Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - A Cemetery in The Woods

I have wanted to visit the Keener Cemetery in Grafton, WV for some time and in October I finally had the opportunity to do so.   While I was only able to "visit" for about 10 minutes, it felt wonderful and yet sad to finally be there among the ancestors that I've spent so many years chasing down.   My Dad and I often talked about going out there - I really wish he was still here so I could tell him all about it.

The cemetery is on a piece of property that has long since left the hands of the family, but the couple who now live there are glad to share their driveway and directed me up a path in the woods.   Upon finding it, I wondered how much longer it will be able to be found...  

Many stones are broken, having given way to trees that have grown up among them.  But in these woods are my 3rd great-grandparents and two sets of 4th great-grandparents, in addition to many other relations that I have yet to figure out. 

There are other researchers of this family who have worked hard over the years to document the burials here.   I believe they have documented 75+ and many of them return to clean up and clear away the overgrowth.   Its a wonderful thing to know that others visit these woods for the same reason I do, and I hope to return soon, when I've got a bit more time to spend.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Military Monday - DD214, Report of Separation

When a soldier leaves the military and has had active duty (or active duty training for more than 90 days), a DD214 is generated showing his military history. During WWII, this for was referred to as WD AGO 53 or a Report of Separation. For US military researchers these documents are available from the Archives. On their main page look under the "Most Requested" box and choose military record. The Archives site states that the DD214 can be obtained for free by a soldier or next-of-kin to the soldier. I was interested in getting another copy of my Grandfathers because as you can see, his appeared to have been carried around in his wallet for 30 years.

This form can be ordered on line using the Archives vet rec system. One warning - there may be additional paperwork to fill out after your request has been received, get as much info as you can on that soldier before applying, some of which may be available right there on the archives site.

If you go to their AAD (Access Archival Databases) search area of the National Archives site and enter your ancestor's name in the search box, all databases that the name appears in will come up. If you'd rather target a specific battle or time of duty, select the military campaign your ancestor fought in first (for instance, I chose WWII) and on the next screen there is a search terms box as well. On this second screen I entered BELLEW, WILLIAM. This gave me results for where his name appeared in their available electronic databases for WWII. In this case, I chose "View Records" for the Electronic Army Serial Number database, which brought up seven results

My Grandfather being the last on this list, I chose his record and the following screen came up which gave me a bit more information necessary to complete the request for his documents.

Check all the available databases for your ancestors, you may just have a vet in there somewhere. Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Think We Need "The Locator" Troy Dunn

As I trudge along with my research, exploring new connections, finding cousins and just enjoying the hunt one nagging question keeps coming up with my Mom and Grandmother.. "What ever happened to Hugh?   Can you find out where he went?  Have you gotten any leads?"    the answer is always the same...   "No, I can't find a thing on this man!"

I have been posting to message boards, family forums, name specific areas on the web...  n o t h i n g!   I do regular searches, hoping to somehow magically find him in the databases.... n o t h i n g!!!   great big zero, zilch...  did this man exist?  I've been looking for 15 years! 

So, as fall is here and I've again been looking, maybe posting AGAIN to the message boards and forums, the question remains...   What happend to Hugh Bellew?   As you can see on the right of my blog, I've all but begged for someone to help.  Someone, somewhere must have come across this fellow. A search of the web produces lots of hits - most of them my message board postings from over the years.   He is surely passed on by now...  but who knows?    Born in 1916, he'd be 94 this year.   How does someone just drop off the radar?   The family last heard from him in the 50s.  To their knowledge he wasn't married...  maybe he never had any children - again, who knows?   Maybe he changed his name. Maybe he was killed in an accident and didn't have identification.  Maybe he left the country and we're not looking in the right places.  Maybe...   we need "The Locator", do you think Troy could find him?  Aside from hiring a private eye, we're at a loss.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Extended Family Friday - For My Leeming Cousin

I recently have been following some leads in the public trees on Ancestry.   Just this week I made a connection with someone who is related to my Leeming family.    Apparently this cousin's tree had been created by a friend and put on the site.    While I've not spoken to this cousin directly yet, I know that they'll be visiting my blog and so I wanted to post this photograph, taken around 1911, of our common Leeming ancestors. 

I didn't scan this photo myself, so I don't have a larger one to offer at this point, but most all of the folks in this photograph have been identified by living family members so I wanted to share it with you - my new found 3rd cousin 1x removed.

We are unaware of the occasion of this photo, but it appears to be the coming together of two families so it could possibly be a photo taken at an engagement party for my Great Grandparents, Sarah Roe and Joseph Leeming.

First of interest is the older gentleman on the right, sitting with the young lad standing in front of him - this would be our common ancestor, Mr. Walter Leeming, b. 1860 in Dewsbury, Yorkshire England, d. 1925 in Easthampton MA.   The lady in black standing in the far right of the photo next to him is his wife, Martha Ann Rayner Leeming b. 1861 in Yorkshire England, d. after 1920 in US.  

This couple was married in 1882 in Yorkshire and left England for Canada sometime after the birth of their first son John b.1883.  They had four more children while in Canada  (Sarah Hanna b. 1884 d. 1886; Joseph b. 1886 d. 1950;  Walter Frederick b. 1889, d. 1890; and George b. 1892).  The couple and family then moved to the US in 1899 and had another child in abt. 1904, Hannah.  Three of these children are in this photograph.

Standing directly behind Walter is one of his sons (and my new cousin's great great grandfather) John Leeming, and next to him is his wife Helena.  I am told by my grandmother that Helena was from Germany and had a very heavy accent.   This couple's son (and my new cousin's great grandfather) is Walter Leeming, b 1908 - he's the young boy in the photo standing in the front with the Grandfather that he was named for.   That's three generations of "new cousin's" family in this photo.  The young lady sitting on the ground on the far right is the youngest of John's siblings, Hanna or Annie.

The man in the left side, standing between two women is my great grandfather, Joseph William Leeming to the right of him is his wife, Sarah Hanna Roe, and the lady on the other side of him is her mother, Jane Fountain Roe.   The older man sitting on this side of the picture is George Roe, father of Sarah and also Rachel (the young lady kneeling on the far left).

The two people in the very back of the photo are not identified. It was thought that possibly it was George Leeming, however he was hospitalized for most of his life and would not have attended this function.   It is possible that they are also relatives, but to date we have not figured out who they are.