. Mother slept with me all night. Its normal now, so, I’m fine. He said I had tonsillitis. My throat has even gone down to normal. He doesn’t want me to have a relapse, so I have to stay in bed. Yesterday my temperature  was up a bit above normal it was just 102, he said. … Father McCarthy is sick again. I wasn’t to Mass myself, but they said another priest was there.”

Father McCarthy from the letters I have read was a friend as well as a spiritual advisor. I found in the letters a strong belief in God. Letters were anticipated and read and re-read daily. A typical start to a letter is given in this letter from Lola to her George.

“My Dearest Husband, OH! Honey I received the longest and grandest  letter from you today. Gee it was swell. I’d never in a million years be able to write so much in one letter. Really. I don’t know how you do it.”

St. Francis de Sales Church Photograph by Nicole Moore.

St. Francis de Sales Church
Photograph by Nicole Moore.

The picture above is of St. Francis de SalesChurch in Herkimer, New York. This was the faith center for the family. In the letter below dated February 24, 1943, we learn of the death of Father McCarthy.

“My Darling husband…. I went up to church to see Father he looked awfully nice. I might go to the funeral tomorrow.” On February 25, Lola writes the following. “My darling husband. It’s the old woman again…Today I got out of work at ten o’clock. Miss Papeno and I went over to the funeral. Was it ever crowded, only 800 were there, including nuns, priest, and people. I rode back with her too, so, I was in time for work this afternoon. Sure, am getting around with my boss. She was a close friend of Father too. I use to have more fun with Father. I’d say anything to him. Rita was right when she told you, I did. I use to tell him I would get lipstick on him, golly, he’d laugh. I could get away with anything I’d said. I could tell him joys, troubles, and everything he was always the same.”

On Friday, March 5, 1943 Lola wrote her husband the following.

“My darling husband, hello hon…. Father Kehoe from Mohawk is taking Father McCarthy’s place. You probably have seen him. I saw in the paper tonight where we can eat meat for the duration except Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.”

Catholics at that time had to reframe from eating meat on Fridays. This is what Lola is talking about. George was to receive a letter from his brother Edward, who was stationed in England. It still showed how naive many of us was at that time. Date of the letter is March 8, 1943.

“Dear George, Received your letter of February 14, yesterday and as usual was glad to hear from you…. Rationing must be getting plenty tough in the states according to your letter. I doubt that they will draft all men 18 to 38 at the end of this year because I don’t think the war will last that long.”

On April 17, 1943 Lola writes to George a letter that may give a hint that his brother Edward is on the move and may be heading toward the front lines. She writes the following.

“My Darling Husband,… Today Bea received  a card from Eddie. Remember my telling you about Rick being over there? Well, Ed wrote a card to Bea and had him mail it when he got back in the states. It was from Baltimore. He told her not to worry as he wasn’t near a combat area. Rick must have just left there, you know he’s in the Merchant Marine. Please don’t mention it to anyone. It might get them in trouble. Bea said they aren’t suppose to take mail like that…. Maybe, hon you better burn this letter.”

Edward writes to his father. In all of his letters he tells the family he is in a safe place.

Edward writes to his father. In all of his letters he tells the family he is in a safe place.

The letter shown above was written on a very important date. It also showed that Edward was where the action was. Edward was with the 815 Engineer Aviation Battalion. Their job was to build and repair airfield runways. The 815th arrived in North Africa on November 8, 1942. They were to go to Sicily August 10, 1943 and was with the action in Italy on September 28, 1943. They were not to return to the United   States until May 1945. Edward was to spend just days short of three years overseas. Much of it in combat areas. The date of the letter is they day that Germany surrendered in North Africa. Estimates put Germany’s losses at one million. It seems that the word has not gotten to Edward yet as he says nothing about it in his letter. He writes.

“Dear Pa, Just a few lines to let you know I’m safe and well. I haven’t been able to write anyone in the past few days as we were busy moving. …I’m glad to hear you saw Jack Rich, so you know just about how it is over here. Don’t worry about me as I am still in a safe place…Eddie ” 

 In a letter dated July 24th, 1943 George writes home to his father  You can feel the concern he has for his brother. But only gives a casual mention of it in his letter. I am sure he does not wish to upset his Father any more than he must be already.

