#52Ancestors: The Revolutionary War Pension Affidavit of 5th Great-Grandfather Ferdinand Harless

Harless Ferdinand Revolutionary War Plaque Giles County
Memorized with other Revolutionary soldiers on the grounds of the county courthouse.1
My 27th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” family history blogging challenge for 2015.

The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.

Amy’s 2015 version of this challenge focuses on a different theme each week.

The theme for week 27 is – Independent: This is the week for Independence Day! Which one fought for (or against) America’s independence? Or which of your ancestors was independent?

I am still playing catch-up on this challenge, due to the Boston University genealogy research certificate course taking up all of my spare time this summer. Hence, the belated reference to Independence Day.

My 27th ancestor is my husband Jeff’s 5th great grandfather Ferdinand Harless (1755-1853), who served as a patriot in the Revolutionary War.

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I wrote about Ferdinand’s Revolutionary War service and pension file last year, in the 2014 version of this blog challenge. However, at that time, I struggled with reading the 1834 handwritten document, and I was not too familiar with analyzing these types of records. Fast forward 13-1/2 months to today, and thanks to the Boston University program in which I am currently enrolled, transcribing and analyzing the files is a piece of cake. A piece of cake rich with biographical information about my husband’s 5th great grandfather. So I am revisiting the research I did last year.

Following is a verbatim transcription of Ferdinand Harless’s sworn affidavit applying for his pension for service in the Revolutionary War.2 My corrections and annotations are noted in [brackets], but no modifications are made to original spelling, punctuation, or grammar. I have opted to insert a blank line between paragraphs instead of using the record’s indentation style, simply for ease of reading in a blog format.

Soldier’s Affidavit

Harless Ferdinand Revolutionary War Pension Application
Page 1 of the 3-page affidavit.3
State of Virginia
Giles Country

On this 22nd day of March 1834 personaly [personally] appeared before me Robert M. Hutcheson a Justice of the Peace in and for said county Ferdenan Harless a resident of said county aged seventy nine years who being first duly sworn according to law doth on the oath make the following Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provisions made by the act of Congress passed the 7th June 1832—That in the Spring of 1777 in the County of Bottetourt [Botetourt] in that part that is now Montgomary [Montgomery] County Virginia—he volunteered to serve against the Indians and served as herein stated and under the command of the following named officers—That owing to the envations [invasions] and depredations of the Indians committed on the Inhabitants along the frontier settlements of western Virginia the people was compelle[d] to erect Fort and station men in there for their defense—that for this purpose in the spring of 1777 as above stated—he volunteered under the command of Capt Floyd and served in a garrison situated in the County of Bottetourt [Botetourt] Virginia at a place called Smithfield in that part of the county that is now Montgomary [Montgomery]

That he served in this garrison from the 1st of April 1777 until the first of October of the same year

That there was a regulary [regularly] embodied corps stationed in garrison with him under the command Captain Floyd and Col Preston was there—That the nature of his servis [service] was to remain in Fort for its defense in case it was attacted [attacked] by the Indians or to hold themselves in readiness to repore [report] to the assistance of any other Fort that might be attacted [attacked] by the Indians

That again in the Spring of 1778 volunteered and served under the command of the same officers above named and served in the same garrison (at smith field) from the first april 1778 until the 1st of October—and that the nature of this servises [services] this year was the same as the year former and

That in the spring of 1779 he volunteered and served from the 1st of April until the first of October under the command of Capt Lucas and was stationed in a garrison situated on sinking creek a tributary stream of New River then in the county of Bottetourt [Botetourt] in that part that is now Giles

That he volunteered in the springs of 1780 & 81 and served from the first of April until the 1st of October in each year in the last named garrison under the command of Captain Lucas

