Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Children of Warren and Addie Alwood

I’ve written before about Warren Charles Alwood, who was a good and faithful man.  Warren and Addie raised six children…  The first three had no surviving children of their own.  The next two had thirty surviving children between the two them!  And the last had just one surviving child.

Franklin Mark-Alwood:  Franklin was born to Addie Mark five years before she married Warren.  Since the math didn’t add up, I dug up a birth record.  He was born to Addie in Ohio, out of wedlock, no father listed.  But after their marriage, Warren raised Frankie as his own, calling him his “son” in the census records.  According to Franklin’s obituary, he had suffered from some type of spinal problem since babyhood.  He died in 1900 at age 13 of typhoid fever.

Irvin Burgoyne Alwood:  Irvin’s 1918 draft card describes him as medium height and build, with blue eyes and light hair.  He served in the U.S. Army Infantry in World War I, as part of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe.  Later he worked in a foundry—not easy work!  Irvin had no children with either of his wives.  He died in 1963 at age 71 and is buried with second wife Leah.

Wayne Nedry Alwood:  Wayne served in World War I as a private in the 337th Infantry.  His draft card said he was tall, slender, with gray eyes and dark hair.  Wayne never married; his niece Denise Haring said that he fell in love with a girl whose parents didn’t approve, and they moved her away, and he was so brokenhearted that he gave up on marriage for good.  In the 1920 census he lives with his father and little sister Beulah; in the 1930 census he lives with his sister Floy and her family; by 1940 he lives with his cousin Alice in Ohio.  Wayne died in 1948 in his fifties at a VA hospital in Michigan from heart disease, which he probably inherited from his mother. 

Hazel Irene Alwood:  Hazel married at sixteen and had fifteen children, fourteen of whom survived to adulthood to have children of their own.  She and husband Walter Garver were farmers.  (I’ve talked about her family in another post.)  Hazel died at age 72.

Floy Dell Alwood:  Floy outdid her sister Hazel in the effort to produce the most grandchildren for Warren—she and husband Charles Haring had sixteen children!  The family is pictured below.  Floy’s death was a very tragic one…  As two granddaughters told it in a family cookbook/history book, Floy worked at a local laundry to help support her large family.  One day she was told of an automobile accident involving one of her daughters and a friend in which, she was told, her daughter was killed.  Floy had a heart attack that day, and died shortly after, at age 61.  As it turned out, her daughter had survived the accident.

Beulah Marie Alwood:  Beulah lost her mother when she was only six and was raised by her father, with the help of her brother Wayne.  (Below is a photograph of Beulah and Wayne around 1912.)  Beulah grew up to marry local farmer LaDoyt Alverado Carey and they had two sons.  The older one, John, died at four months due to accidental strangulation.  What a tragedy!  I wonder how it affected their family?  Beulah died at age 57.

I love to trace the paths of a married couple and all their children, not just the one who is a direct ancestor.  In genealogy they call it “descendancy research.”  I call it “finding the stories.”

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday: My Ten Favorite Posts from Year One

It was a year ago that I started blogging.  I hoped to share the stories I’ve discovered in researching my own family and the families of friends and clients.  I was afraid I’d run out of stories, but that hasn’t happened!  I'm thankful for the stories I've discovered and the people I've met (both dead and alive).  Here are ten of my favorite stories from Year One:

For the Love of Norman – This was my very first post.  It was about the brief time I was privileged to know my father-in-law, and our quest to learn more about his past.

A Young Man With a Past – This is the story of a young man my husband worked with, whose genealogy turned up an amazing heritage that neither of us expected.

Genealogy and Alzheimer’s – The story of a discovery I made with the help of a client, whose mother-in-law has dementia but really enjoyed learning about her ancestry.

Anna Peterson Genoways: Love Found Late – This is a love story about one of my grandmother’s sisters, and it has a bittersweet ending.

Double Wedding Ring – This love story from my sister-in-law’s family, about a woman named Rhoda Wyatt who lived in the 1800s, had a much happier ending.