“Dear Pa, hope you are well and getting along ok. Lola always mentions that you are fine…. Haven’t heard from Ed since June 15. I suppose he has moved again since that invasion of Sicily started. The way it looks now the war with Italy will be over soon. The Italians never seemed to really want to fight anyhow. Hope Ed gets through this battle in good shape. Once the boys get busy on Germany from one side, and Russia on the other side war won’t last too long. I sure feel a lot better if the European war would be over, and I expect it will by next year at the latest. I expect to see everything finished in a couple of years. Guess, if it wouldn’t take any longer, I could stand being away from home for that length of time. Your son, George”

This is the picture Lola sent to George.

This is the picture Lola sent to George.

I was about this time that Lola sent George a picture a friend took of her. This is the photograph shown above.  Edward wrote his father From Sicily August 22, 1943. He tells of a conversation he had with German prisoners. Given his German heritage I wonder if he spoke with them in the German language. He writes.

“Dear Pa,  How are you today? I am fine and just got back from church a little while ago. The bishop said mass in a little chapel near camp…. I talked to some prisoners after Tunis fell, and they thought they still held Algeria and Oran. One guy asked me what I thought about the German bombing New   York. When they are filled full of that “bunk” it is no wonder they keep on fighting.  Eddie”

George was being kept busy training all through the year. When he had finished at Camp Polk, Louisiana he was sent to California for desert training. From there he was sent to Fort BenningGeorgia. He was to rise in rank from private to sergeant. He has been looking forward to a furlough for some time now. The letter below he is talking about his third attempt to get his furlough. He writes to his father on September 23, 1943.

“Dear Pa,… I’ve been pretty busy lately for five of us were transferred on Monday. It came as a surprise for I didn’t expect it for a week or two longer. I am a real doughboy now for we are in the infantry the roughest and toughest , outfit in the army. So far I am still in the dispensary, and it isn’t too bad. I don’t know what is going to happen next. As you probably know by now, I haven’t had my furlough date decided on. It was all changed by the transfer. I sent Lola a telegram that I wouldn’t leave Sunday. She has probably told you by now. Boy, it sure was a big disappointment for me. I haven’t gotten over it as yet. This outfit isn’t giving furloughs for they are out guarding German prisoners. George.”

In a letter dated December 24, 1943 from Ed to George it seems that the furlough never came through. Instead, Lola went to Georgia to steal some time together. From Italy Edward writes.

 “Dear George,… Tomorrow is Christmas but with the exception of the turkey dinner it will just be another day. Did you have a good time when Lola came down?… I got a swell picture that I’m keeping of a Jerry air raid. It was taken one night and you can see the flares they dropped and the sky full of tracer bullets.  Eddie”

We come to the end of 1943. The family is scattered all over the globe. While not being shown in this write up they have brothers, uncles, and many cousins engaged in the fighting of this war. Please look for my next posting Mail Call 1944 / 1945 in the next few days.

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MAIL CALL 1942

War time letters of the Endres family.

War time letters of the Endres family.

On February 23, 1942 a letter from Ilion, New York was mailed to Private George Endres  at Camp Polk, Louisiana. George’s profession was teaching. However now he was trying to keep up with the whirlwinds of military life in war time. Almost 72 years later this letter along with 196 others were heaped in box to be auctioned off. This auction of letters was sandwiched  between auction lots of dishes, old knives, lamps,  mason jars, and other such household items.

Who were these people who’s deepest thoughts, fears and their great love for each other, was now on public display? A winning bid of forty dollars was to lead me on an exploration of some real heroes in their time. These letters would teach me once more the human cost of war and how strong the ties of love for country and family can be.

A letter home to Pa.

A letter home to Pa.

George’s younger brother Edward Endres was training at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. In a letter home to his father, Baptist Endres, Edward describes some of the training he is receiving.