That the nature of his servis [service] was to remain in garrison for its defence [defense] and to range and reconnoiter in spying parties to watch the approach of Indians That the company to which he belonged was divided and a part remained garrison with him some was stationed in a garrison situated at the mouth of sinking creek & also some was stationed in a garrison the mouth of stoney creek both tributary streams of New river all within the same neighbourhood [neighborhood] owing to the scarsity [scarcity] of men in these new settlements there could not be a sufficient number of men raised to defend these points until there was men drafted and brought out either from Augustia [Augusta] or Franklin Counties and stationed in those Fort

That he was one of the early settlers of western Virginia and had to endure much of the hardships of Indian warfare—That he recollects a party of Indians given chace [chase] after Martin Harless and that he narrowly escaped and arrive[d] in the Fort after a race of 3 or 4 miles then he recollects of the murder and the taken into captivity many of his neighbours [neighbors] among whom was of the Families of Sybrook Chapman & McKindsy and a number of other a Daughter of Sybrooks was skelped [scalped] and beate [beat] on the head with a war club and found living next morning and when she was found asked for a drink of water and soon after expired—in seanes [scenes]  like these he passed through the Revolutionary [Revolution] or at least up until the fall of 1781 after which time he declined to be engaged against them.

That the time time he served was with an embodied corps that during which time he followed no civil persuit [pursuit]

That he can support his declaration by the evidence of Philip Harless Parker Lucas and Daniel Harless who served in garrison with him

1st he was born in the county of Shenadore [Shenandoah] Virginia in the year 1755—2d he has no record of his age

3d he was living that part of of Bottetort [Botetourt] Virginia in that part that is now Montgomary [Montgomery] since the revolutionary war he has lived in that part of Bottetort [Botetourt] that is now Giles—4th he volunteered 5th in the years 1777 & 78 Col Preston and Captain Floyd—after 1778 Captain Lucas—6th he never received a written discharge 7th Rev Isaac Scott and Robert W Dennis can testify to my character for varasity [veracity] He [appears to be a mistake, the start of the next line]

He hereby relinquishes every claim to a pension or an annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency in any state—sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid

Ferdinand Harless X his mark

And I Robert M. Hutcheson a Justice of the peace in and for said county do hereby declare my opinion that the above named applicant served against the Indians as he states

Robert M Hutchisan J P

Harless Ferdinand Revolutionary War Pension Application
Legal mark of Ferdenan Harless, indicating he could not sign his name.4
RESEARCH TIP: Revolutionary War Pension Application Dates On 7 June 1832, Congress passed an act allowing all Revolutionary War veterans, and their widows, to apply for pension benefits. Prior to this act, only those disabled in service had been eligible for pension benefits. Therefore, it was not unusual for a veteran or widow to apply for a pension forty-nine years or more after the war ended.5

Next Steps

This pension application raises a number of additional questions about Ferdinand Harless.

  1. Why was his original pension application rejected?
  2. What change occurred that allowed his application to eventually be approved?
  3. Was he illiterate, since he signed his mark rather than his name?
  4. Or was the 79 year old veteran just too ill (possibly losing or having already lost his eyesight) to sign his name by this time?


#52Ancestors: Great Uncle Jose Robledo, Jr., WWII Vet, Interred at Los Angeles National Cemetery

Joe Robledo, Jr. - Headstone - Find a Grave
Headstone for Joe Robledo, Jr. Los Angeles National Cemetery. Section 56a Row K Site 5. Find A Grave photo by judy lakkis.

My 21st entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” family history blogging challenge for 2015.

The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.

Amy’s 2015 version of this challenge focuses on a different theme each week.

The theme for week 21 is – Military: This week, the United States will be observing Memorial Day [as you can tell, I am quite late with this post]. Do you have any military ancestors? Were any ancestors affected by the military or by war?

I am five weeks behind on this blog challenge, hence the late Memorial Day post.

Joe Robledo, Jr. and Refugio Raphael Robledo
Joe is on the left, his older brother Refugio is on the right.

My 21st ancestor or relative is my great uncle Jose “Joe” Robledo, Jr. (1924-1972).

