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"The ancestor of every action is a thought." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Entries in my tree (39)

Tuesday
May312011

* researching my grandfather's ww2 experience from the European Theater of Operations, 324th Infantry, 44th Division 

Colonel Joseph Kirkbride Wright, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 324th Infantry Regiment, 44th Infantry Division.

My grandfather, Joseph K Wright, served our country during WWII. He passed away in 2004 and I sooo regret that I never talked to him about the war. It's too late to hear the stories directly from him, but items he saved and stories he told my dad have helped pass down pieces of his legacy. I don't have many records or documentation from the Army, but I do have pictures, a typed Itinerary of his tour in Europe, and his military decorations.

Joseph was born February 1916 in Camden, NJ to Joseph K Wright and Mary Nolen. He graduated from Rutgers University in 1939 and then in 1943 he was stationed in Olympia, Washington when he married my grandmother Marjorie Middleton. His unit was scheduled for deployment and departed NYC September 4, 1944 on the USS WH Gordon and arrived 11 days later in Cherbourg, France. A typed out itinerary of dates, locations, and details from my grandfather's tour with the 3rd Battalion, 324th Infantry was found amongst the family pictures. I believe this document was typed by Joseph, he LOVED his typewriter. I have compared many of his notes with information provided by other WWII veterans and their family members and it matches up so well! This document has tons of interesting details and has lead to a ton of side research. Which is why this post has taken forever to put together, I keep getting sidetracked with all this crazy information!

Pictures

 

I'm not sure who/where/when the group picture to the upper left was taken, no label! Joseph is not in the picture to the upper right, but the note on the back says "Typical meeting- everybody is mad. Ruette, Austria". According to Joseph's Itinerary, he was in Reutte, Austria around April 30-May 4, 1945.

Joseph's 4 brothers (Thomas, Jack, Vince, & Jerry) also served in the war, making his mother, Mary Nolen Wright, a 5 star mother.

Joseph's oldest brother Thomas is all the way to the left, in the middle his youngest brother Jerry, and younger brother Jack on the right. I am told by my Great Aunt that she remembers someone showing her a newspaper article with a picture of Mary Wright with the Mayor of Camden where he was giving thanks to their family sacrifice. Haven't had any luck finding this article just yet...

 

 Medals and Military Decorations

I just found out this past weekend that my parents have Joseph's WWII medals and ribbon bars. SO HAPPY. I haven't been able to check them out in person just yet, but I can't waiiittt! There is so much information here I will save the bulk of the information for a later post, but I want to share a few goodies that make me so proud.

D. Broze Star (V pin for Valor and Silver Oak Leaf denoting 5 bronze stars- see on matching ribbon bar)

E. Purple Heart - The story as told to me by my dad. "Joseph was sitting on the floor in a house or building with his head in front of a window. He had taken off his helmet and a bullet came through the window and just grazed his head. WOW. What a precious few inches.

F. Silver Star- 3rd highest Military Award that can be given to any branch of the Military.

Use Google Maps to trace your soldier's route!

I love making google maps. I use this free tool all the time for plotting out where my ancestors lived. I've used it to make a private custom map of Joseph's route through Europe. I took the information from the typed itinerary and placed markers for each town on my custom map. I've writen a HOW TO post for this! See how easy it is to make a custom google map!

A snapshot of my custom google map tracing Joseph K Wright's tour in Europe during WWII.

He made his was way from the port of Cherbourg to Luneville, France. A few weeks moving through Western France and by mid March they arrived at the Rhine River and were almost into Germany. He was in Germany from the end of March 1945 until the very end of April, when he was moved to Ruette and later Nauders, Austria.

July 5, 1945 he embarked for the US at Le Havre, France- first making a stop at Southampton, England. Then he boarded the "Queen Elizabeth" in Greenoch, Scotland on July 15, 1945 arriving in NY 5 days later at 11:30pm July 20, 1945.

I can't wait to learn and to share my finds. It really puts things into a different perspective. I am so thankful and awed by all of our soldiers and veterans. Thank you for your dedication to our freedom and our country. Your sacrifice and memories will be remembered.

If you have any experience or research tips for researching a WWII veteran, pleeease share your stories and tips!

Want to start researching a WW II veteran?

Check out The National Archives for WW II Records. They also have this great GUIDE to help you get started!

Tuesday
May242011

* when examining family pictures, take time to smell the roses...

