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

Entries in research tips (29)

Thursday
Jun022011

* how to use google maps to make a custom genealogy map

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!

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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!

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Monday
May162011

* Learn genealogy research tips with these free genealogy webinars

Who doesn't love a freebie? There are some great free learning opportunities on tap this week. Webinars are an awesome way to learn new tips and tools. These virtual educational sessions are great for new genealogy researchers and experienced genealogists alike! There are quite a few interesting FREE webinars going on this week. If you can't make the live session, I would still register! Many presentations will be archived after the live presentation and a link to view the recorded webinar will be emailed to all registered participants. Free Webinars this week May 16- May 22, 2011

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