Sunday, August 21, 2016

World War II Veterans : Stories Just Waiting to be Told

Stories From the World War II Battlefield series, by Jennifer Holik
as featured on www.ancestorstuff.com


Do you know a veteran that just might have some stories to share?  I bet you do. But some might think that no one is interested in their war stories.  It could be a good project for you to sit and talk with that veteran.  Ensure that person that you are indeed interested in their experiences.  It could be very hard to put into words just what they may have experienced.  It might bring back memories that they had tried so hard to put away.   Need some advice or guidance on just how to help this veteran to tell their story?

Jennifer Holik, researcher, educator, speaker and publisher, has put together a series of books to help with telling the story of your veteran, whether they are still living, or have past away.  She walks you through the necessary steps to take in retrieval of information to finally put that veteran's story on paper.

The Stories of the World War II Battlefield series focuses on each of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Records can be found in various places.  If your veteran has a DD214, otherwise know as paper of separation, that is a good place to start.  It gives a nice synopsis of the veteran's time in service, serial service number, places of draft or enlistment, metals and honors awarded, training, ranks, and, of course, date and place of their release from the military.  If the veteran died while in service, they will have a whole file listing most of what the DD214 has, but includes date, time and place of death, including the causes and circumstances of the death.  

There are so many other places to find more information about your veteran or deceased service member.  The U.S. Army had morning reports....the U.S. Navy had ship logs....and there are so many more records to comb through to get the most complete story.

If you are interested in getting further involved with this type of project, I highly recommend Jennifer's books.  She will be a featured speaker at the FGS 2016 Conference in Springfield, Illinois from August 31- September 3.

Additionally, Jennifer will be the featured writer at the AncestorStuff.com exhibit table number 516 at the FGS Conference in Springfield, IL. She will be available to market her books and answer any research questions. See more conference information here www.fgsconference.org

Can't be at the conference?  You can purchase Jennifer's books from the AncestorStuff.com website at a discount, and enjoy her expertise on this most important subject. www.ancestorstuff.com/jennifer-holik/

Interested in a family project?  How about leaning to research the military service of a family member  that has passed away.  Make copies of it for family members.  Those who might never have met their grandparent, great grandparent, or other relative might enjoy having such a memorial book about their relative.  Learning about family that have passed on gives  some a window to the past, and a sense of pride in who they are descended from.  What a nice gift for someone.  

To learn more about Jennifer Holik and her experiences, educational programs, speaking logs and other information, visit her website http://wwiiresearchandwritingcenter.com/


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Remembering Bastille Day 2016

This is a very solemn week for the world.  We are now experiencing yet another devastating incident where people going about their way, trying to enjoy a holiday in excellent fashion, are horribly murdered.  We cannot find any good reason for such a thing to happen.  It's dreadful for all of us.

I ask that everyone take some time to think about those who lost their lives, their families and friends, and all those injured in this terrible tragedy.  We must remember that God has our back.  In the end, He will prevail.  There is a judgement day.....for everyone.

Let's all be safe and aware.

France is Our Friend, and Always Has Been

AncestorStuff.com, Standing with France, Fannie, the dog.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Dad, I Just Have to Imagine that He is Here

Friday's Fallen Acorns is a little late this weekend.  Sorry.  I have been delayed by the fact that it is Father's Day weekend.  My Dad is not here on earth to celebrate the day.  I bought my husband a rocker/recliner for Father's Day.  That was OK....because I bought myself one, too.

You see, we are going to be grandparents soon....for the FIRST TIME.  Anticipation is killing me.

But, my Dad will not be here to witness my new role in life.  That's what has me down.  I was used to being a kid in his presence, no matter what age I was.  Taking on a new role in life was something that I always shared with him.

First day of school.....shared it with him

First bike ride...shared it with him

First tree I climbed....shared it with him

First prize ribbon in a science project fair....shared it with him

First time behind the wheel of a car (at the age of 11)....shared it with him

First time getting an official driver's license...shared it with him

First time graduating from high school and college....shared it with him

First time getting married....shared it with him

First time becoming a parent....shared it with him

But now, my new role....First time becoming a grandmother.....he's not here to share it with me.  That's what hurts.  If he were here, I know what would happen.  Just like all the Firsts that I mentioned above, he would give me a big hug, tell me that he was proud of me, and smile from ear to ear.

So, this First time becoming a grandmother, I will just have to imagine his smile, imagine I feel him hug me tight, and imagine I hear him say, "Shari, I am proud of you".

I think I'll need a tissue now.  You might need one, too, if your Dad is not here with you on this Father's Day.  God Bless all the Dads who have gone onto Heaven.  May they all have the blessings and peace that they so deserve.

Frank J. Bognar, Jr.  1925-2002

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Names of the Gray Granite Marker

Every year, the month of June marks the anniversary of the D-Day Invasion of Europe during World War II.  An epic day, indeed.  But, there were so many other battles and skirmishes in other parts of the world during that war.  Soldiers lost their lives serving in the armed forces of many countries.

I found a book that fits in with my blog topic of "Fallen Acorns".

A Grassroots History of World War II: Eight Men in Granite - Richard J. Staats, 2008.

www.heritagebooks.com, available for sale through www.ancestorstuff.com

In front of the Randolph, Ohio town hall, the names of eight men are engraved on a gray granite marker.  These men paid the ultimate price...the supreme sacrifice....they gave their lives while serving our nation during World War II.

Robert E. Francisco, Henry B. Wise, George Reisinger, Robert H. Hillard, Elmer L. Leech, William H. Bettes, George M. Buzek, and Donald A. Dibble.