Lutefisk: Scourge of the Scandinavians – My feelings about a Swedish tradition from my childhood that I could easily have lived without.

George Wendell Phillips: Gone Without a Trace – This is a mystery from a client’s family history that, with the help of my readers, I was able to solve.

What Ever Happened to Agnes Goldberger? – This is a mystery that I still haven’t been able to solve.  It concerns a foster child raised alongside my mother who left their family when she was about sixteen and was never heard from again.

“La Corriveau” – I do love the black sheep stories!  This one is about one of the most infamous murderers in Canadian history—who also happens to be my husband’s second cousin, six times removed.

A Murder in Chicago – One more black sheep story for good measure.  This one tells the story of a love triangle in my sister-in-law Susie’s family that ended with her great-great-aunt being murdered.

And so Year Two begins.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Dad's War Souvenirs, Part Three

My father, Robert Wallin, fought in the army infantry in World War II, fighting his way—on foot—from Normandy to Germany.  Like many of his fellow soldiers, he brought home a duffel bag of mementoes which, sixty years later and long after his death, are family treasures.

Part Three:  Nazi Souvenirs

The first photo is a belt buckle that my father retrieved from the body of a dead Nazi soldier.  (He brought home a handful of this type of items with the Nazi swastika and eagle on them.)  In a letter home to his parents he said this about how he came into possession of it:  “I have a belt buckle I’m going to send home.  When I do, save it, as I got it in a personal fight with a German sergeant at about 10 paces range and shot him 6 times and cut off his belt buckle and insignia.  Here is the insignia.”   

A similar thing that Dad brought back is a belt buckle that bears the German words “Gott Mit Uns”—which is to say, “God With Us.”

The second item is made of red wool—thus the moth holes it acquired in its half century in my parents’ attic.  It is a Nazi arm band such as I’ve seen in old photographs.  He also managed to bring home a huge Nazi flag, as big as the front side of our house, which he removed from a stadium of some type after the war was over.  I remember his saying that the American troops went door to door, clearing out the Nazi propaganda from each house and making big bonfires of it in the streets.  But a few things ended up in the American soldiers’ duffel bags instead.  Dad said this in a letter home shortly after the Nazi surrender: 

“These Germans are funny.  All of them hate Hitler, and never had anything to do with him, and are glad to see us, etc., etc.  Then we search their houses and drag uniforms, pictures of Hitler, charter membership cards to the Nazi party, and everything else out.  What a bunch of cheerful liars.”

The third item came from the front of a Nazi officer’s hat.  I don’t know the story of how my father came into possession of it, but I think it’s safe to say that its original owner didn’t part with it willingly!

Related posts:
Dad's War Souvenirs, Part One
Dad's War Souvenirs, Part Two
A Big Brother's Urgent Plea
Letters from the Front Lines: Don't Worry, Please

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Military Service of Norman Mosey

Almost a year ago, I wrote my very first blog post—“For the Love of Norman.”  It was about my quest to record the family history of my father-in-law and his death in the middle of our project.  I mentioned that after he died, I finished recording the story of his military service, using the papers he left on his living room table to share with me.  Here it is, in condensed form…

Norman Mosey was in the U.S. Navy from March 1944 to June 1946.  He served in the Pacific Theatre during World War II as a “TM 3/C” (Torpedoman’s Mate Third Class).  He met his future wife Donna via letters she wrote to him during the war.  His “vessels and stations served on” included:

  • Naval Training Station at Farragut, Idaho 
  • Cub 15  (an advanced base unit)
  • Fleet Service School (Advance Torpedo), San Diego, CA
  • ABPD (Advance Base Personnel Depot), San Bruno, CA
  • USS Sierra [AD18]—a destroyer tender
  • USS Stevens [DD479]—a Fletcher-class destroyer
His training began with 8 weeks of boot camp at the Farragut Naval Training Station.  The 4,000-acre Farragut was the second-largest naval training center in the world.  Drilling was given in seamanship, military discipline, physical fitness, and Naval procedure.  Vessels on nearby Lake Pend Orielle were used for training on the water.  The men learned to march, row, swim, and use firearms.  Over 293,000 sailors (“Blue Jackets”) received basic training at Farragut.  It was also used as a POW camp; 900 Germans worked as gardeners and maintenance men there.

