Monday, May 31, 2021

He Was a Brave Boy

I enjoy researching the military veterans of the family. The records that you can find can tell you so much about their lives and give you a sense of what they encountered during times of peace as well at war. I've highlighted several military ancestors in my blog. I've recently been digging into my 2nd cousin 1x removed, Horace Joseph.

Source: - Daily News 28 July 1944

Horace died on 6 June 1944 in Normandy, France. He was a paratrooper and broke his leg upon impact. He bled out and died. According to his Find a Grave memorial, he tried to use a tourniquet. Apparently, Horace is included in a book, which I plan on getting a copy of at some point. 

6/14 Update: Here's an excerpt from the book Enfin Libres that discusses Horace: "The other soldier did not wore no trace of bullet or stab, but a tourniquet he had made himself above the knee revealed the nature of the wound from which he had succumbed.  His parachute having presumably not working, or too late, he had fallen like a stone, hence its broken limb on landing. The, bone having punctured the flesh an abundant haemorrhage was resulted that the American had tried to stop by squeezing strongly, but to no avail, his thigh with his strip of bandage."

Up until today I only knew about his mother, Sura Siegel, but did not know his father's name. I learned his father was Henry Joseph. Horace's father was listed as his next of kin in addition to his wife, who I also knew nothing about. 


I learned more information about his family through this interesting article. Horace's wife Anna was arrested for burglary along with another woman. According to the article, the War Department informed her parents, who then told their daughter about her husband's death. Horace's parents met with the police when they were discussing their daughter-in-law's case and were then informed. Here's an excerpt:

"They wept, but quickly composed themselves and spoke proudly of their boy. He enlisted soon after Pearl Harbor and gave up a non-commissioned officer's rating to become a paratrooper."

His father said that "He was a brave boy". He was indeed brave to enlist in the military to go overseas and jump out of a plane, sustaining an injury that ultimately led to his death. 

Horace's body was brought back from France and buried in the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York. Rest in peace cousin. You are not forgotten. 

Monday, May 17, 2021

Tips for Smashing Brick Walls

 It's been several months since I did my last post. I've had a number of lectures to write and client cases to work on. My personal genealogy research has been increasing slowly during my free time. I even made some breakthroughs in my tree including the following:

  • Confirmed the burial site of my great grandmother Tessie Freundlich and her son, Alfred Schild. 
  • Located an obituary for my great grand-aunt Rose Siegel, sister of my great grandmother Matilda Siegel. It even had a lead on one of her sisters with a married name! 
  • Located a new cousin who shared a picture of my great grandmother Tessie Freundlich, someone who I have never seen photos of.
  • Identifying some more leads on my maternal great grandfather Anton Gailunas' service on a merchant ship during WWI. 
  • Confirmed one of my 2nd great aunts died in Alberta, Canada
  • Obtained a photo of my 2nd great grandmother Eva Bodner's headstone
Here are some of my tips that I used to help accomplish the above:

  • Used the power of social media to seek out cousins. Look for potential cousins with public photos that may give you leads on the family. If you find a good lead, send a friend request and then immediately send a message introducing yourself. I personally don't like getting friend requests from random people without some type of message. 
  • If you're looking for the burial for someone, collect a list of the possible places it could be. I interviewed my grandmother and she gave me a lead that Tessie and her son were buried together in a cemetery on Long Island. The family was Jewish so that narrowed down the options. A friend on Twitter suggested a few cemeteries very close together. I had my answer in under 48 hours after calling and searching cemetery sites for their burial listings. 
  • To confirm a vital record event, look for any possibilities within a year range. If you have a good candidate and think they were a little far from home, don't completely dismiss that possibility. Many people would move in with their adult children and may relocate a far distance. Then order that record. Worst case, you know it's not them and can look at other possibilities. 
  • Going back to burials, if you find someone that you think may be related request a headstone photo request. It may give you more information. I was fortunate that someone took a picture of a someone I thought may be related and also of someone a few headstones down - it was my 2nd great grandmother! It also helps to provide the burial coordinates for anyone you're interested and other relatives nearby so a volunteer can go down the rows and get all of the photos you need. 
  • Searching newspaper records for clues, trying different variations of names. Particularly for 20th century and later, I try to collect all of the street addresses my family lived at. These addresses can be searched in newspapers and can help you tell the difference between two people of the same name.
What brickwalls have you busted recently? What are some of your favorite tips?