“Dear Pa…

                   Monday morning we get up at 3am and go out to the rifle range and shoot for record. This week was one of the toughest weeks yet. We worked 22 hours one day and 17 hours another. I don’t mind it for a change but I wouldn’t care for it as a steady diet. They are still chasing us around with tanks and now they even dive on us with airplanes. I wonder what the hell they will think of next.”

Edward was training to be an army engineer.  The brothers and their sister Helen, who was married and living in Troy N.Y,. were very close to their father. Anna, their mother, died in 1940 at only 59 years of age. Both mother and father were born in Germany. All the children were born in Herkimer, New York. A quick check on ancestory.com provided many records for Baptist. From his passenger list I learned he sailed to America from Hamburg, Germany on August 26, 1900. He was 17 years old when he crossed the ocean. He was married four years according to the 1910 census. Helen, their oldest child, was three years old and would have to wait  till 1915 for her brother George, to come along. Edward would be born in 1920.

Address to send mail to.

Address to send mail to.

On September 5, Edward wrote to George that he was now in England.

“Dear George,

                       I arrived safely in England and everything is fine. The climate here is cloudy and very damp. Did you hear how Pa is getting along? You probably won’t hear much from me as it takes a long time for mail to get there. Your letters will get to me quicker by air mail. Have you heard from Helen lately? Things are going fine with me, so don’t worry about me. I suppose you will be shoving off soon. Is there anything new happening back home? Probably Bea will write to me as soon as she gets my new address. Take it easy and I hope you can stay where you are for a while yet. Good luck Eddie.”

Bea, whom he mentions in the letter, is the girl he hopes to marry after the war. As you can tell by the letter, Eddie is anxious for news from home and letters. The card pictured above is to let people know of his new address. The APO number is the post office that will get his mail. It is done this way, so his exact whereabouts is unknown.

Pictures of friends and neighbors going to war.

Pictures of friends and neighbors going to war.

Starting in October of 1942 I am introduced to Lola Keddell. I quickly learn that she and George are engaged to be married. Lola sends news clippings in her mail. Above is one such news clip. She points out the people they know. In a letter dated Sunday, October 11, 1942 she writes,

“My dearest George,

                                 Hello hon. How is everything today? Hope you are well. This morning your aunt phoned me, and said your Uncle Lawrence wanted me to come up to dinner with Bea. It was simply delicious. She had potato balls, I never had them before, but were they ever good, roast pork, and brown gravy, salad, sweet pickles, coffee, and cinnamon buns, I think you call them. Everything was grand.”

She closes the letter in the following manner.

“Hon take care of yourself. You know I love you with all my heart. I wish you were here tonight and every night. It seems, I haven’t seen you in ages. It was two months yesterday I went down to see you. I was looking at your old letters when I came home this afternoon. I really enjoy doing that once in a while. Goodnight love. All of my love and kisses your Lola.”

She has 41 X’s to close out the letter. It is easy to read between the lines to hear the sorrow of separation and the underlining of fear. In December,  I noticed she no longer uses her Maiden name of Keddell. She now is Mrs. George Endres. George was able to come home to Herkimer, and they got married in the family church, St. Francis De Sales, in Herkimer, New York. In a letter to George dated December 5, 1942, Lola in part writes the following.

My Darling husband,…

                                      Honey I am getting so anxious to see you once again. Golly, Its swell. This time, I am going down to see my husband. Hon, I love you more and more every day.

In a letter dated December 19, 1942 Lola, seems to be getting her wish to see her husband. Also, she seems to be getting a little mischievous.  She writes in part the following.

“My Darling Husband,

                                      As for me getting thin i think I’m getting fat, at least, I haven’t lost any weight. Honest, “Doc” do you want to examine me? I really will let you now….

I will have to let you know when I see you Wednesday night how long I can remain with you. Hon really it doesn’t seem possible I’m leaving Monday night. I am so happy I can be with you. Our Lord, is so good to us I know He always be too, if we have faith in him. Darling I will say goodnight for now I will write you a letter tomorrow. Your loving wife Lola.”

George was named “Doc” as he was training to be a medic. He was also called “Prof” as he was a school teacher before the war. I will be posting Mail Call 1943 in a few days. We will see how the family is doing as the war heats up.