The author, Richard J. Statts, decided it was time to find out who these men were and what were their circumstances that ended their lives during the lifetimes of the greatest generation. Through a somewhat lengthy search of service records, unit roles and other records mentioned in this book, many photos, v mails and letters were donated to help with the gathering of each man's story.  Mr. Statts uncovers the personal stories of these men.  Two were lost at sea.  Only one of the soldier's remains were returned home. These were not close buddies, but all came from the same rural community that held deep and close family bonds.  

In a time when we so often forget about why we have this nation of freedoms and opportunities, we truly have a need to read and learn about those who gave their lives so that we can continue to live in our nation with every right to pursue a wonderful life for ourselves.

I highly suggest that if you don't have a person in your life who can tell you about their life in the military service, at least read about how one person researched the lives of these eight servicemen. Learn about what they were asked to do during a time in their lives when, I am sure, they would have rather stayed home and continued their lives in their hometown.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day : Remembering Those Who Served So That We Are Free Americans

Fallen Acorns takes on a new meaning for this blog today.  Normally I post about someone who has a tragedy in their life, or some sort of death has occurred that is of  unusual circumstances.

Memorial Day started as a time when this nation of ours remembered their family members, neighbors and friends who gave selflessly to serve our country at a time of war.  Those that lost their lives while serving in the military are special.  They left their homes and never returned.  Those that came back home had scars....some are seen, and many are not seen.  Scars can lurk in  the minds of those who returned with unspeakable horror etched in their memories. The Veteran's Administration was established to help those who returned home, and the families of those who did not.  The remains of the deceased were buried overseas, and many were shipped home to the families a few years after the war, so that they could be laid to rest on American soil.

Today, I wanted to focus on how our nation kept it's citizens informed of these special soldiers and their status during World War II.  I searched The St. Louis Post-Dispatch issues dated during the 1940s to experience how the journalists wrote about the lives of the soldiers that had homes in and around the city.  Searching Newspapers.com, it was not hard to find page after page of stories and articles that must had kept the news writers busy, days on end.

5 December 1944, St. Louis Post Dispatch, page 6, www.newspapers.com, accessed 27 May 2016
Can you imagine opening your newspaper to view photographs of young soldiers from your neighborhood with their status noted under their names:  Dead, Missing, Prisoner, Wounded....

This is what our nation went through during World War II.  Photos of fresh young faces with their unfortunate status printed below them.  It must have been very depressing for everyone.  That war had affected almost every household.  Everyone knew someone who was serving this nation of ours during a time when we did not have these weapons that could be implemented with remote controls and precision targeting.  This was a war the no one wanted to see repeated.

This Memorial Day weekend, take some time away from the backyard grill.  Visit a church service, a veteran cemetery, anything that makes one remember exactly why we celebrate our heroes.  Look at the faces of these soldiers and say a prayer that their suffering was not in vain, and their courage was exceptional in the eyes of the terror of their time.  We have much to be thankful for.  Let's start with a thanks to these guys.

AncestorStuff.com is offering a special FREE SHIPPING event to anyone who would like to read about our military and the wars of our nation.  Buy 3 items from the MILITARY catalog section at www.AncestorStuff.com, and they will be shipped free. Offer expires 13 June 2016.

Monday, May 23, 2016

New website goes live

My new Improved Website for AncestorStuff.com just went live.
Www.ancestorstuff.com

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Black Hand Gets It's Man

www.newspapers.com, image from St. Louis Post Dispatch, 28 February 1908



16 August 1906.....well-off grocer, Damiano Capuano, receives the first of several letters....

"We know you.   We know what money you have.  And you know us.", the note began.  It went on to give directions to place $1000 in a basket and leave it behind a garden fence in an area known as Baden, in the city of St. Louis.  It ended with a warning, if these instructions were not followed, Capuano would be killed. The message was ignored.

20 August 1906...another note is delivered. It contained the same demand. But, this time the note was marked with a red cross, and the sign of the Black Hand (a zig zag mark) with a skull and crossbones.  Again, Capuano ignored the demand.

During the following week, several similar notes were sent, each one becoming more threatening.  Capuano started to become uneasy. He did not contact the police....until a message on the final note read "Capuano will be marked for the knife".  That got his attention.

He reported the incidents to the Carr Street police station, and Sgt. Adreveno was assigned to the case by Captain Johnson. Federal authorities took possession of the threatening notes.

Words overheard late at night by patrolman Tomasso lead to the arrest of five men.  He was tipped off by an anonymous neighbor, who noticed that a group of men were meeting in the back room of a nearby building.  Tomasso listened as the men spoke Italian, and heard a conversation that most certainly had to do with the notes left for Capuano in the previous weeks. They also made several denouncing comments about the government in America.

After their arrest, it was determined that these men were imitators of the Black Hand Society.  All were questioned....in Italian....because they claimed that they did not know how to speak English.  Handwriting samples were taken of each man, and it was certain that at least one of them closely resembled the writing on most of the notes left for Capuano.

The front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on the initial findings of the police department. It had not been determined that any of these men actually wrote the notes.

In the following few years, many others had received similar notes, referring to the Black Hand, and demanding amounts of money from $500 to $1000 each.  This kept the new "Black Hand Squad" in the St. Louis police department very busy.

Unfortunately, late on the evening of 24 December 1910, Damiano Capuano was shot and killed by three bullets as he was walking home.  He had just finished visiting the homes of several colleagues.  Shots rang out in the night and police were summoned into the dark streets of the city.  Capuano was found deceased, bleeding from his wounds.  The Black Hand finally got their man.