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

Entries in wright (16)

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!

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....

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Tuesday
Mar292011

* historic philadelphia cemetery needs volunteers for clean-up day

A major breakthrough in my personal family research was as simple as finding a few matching records for FREE on familysearch.org . I was able to find the burial of my wright gg grandparents, they lived in Northern Philadelphia abt 1880-1940. From these matching death records I was lead to The Knights of Pythias Cemetery in Philadelphia, PA. And now I know- this cemetery needs our help!!

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Tuesday
Feb222011

* I've been ancestor approved!

The Ancestor Approved Award was started by Leslie Ann (Ancestors Live Here) to show appreciation of bloggers sharing interesting - helpful - fun content. Jennifer (The Erudite Geneagloist) has passed on the Ancestor Approved Award to me! Thank you so much for the recognition. When given the nod you are asked to share 10 things you have learned about your ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened you. I thought it would be easy to make the list, but I was surprised how competitive I made it for my ancestor's stories! Here are a few of my moments.

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