Military Monday – Finding Genealogy in Military Records

After finishing and publishing three books on World War II this year, I took a month and a half long break. Kind of a forced break you could say – where I just could not and did not want to research, read, talk about, or write anything World War II or military. I guess sometimes we just need to step back and stop. Some client work has pushed me back into the research and writing though. I’m happy to say I’m ready to dive back in, just not at the pace I was the last two years. Which was almost non-stop.

I have pieces of a file for a U.S. Navy Officer named George Tyler Howe. This man served from 1910 – 1935 when he was put on the retired list. Then went back into service in 1940 and remained there until discharge after World War II in 1945. His file is gigantic and at some point I will obtain a full copy. For now I have some important pieces of information such as his full record of service including the dates he was placed at various stations and on ship, how many days of sea service he had plus total service. There are medical records, a Bronze Star Citation, and family information.

What surprised me were the letters from a descendant of George T. Howe who had written to the National Personnel Records Center asking for copies of vital records that apparently were in the file at some point. Maybe they still are, I haven’t yet seen the full file. There are also lists of his beneficiaries and family members – both his wife/children and the names and addresses of a few of his siblings.

Service file page of George T. Howe, LT Commander, U.S. Navy

Service file page of George T. Howe, LT Commander, U.S. Navy

The file also contains a few handwritten letters written by his wife to the Navy asking about her husband’s health and current station. Can you imagine what it was like to have a husband serving in World War I and beyond and not knowing where he was? This man had a lot of health issues and his wife was concerned about this as well.

Overall the file is quite interesting as it combines records from pre-World War I and beyond to World War II. Add to this military history, the genealogy sprinkled in here and there, and it becomes even more valuable to researchers. And, in researching his service this morning, I discovered his son George Tyler Howe, Jr. served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as a Marine Aviator. George Jr. was lost at sea 25 September 1944 in the Pacific. I plan to learn more about his service too. Stay tuned!

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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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