Census records are great. They are FULL of interesting information. But every census record is different, the information collected varies for each census year. I find it helpful to have an idea of what information was collected for each census while I do my research. Knowing what information is available will save you time and your sanity :) A few tips from the Desperate Genie...
"The ancestor of every action is a thought." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Entries in research tips (27)
News From the Suburbs: Married in Spite of Her Father
What great vintage gossip! This rule breaking bride is my gg grandmother. I guess even in 1887 gossip found it's way into the public eye. This article was sent to me by a fellow researcher, thank you Charles!!
"Social circles on Jersey City Heights, and especially the members of the South Bergen Reformed Church, are interested in a wedding which took place Saturday evening at Asbury Park. The bride, Miss Virgnia Wentworth Franks, was a school teacher living with her father at No. 173 Bergen Ave. She was active in church work. About three years ago she became acquainted with Thomas Middleton, and an engagement soon followed. The young woman's father positively refused to sanction the projected marriage because Mr. Middleton had been divorced. All the other members of the family sympathized with the couple. On Saturday Mr. Middleton, Miss Franks, her brother, Mortimer Franks, and some friends were at Asbury Park and it was decided that three years were long enough to defer to the prejudices of the father. The Rev. Mr Battin was hunted up and the couple were married, Mortimer Franks giving the bride away. They will at once go to housekeeping in a pretty little cottage in Ocean Ave, which has been handsomely furnished by Mr. Middleton."
I wonder what Virginia thought of this being published!! Did she ever think that I, her gg granddaughter, would be reading it!?
The groom, Thomas Middleton, is a very mysterious character in my family tree. I have connected with my grandmother's cousin who has also extensively researched the family tree and he is facing the same brick wall. I know he was born in England, purchased a house in East Orange, NJ 1896 (I have the paperwork), and died in 1910. And now that he was married/divorced to someone before Virginia Franks. The 1900 census lists his arrival year as 1884, so was his first wife in England? Did they have kids? ahhh more questions...
Connecting with family members is HUGE! DO IT! If you don't know of anyone, find them! Charles and I share gggg grandparents and I found him very randomly. He had posted a query on a message board and when I googled my gggg grandparents names I found him. He had letters and had done a lot of research. We have been able to exchange a bunch of really great information and details. Not to mention, I have 3 daguerreotype's from the Franks family and he had 3 or 4 from the same generation! How about that.
I'll take what I can get, I've learned to focus on the details. Sometimes it can be the smallest detail that leads you down a path to copious amounts of information. If nothing else, this article gives me a fuller understanding of their life experiences. I'm sure glad I wasn't there when he father found out!
10 Steps to a FREE Custom Google Map! It's so easy, all you need to save "My Maps" is a free Google account. If you don’t have one, you can sign up for one here. I use this tool for mapping out the different addresses I find from my ancestors census records, military records, letters, jobs, etc... Addresses can be found in so many places! I love visualizing where they lived and playing with the data. You can then print these maps or invite other people to view your map. Once you are signed into your Google account follow these 10 steps to create your custom maps!
* 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!
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?
To find out more about my grandfather's military history, I completed an online records request with the National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records. In 3 short weeks I found a thick envelope in my mailbox- see how!