I have not written previously about Great Uncle Joe, except when mentioning him in posts about my great grandparents (his parents), Jose Robledo (1875-1937) and Maria Hermalinda Nieto (1887-1974). Jose, Jr.–named after his father, I assume– was the sixth of eight siblings, the third son, and the fourth child born in the United States after the family immigrated here in 1915. If I ever met Great Uncle Joe the first few years of my life, I do not remember him.

Joe was born 20 May 1924 in Los Angeles County, California.1 He married and was later divorced from Aurora Flores in 1946, six months after being released from the Army.2 Joe Robledo had four children, none whom Dad thinks are still living. I only remember meeting his now-deceased daughter Maria, a nun, about fifteen years ago when she came down to southern California to visit the family. Dad thinks his uncle still has one grandson alive.

Joe Robledo, Jr. and Refugio Raphael Robledo
Great Uncle Joe is on the far right, with his leg propped up. His older brother Refugio is bending down over Joe’s right shoulder. I will have to ask their sole living sibling the story behind this obviously staged photo.

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Why Great Uncle Joe?

This is a very brief post, since I have not done much research at all on Great Uncle Joe. It is simply a belated Memorial Day tribute to one of the veterans in my family history. I have not yet identified any family who ever died in service to our country (thankfully), so instead I try to honor those who made this ultimate sacrifice by paying tribute to my ancestors and relatives who were fortunate enough to live to come home.

After the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree conference wrapped up two Sundays ago, two of my out-of-state genealogy friends rented a car to go cemetery hopping. The Los Angeles National Cemetery was one of the locations on their itinerary. I have visited this nearby cemetery before, but could not remember if I had any family buried there. So the next day, I looked through my research notes and confirmed that I do indeed have a veteran family member buried at this cemetery–my great uncle Joe Robledo, Jr.3

The Second to Serve

Joe Robledo, Jr. was the second member of his immigrant family to serve in the military, on behalf of his family’s new home. My grandfather Benjamin Robledo (1919-1990), Joe’s first U.S.-born sibling, was the first to serve. Unlike his older brother, Great Uncle Joe opted for the Army over the Navy.

Joe enlisted in the U.S. Army on 28 June 1944 as a Private at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, Los Angeles County, California, shortly after his 20th birthday.4 He was released on 18 April 1946–less than two years later.5 I know nothing else about Uncle Joe’s service, nor do I have a photo of him in uniform. Dad says his uncle served in the European theater during World War II, thinks his uncle was at Omaha Beach, and says his uncle was injured in the war. D-Day took place on 6 June 1944, which occurred before Joe joined the Army. So Great Uncle Joe could not have been a part of D-Day, but perhaps news of the Normandy landings is what inspired him to enlist shortly after.

Joe’s older brother–my grandfather Benjamin–enlisted in the Navy nine months prior to Joe’s own enlistment, and interestingly joined the U.S.S. Waterford ARD-5 at Receiving Station Noumea, New Caledonia, the very same day that Joe enlisted. My immigrant great-grandparents, like so many other new families here, now had multiple sons in the war, just 19 years after making the U.S. their home.

I am torn between trying to track down Great Uncle Joe’s sole living grandchild (which I want to do anyway!) to see if he has his grandfather’s military records, or just sending off to NARA for them myself, and hoping Joe’s records are not among those lost due to the 1973 fire. I do not think Joe’s military records will answer any questions that I need in order to move forward with research on that family line, but I would like to know more about his story.

Great Uncle Joe is not listed yet on the National WWII Registry, so at the very least, I want to add him and honor him in that manner as soon as possible. I am waiting for the Registry site to recover my very old username and password.


U.S. Civil War: Francisco Jimenez & the 1st New Mexico Cavalry

Francisco Jimenez, Civil War Pension Index Card
Civil War Pension Index card for Francisco Jimenez. Source: National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.
A few days ago, I wrote about discovering my first ancestor who fought in the U.S. Civil War — my Mexican-born 2nd great grandfather Francisco Jimenez [Jimenes] (1841-1911). I found this information through his Civil War Pension Index card on Ancestry.com, which indicated that Francisco served in the 1st New Mexico Cavalry — when New Mexico was still a U.S. Territory, that also included present-day Arizona.