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Left Behind Family History: Part Two

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This is a follow up to a post I did last summer. I am doing this because I wanted to see if the disregard of family heirlooms is as widespread as I thought. It wasn’t. It was worse! My granddaughter Nicole and I spent the summer months photographing these lost heirlooms. The few pictured here were picked from almost a thousand photos. So I am going to let the pictures tell the story. The picture at the top of this post was taken at an outdoor flea market. I could not help trying to imagine how they ended up at an outdoor flea market. This next picture was taken at a church rummage sale. The frame was for sale for twenty-five cents. When I looked behind the picture of the Marine, I found two others behind it. The name on the back of the three  photos confirmed they were all of the same young man. I can’t help but wonder what happened.

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I was dismayed to find so many wedding pictures that had been discarded.  Families draw together at weddings. These could be a major find of one’s relatives. Below you will see two such wedding photographs.

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I found discarded yearbooks everywhere. They were priced from five dollars and up. Pictured below are just some of the hundreds of yearbooks that I found over the summer.

I would love to have any of my relatives school yearbook. I would be happy for any, grade school, high school, or college.  Not only would the pictures be welcome but the sentiments  written in the yearbook would be nice to read. A year book could make a relative you scarcely knew come to life or give you some insight on a relative you thought you knew very well. 

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The next picture is of a championship sports team that was taken in 1950. So in this picture is somebody’s father, grandfather, and maybe a great grandfather. This is a great picture of young men in their prime. I wonder if their descendants ever think about them in this context. If they had this picture I am sure they might. 

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The next few pictures were taken in a photographer’s studio. They are someone’s ancestor and should be with the proper family.

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This next photograph is of two fun loving people. They seem to be on a roof top as they strike their pose for the photographer. Wish I could find some pictures like that in my family.

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The next picture was perhaps my best and worst find. The best because of the great story it told. It was about a soldier in World War One. It had pictures of his family and his buddies in the army. Notations on the edge of the map were about places he had been and battles fought. Cartoons of the day were displayed that related to his experiences.  It was rather large but what a great story it told. It was my worst find because somehow this great heirloom has been lost to his family.

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The following pictures show boxes and boxes of lost family history. Most of you put in much time and labor into your genealogy. What have you done to make sure that this will not happen in your family? How do you know that all of your work will not be lost? What have you done to secure documents and pictures from family members? Pleas leave a comment. Share your thought on this. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Dissapearing Females

Monty Wedding Picture

Monty Wedding Picture

The above photograph shows my wife’s grandparents, Edward Monty and Ruby Gonya, on their wedding day. I offer my apologies to Grandmother Monty as she was not the type to fade away in the background, in fact, just the opposite. I would also like to thank my granddaughter Nicole for her work on the above photograph to get the desired fading effect.

A comment made by a reader of this blog is the inspiration for this posting. They had written that they have had difficulty in tracing their female ancestors.  Something that I have also had to deal with and I am sure many of you also have had this problem. So I am going to give some hints and advice on what I have done to trace my disappearing female ancestors. Everything listed below I have used with different degrees of success.

Lets face it in the not to distant past females left very little records to chronicle  their life story. Many never stepped out of their homes except to attend to the needs of the family. But many held sway with their husbands and most of all were a great influence on the children. Without a doubt  when we discover their family line we will discover  much new history and stories to enhance our family narrative. The first place  we should look is at our home and the homes of our living relatives. Search out photograph albums, pictures. Record the names that you find. Also, old letters and greeting cards are items to seek out and study. While doing this once, I found an address book over 50 years old. Not only were many long past relatives named but birth and wedding dates were noted for many. You never know what will turn up. You might even find a family bible with all sorts of family information. Once again on whatever you do find make careful notes on the names you find. You maybe surprised where these names could take you.

Death can produce many records in which we can use to gather information on our female ancestors. Death certificates can hold much information. The information that is given in the death certificate is only as accurate as the person giving the information. Below is a partial death certificate for my great grandmother. The information that I needed as you can see was not provided. The person giving the information was her son. I find it surprising that he did not know the answers.