In May 1944, after a 10-day furlough, Norman was sent to the Advance Base Personnel Depot at San Bruno, California.  He says he did nothing but menial work there, so after four months he applied for a transfer to Fleet Service School (Advanced Torpedo) in San Diego, where he had 16 weeks of torpedo training in all aspects from assembly to repair in late 1944.

Norman served on the USS Sierra in 1945.  It was a “Destroyer Tender” with 1,050 crewmen that serviced destroyers and destroyer escorts.  In March 1945 the Sierra went to the Caroline Islands, then the Philippines, for anticipated strikes against the Japanese mainland, but the surrender of Japan ended that assignment.  Norman was at Leyte Gulf, Philippines when the Japanese surrendered; he remembers all the Navy ships firing off ordnance of every kind—or in the case of his ship, flares, since they didn’t have ordnance aboard.

The Sierra sailed in September 1945 for Japan, Korea, and Shanghai, China, where Norman visited a Japanese prison camp.  He was sent home on emergency leave in December 1945 due to the death of his father.  He spent much time with Donna while he was home.

After his leave he was sent to San Diego to finish out his service.  He served on the USS Stevens, a Fletcher-class Destroyer.  The Stevens had seen much action in the Pacific Theatre during the war, but at this point it was undergoing a six-month “deactivation overhaul” before being decommissioned. 

Norman was honorably discharged in June 1946.  He married Donna later that year in Clare County, Michigan.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Dad's War Souvenirs, Part Two

My father, Robert Wallin, fought in the army infantry in World War II, fighting his way—on foot—from Normandy to Germany.  Like many of his fellow soldiers, he brought home a duffel bag of mementoes which, sixty years later and long after his death, are family treasures.

Part Two:  Food

The first photograph is of Dad’s very well-worn mess kit.  The five pieces appear to be made of tin.  They are lightweight and fit together nicely.  The handle on the larger piece can be extended to turn it into a cooking pan.  I believe he carried a tin cup as well, but if he did, it didn’t survive.

The green “Supper Ration Type K,” part of a series more commonly known as “K Rations,” is in pretty bad shape after sixty years; the can has rusted through and the contents have dried up.  The front says this: “Open inner bag carefully.  It maybe be used as a waterproof container for matches, cigarettes, and other items.  For security, hid the empty can and wrappers so that they cannot be seen.”  The contents are listed on the back:  “Meat:  eat cold, or after boiling can in water, or after frying in its own fat with added biscuit crumbs.  Assorted biscuits.  Boullion:  add to two thirds canteen cup of not or cold water.  Confection.  Cigarettes.  Chewing gum.”  Cigarettes were always included.  I remember Dad saying it was the only way he could keep his nerves steady enough to do the things he was being asked to do.

The box itself is cardboard and coated in wax.  I remember Dad saying that you could empty the box and then put it on the ground and set fire to it, and it would burn like a candle for long enough to heat up your water for coffee, or your food.

The red “Breakfast Ration Type K” has the same message printed on the front.  The breakfast box contains these items:  “Meat and eggs:  eat cold, or after heating by boiling can in water.  Assorted biscuits.  Coffee:  add to one third canteen cup of hot or cold water.  Fruit bar:  eat cold or make into jam by stewing 3 to 5 minutes in about 4 spoonfuls of water.  Sugar.  Chewing gum.  Cigarettes.”  One more item was included but not listed:  a small roll of khaki green toilet paper.

Dad was a part of the Army of Occupation for six months after the war ended, and he also brought back some items that he kept as souvenirs of the Nazis.  I’ll talk about those next, in Part Three.

Related posts:
Dad's War Souvenirs, Part One
A Big Brother's Urgent Plea
Letters from the Front Lines: Don't Worry, Please