Spend a few extra minutes examining your family pictures. Look closer at the background details (location, buildings, furniture, etc). You might discover new details leading you to solve a mystery or better understand the significance of a picture. In the case of this flowery picture, it was a mystery! A label on the back gave me some clues, but for the longest time I couldn't make a connection with anyone in my tree. The back of the picture tells me this is Alice and Frank Robinson, they lived in Livingston NJ, and they were cousins of my great grandfather Wentworth Middleton. After months away from looking at this picture I randomly realized I had all of the information right in front of me!

Click to read more ...

Monday
May022011

Planning a Maine Genealogy Trip - researching my Wentworth and Tarbox Ancestors 

I'm in pursuit of my Maine roots!

In preparation for a June trip to the Portland, Maine area; I have been digging into my Wentworth and Tarbox ancestors. I'm looking for burial locations, residences, churches, and any other historical or genealogical points of interest to visit and check records. First step: who am I looking for?

My Wentworth ancestry....

The Wentworth surname has been a very prominent name in my family tree. My Wentworth line begins with Elder William Wentworth, born in England abt 1607 and came to the United States in abt 1636. He originally settled in Dover, NH. In the early 1700's the family moved to South Berwick in York County, Maine. The family migrated to Buxton and then Biddeford and Saco in York County, Maine.

I've found that many of my Wentworth ancestors are surprisingly well documented in published genealogy books, historical publications, and church records due to their connection to Elder William Wentworth. But it's been very tricky! Elder William Wentworth has MANY descendants and many common names have been passed down, making it tricky to decipher which Wentworth is being referenced. For more information re: descendants of Elder William Wentworth, check out "A Genealogical and Biographical Account of the Descendants of Elder William Wentworth".

After generations of Wentworth male ancestors in my line, the surname is dropped from my tree when my 4x great grandmother Tamar Dearborn Wentworth married Nathan Tarbox. The surname name was dropped, but it wasn't forgotten! In the 13 generations of my direct descendance from Elder William Wentworth, the name Wentworth can be found in all but 2 of the 13 generations! My grandmother and I being the only 2 without this name.

Elder William Wentworth...Timothy Wentworth...Samuel Wentworth...Samuel Wentworth...Ebenezer Wentworth...Ebenezer Wentworth...Tamar Dearborn Wentworth...Georgianna Wentworth Tarbox...Virginia Wentworth Franks...Wentworth Middleton...Marjorie Middleton...David Wentworth Wright...ME!

I find that amazing! It's like the Wentworth name has been woven into my family tree, connecting it's legacy with the future surnames found in my tree. One item of curiosity is the origin of Tamar Dearborn Wentworth's namesake...no Tamar's or Dearborn's in sight.

My Tarbox Ancestry...

I really don't know too much about this line! My 4x great grandfather was Nathan or Nathaniel Tarbox and he lived in Biddeford, Maine. He was born abt. 1811 and Died May 1891 Biddeford, Maine.

He had 2 children: Granville Tarbox and a daughter through which I descend, Georgianna Wentworth Tarbox. She was born June 1840 in Biddeford, Maine and died Oct 1895 in Jersey City, New Jersey. She married Benjamin Mortimer Franks April 1959 at the John Street Methodist Church in NYC when she was just 18 and later settled in Northern New Jersey. As far as I can tell, Georgianna's parents and brother stayed in Maine. This explains a lack of information but I always wondered why Georgianna moved away at such a young age. What brought her to NYC? What was her connection to Benjamin Franks? I have no indication Benjamin lived outside of the NY/NJ area before 1859. I recently discovered that Georgianna's mother, Tamar Wentworth Tarbox, had siblings leave Maine for NYC about the same time. Some of them were Clerks and it just so happens that Benjamin Franks was a clerk and bookkeeper- perhaps it was an Aunt, Uncle, or cousin from the Wentworth family who made the love connection. Or maybe it was a connection through interest in the Oneida Community?

Do you have ancestors from Maine? What resources have you found helpful? What have you learned from visiting your ancestors stomping grounds?

Next post will cover specific places I'm planning to visit...cemeteries, churches, landmarks...and one cannot forget to research the best LOBSTER joints when going to Maine! Yummmm...

Thursday
Apr282011

* finding a death record gives new meaning to my birthday 

Birthdays have always been a big deal to me. "I'm the birthday girl" worked wonders during the few days surrounding the anniversary of my birth. This self centered view of "my day" was forever changed when I learned I was born on the day my gggg grandmother died in 1853. That's right- today is my birthday! Thanks for all the wonderful birthday wishes- who ordered the delightful afternoon sunshine after the rain?? Thank youuu! My gggg grandmother Harriett Potts Wright died on April 28, 1853 in Bordentown, Burlington County, New Jersey. I was born April 28! What are the chances....

Click to read more ...