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Many funeral homes have extensive records about the funerals they have handled. However, the condition in which they take and keep the records can vary to a great degree. I was lucky to find that the funeral home that serviced my great grandfather printed much of their early records and even gave copies to a local genealogy society. Here is part of the page that my Great Grandfather Charles Dakin is listed. Even though this is a funeral for a male look at the information you gather in search of your female ancestor.

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Obituaries can often be a great source of information. Both the obituary for the husband and wife should be checked out. Most will give the maiden name of your ancestor or list the names of her brothers. That could be a good lead for you to follow. Many old obituaries may look like this one. This is for my Great Aunt. This would be enough to make you bang your head against a wall.

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Cemeteries are a great place to get information on your female ancestors. Some gravestones will show the maiden name. You should also make notes on the nearby gravestones as families tended to be buried together. These names could be a great help later. Check with the cemetery office as they may be able to give additional information about your ancestors.

Check the Social Security  Death Index. this also may be of some help. The Social Security application for a card is a document that you can request. They do charge a fee for this service. The last time I did this it cost I believe about $25.00. The cost has gone up I am told.

Birth can also produce many records for us to investigate. Birth Certificates can give us much information. If you can get your hands on your female ancestor’s birth certificate that would be great. But that might not be possible to do. How about her children’s birth certificate? Most of the ones I have shown the mother’s maiden name. Do not give up if the information is missing on one  child’s certificate, try another sibling. The information you want could be on that one. Birth announcements in newspapers may give you the information you’re looking for. In many newspapers if the parents are married they give the maiden name of the mother.

Marriage records such as a marriage license or marriage certificate may contain the information that you are looking for. This is part of a marriage record for my Grandparents. As you can see the information, it gives could solve the mystery of your female ancestor.

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Church records are another important place to research. You could find marriage records, baptism records, membership records, confirmation records, burial records, (if buried in the church’s  cemetery)  and even Sunday school records. This is part of my baptism record which once more shows why you should research the children of your ancestor.

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Census records are also a gold mine for information on your female ancestors. Her mother or sibling may be living in the same household. Look at the names of the neighbors, any familiar names?  Every census taken during their life should be studied for information concerning her family. Make copies or detailed notes as you never know when they could come in handy.

Another helpful source is court records. Here you can find wills, probate records, deeds, property records, divorce, marriage and criminal records can be found at the county court house. I have gathered much information for my family research at the county court house.

Newspaper searches are a great way to add to your family history and to find out more about your female ancestors. Society pages were at one time a very big part of the local newspaper. This was a place where your ancestors would be mentioned, especially your female ancestors. Many newspapers have digitized their  old newspapers. Also, some libraries have started to do this. Many of their web sites are free and easy to navigate. But you should also strongly consider using at least one paid national newspaper web site. Also do not just look up your female ancestor but her husband and children. By doing this you may be able to break through that brick wall. Here is just part of a long newspaper article about my wife’s father. It is in the end that much information is given about the family and in someone’s case could have been a big breakthrough.

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Military records are another place to search for your female ancestor. They could file on her husband’s or unmarried son’s military service when they died as a result of their military service. They would have to prove the marriage and such records had to be sent in. The applications can be obtained through some subscription sites and at the  National Archives.  http://www.archives.gov/

Ancestry.com and Family Search.org are two great places to do research. Family Search is free and open to all. Ancestry.com is a paid subscription site that many libraries have free access for their members. If you do not use these sites, you are short changing yourself in your genealogy efforts. Also use search engines to search out your ancestors. Try different wordings and arrangements  when your search these engines. By this, I mean use initials; link  name and  places lived. Use with husband or children also.  This could give you better results. Research other relatives living at the same time as your female relative and keep moving toward the current time. You may find a new cousin that has all the information that you are seeking.

Finally if your efforts come up short and you are no closer to having your questions answered, put your notes away for a month. Then take them out again and start all over. Genealogy is not easy, so you must be willing to do the work. I have some ancestors that I have been working on for decades. But the satisfaction you get when at last you have found the answers is incredible.  So don’t be discouraged as new information is coming to light every day.

