Chicago Rigi Photos

Unidentified man

Unidentified man.

My Ricigliano, Italy project continues and this week I received a large tub of photos to scan for one of my Rigi clients. Many of these photos are wedding, church, and individual photos that are unidentified for the most part. To help identify these photos, I uploaded them to my website.

Please stop by my Author website and look for the Ricigliano, Italy Project. In there you will find links to Rigi blog posts over the last couple of years with many comments from Rigis around the world. You will also find links to wedding, church, graduation, individual, and family photos. It is my hope you will be able to help me identify these people.

The surnames from this client’s main line include: Serritella, DeLeonardis, Malpede, Pacelli, Taglia, Palumbo, Catena, Iacullo/Yacullo, and Mennella. These are not however the only surnames associated with this particular client as the database has over 3700 people in it currently.

Details are on each photo page as to how to contact me if you can identify anyone. I will then update the photo captions.

Thank you so much for your help!

© 2014, Jennifer Holik, Woodridge, IL

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Military Monday – Medical Journals from World War II

As I write this, I’m sitting in a hotel in St. Louis at the 90th Division Association reunion. I’m looking through binder after binder of information. Morning Reports. Medical Journals kept by unit surgeons. Personnel records. A Chaplain’s diary (unpublished.) Photographs. Maps. And I’m not finished. The researcher I use at the National Personnel Records Center, Norm Richards, keeps bringing more stuff to my table.

One item that is very interesting is a medical journal kept by a unit doctor who noted every soldier he saw for a period of roughly six months in 1944 starting on June 9, 1944. The records are so good you can refer to the Morning Reports to see the soldier’s name in the report and his disposition. Take a peek at the journal entry below and note the first soldier entered on June 9, 1944, Thibodeau, Lewis R. Serial No. 31221675, Private, Co A 358 Inf. Diagnosis KIA GSWL Chest (Killed in Action Gun shot wound left chest), Treatment Morphine W. Dressed (W = wound) and Disp (Disposition) Died. Then look at the Morning Report for June 9, 1944 that shows Thibodeau as KIA.

Morning Reports, as I have discussed before on my blog and in my book Stories from the Battlefield: A Beginning Guide to World War II Research, still survive at the NPRC in St. Louis. Form 180 will not get you access to them however. You must hire a researcher or visit in person to search them. These medical journals are often held privately and were unpublished. This is one example of a journal that survived and the 90th Division Association has a copy for their archives. These unpublished records are one reason you should join military associations and attend their reunions. You never know what you will discover.

1 358 Medical Journal page

Page from the medical journal.

MR for Thibodeau Lewis

Morning Report June 9 1944 for Co A 358th Infantry

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Military Monday – Joining a Military Association

I attended the 90th Division Association Reunion in St. Louis this past weekend. The reunion was my first experience with a military association and I was not sure what to expect. Norm Richards, the researcher at the NPRC who helps with my research and my client work, suggested I attend. He said it would give me an opportunity to go through the records here, meet veterans, and talk about my books. In Stories of the Lost, I tell the story of 90th Division man James Privoznik.

90th Hospitality signI showed up alone and was welcomed into the 90th Division family immediately. Not long after I checked in I was ushered to the bar accompanied by Al the cameraman for the association. We met Norm and a few others in the bar and a good time was had. New friends immediately appeared out of nowhere as old friends reunited. It was wonderful. I also had the opportunity to meet a French who helped me with my 29th Division story, Christian Levaufre. We were sitting at dinner and I had heard his name repeated and Norm introduced us. After a while I couldn’t stand it any longer and finally pulled my book out to see if I was correct that I had emailed with this man. Yes I had! Christian and his wife and family are very active in France honoring the history and sacrifice of the 90th Division and others. It was such an honor to finally meet this man.

On Friday I spent most of the day in the main room pouring over Morning Reports, Chaplain diaries, medical journals, books, and meeting other people as they strolled in and out of the room. Two veterans spoke about their experiences in a POW camp during the afternoon. And a banquet was held in the evening where Christian spoke about a new 90th Division monument erected in his town.

Saturday I spent the morning in the main room looking at records and talking to several people. The afternoon was quiet. I had lunch with Al, then Frank, a WWII veteran joined us to talk a while. Then my friend Christian from Chicago, who now works in St. Louis, met me and we were able to talk for several hours before the evening banquet. Again we ended up in the bar after dinner and I almost closed it down with the group. I had the opportunity to speak with several people, laugh, and have a good time.

Sunday morning the Association held a Memorial Breakfast. At this we had a short sermon and honored the men who had passed away in the last few years. Taps was played and the flag folded. It was very moving. Before I left one WWII veteran thanked me for the work I was doing, the books I’m writing, and the teaching and assisting others to help them find information and write the stories. He said it was important. I was very humbled by his words. We should continue to dig and talk to our family and write the stories of those who have gone before. This is our duty and one way we can thank all our veterans for their service so we can live our lives in freedom and peace.

As I sit here writing, I keep thinking about all the military associations and reunion groups like the 90th Division Association. When you conduct military research, these types of organizations should be on your radar to reach out to. Why? Well not only will you meet some really great people and get to speak with veterans but there are usually records. The 90th Division Association has a historian, Norm Richards, who I spoke of above. Norm has collected copies of almost every Morning Report available for the division. He also has unpublished diaries, journals, binders with short stories, notes, and photographs. None of these things have been digitized but are available if you attend the reunion or contact him about your 90th Division ancestor.

One issue associations like this face is the same one genealogical societies face. The old guard is aging and they need new blood to step up and start filling in the gaps. New blood is needed also to bring processes into this day and age. The 90th Division is working on these issues. I’m sure many other associations deal with the same things. As the WWII veterans die, who will be around to honor their legacy? How can we encourage the families to attend? How can we get the younger people involved?

As the Memorial Breakfast drew to a close yesterday, the outgoing and incoming Presidents and another member of the board stated the 90th will begin to change and adapt to continue meeting the needs of its members. It will continue to honor the traditions of the Tough ‘Ombres and remember their heritage. It is up to the members to help them do that. If you know of someone, or are someone who has or is serving with the 90th Division Tough ‘Ombres, please consider joining their Association.

If you have not yet joined a military association for your family, consider doing so. We owe it to those who fought and died to remember them and their history.


© 2014, Jennifer Holik, Woodridge, IL

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