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Old News Is Good News

Newspapers, we use them for all sorts of reasons. My wife will read the obituaries before she reads anything else. I like the comics the best. We both like to look for garage and estate sales. The daily paper is a good source of what events are coming up in the community , and of course for both local and national news. However, once read a newspaper has little use and is quickly tossed in the recycling bin.
A day old paper is stale and of little use. So what use would be a paper that’s 25 years old, or 50 years old, or even a 100 years old? Plenty if you happen to be a genealogist.

The newspaper clipping shown at the top is of Robert Lyon, my wife’s father. This is a great picture of him at work. This clipping was discovered by doing research in old newspapers. We all look for obituaries, weddings, and birth announcements in newspapers. But that leaves out so many news items that we can find our ancestors in. Here are just some of the items that we are missing in our research. Business news is one. Many of our ancestors were in business for themselves. They need not be an attorney like my father-law pictured above. Many were shop owners, farmers, bankers, clergy, blacksmiths, auto sales and repair, restaurant owners, and the list could go on and on. Most papers covered school news as in sports and academic achievements. Church news was also covered in detail in most towns. Not too many years ago you could find a society or gossip page in every newspaper. They would cover anything from a dance, to who had visitors from out of town. In fact, I was able to learn about the existence of some ancestors by finding their names in these articles. Lets face it our ancestors were human just like us. So do not over look reports of accidents, disputes, and crime. Here is one I found regarding my Mother. I was very surprised to learn about this.

PLATTSBURGH PRESS_REPUBLICAN, PLATTSBURGH< N.Y._ MONDAY, MARCH 31, 1952

GIRL, 7, RUNS INTO CAR,
RUN OVER BY ANOTHER
A six-year-old Keeseviile girl who
ran into the side of an automobile
and in turn was run over by another
car is in serious condition at
the Champlain Valley Hospital.
Patricia Ann McDonough, daughter
of Mr. arid Mrs. Matthew McDonough,
suffered a fracture of her
right leg,- possible Internal injuries
and shock when, according to state
police, she ran into the side of an
automobile driven by Veronica
Moore, 27, of 7 Battery Street, was
knocked to the pavement and struck
by a car driven by Hormidas Rous-
reau, 52 of 119 Portland Avenue,
Sherbrooke, Que.
The accident occurred at the
junction of Routes 9 and 22 at
Keeseviile shortly after two o’clock
yesterday afternoon. Trooper R. E.
Donnelly of the state police substation
at Keeseviile investigated.

We have many ways to get this type of information without ever leaving our homes. We have many paid subscription sites that we could use. All you have to do is pick where you wish to search and put in your ancestor’s name and sit back and watch all those great newspaper articles appear on your computer screen. I belong to Genealogy Bank and Newspapers.com., both have their strengths and weaknesses. There are many more fee base sites for you to use. The good news is that you have many free newspaper sites that have digitized local, regional and state wide newspapers. To help you find some of these you may want to consult with one of these web sites. The first is the Rural West Initiative at Stanford University. You can go on line for this at:
http://www.stanford.edu/group/ruralwest/cgi-bin/drupal/visualizations/us_newspapers

Another good site would be Chronicling America, which you can find at: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/

I will warn you now these sites will have you hooked and you will find that you can spend hours just looking over their collections and information. Perhaps the best way to find out about far away newspapers is to telephone that area’s local library. The reference librarian, most of the time can give you information on the local newspapers and if they have been digitized. Also for a small fee or many times for free they will copy a news article and send it to you. However, you should know the date and which paper the article is in.

As you can see not only are you able to get interesting stories about your ancestors but you are able to gather facts at the same time. Just from that article regarding my mother you are able to learn her address and approximant year of birth. You also have learned the name of a local hospital. This is information we all can use in our genealogy endeavors. I hope I have given you some fresh ideas in your genealogy efforts. I welcome your comments and look forward to hearing from you.

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World War II Spitfire Pilot Sees Video of His Crash Landing for the First Time – Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

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World War II Spitfire Pilot Sees Video of His Crash Landing for the First Time – Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.

I had to share this with you. This is a great story that should be told to as many people as possible. The one thing that we should all realize, is that we all have stories like this in our families. This is one reason we do genealogy. It is our job to find and share our family story’s.

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