I did a little more digging this week, and found additional records that corroborate Francisco’s service in the Civil War and in the 1st New Mexico Cavalry.

The versions of Francisco’s Civil War Pension Index cards that Fold3 has on file look identical to the one available on Ancestry, but include a bit different information. The Fold3 cards do not include the name of Francisco’s widow, Clara Salas, who applied for his pension after his death. The application numbers and date of filing match up with the card on Ancestry, although Fold3 shows a 3rd date of filing — 1907, due to invalid status. The Fold3 versions note a date of death for Francisco, 18 May 1911. They also provide a bit more information about Francisco’s military service (although still no actual dates of service) — he served in Company H and in Company L, both with the 1st New Mexico Cavalry. The Ancestry version only identifies the regiment, not the specific companies.

Francisco Jimenez Civil War and Later Veterans Pension Index Company H
Francisco Jimenez, Company H, 1st New Mexico Cavalry. Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. Courtesy of Fold3.
Francisco Jimenez Civil War and Later Veterans Pension Index Company L
Francisco Jimenez, Company L, 1st New Mexico Cavalry. Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. Courtesy of Fold3.

I was also able to find Francisco Jimenes on the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS) available online through the National Park Service. The CWSS entry notes the same regiment and company numbers that were identified on the pension index cards. What is nice here is that the CWSS provides some new information, his rank when enlisted (Wagoner) and rank when his service ended (Private).

Francisco Jimenez - Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Datbase
Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSS)

Interestingly, the CWSS lists another Francisco Jimenes [Jimenez, Jemines] in Company H of the 1st New Mexico Cavalary. This Francisco Jimenes is only listed in Company H (not L), entered service at the rank of Private and left at the rank of Bugler. It is very possible this is my same Francisco, but it is also likely this is someone else with the same name. I guess this is just one more puzzle for me to investigate.

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Mexican-Born 2nd Great Grandfather Francisco Jimenez is My 1st Identified Civil War Ancestor

US Secession map 1861. Civil War.
US Secession map 1861. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. The Territory of New Mexico at this time included present-day Arizona.

Although I have been a history buff my entire life, and majored in history in college, studying the American Civil War never held much interest for me. Mainly, because I have lived in California my entire life — a state that did not actively participate in the war. No Civil War battles took place here. But my disinterest was also due to not being aware of any ancestors that fought in the Civil War. Both sides of my family primarily immigrated to the U.S. after the Civil War — from Mexico, Ireland, England, Scotland, and Canada. It wasn’t until I married my husband Jeff and started researching his family history that I found ancestor connections to the Civil War.

So what a pleasant surprise it is to finally discover a Civil War soldier ancestor of my own! And even more of a surprise to find that this ancestor is Mexican-born!

To add a bit more complexity to this surprise, this Civil War ancestor is from a family line that I only learned about less than 2 years ago — the maternal line of my paternal grandmother, Rosie Salas (b. 1923). I have mentioned before that Rosie did not raise my father and was never really a part of our lives, so Dad knows almost nothing about Rosie’s childhood or her family history. It wasn’t until May 2013 that I discovered the names of her parents, and their New Mexico origins.

My first identified Civil War veteran ancestor is my 2nd great grandfather Francisco Jimenez [Jimenes] (1841-1911).

About Francisco Jimenez

According to 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census records, Francisco was born in Mexico in April of 1841. He immigrated to the United States in 1852 or 1853 as an 11 or 12 year old boy. I don’t find a trace of Francisco again until his 27 November 1879 post-Civil War marriage to Clara Salas in Belen, Valencia County, New Mexico. Francisco was 38 years old at the time of this marriage; his wife Clara was just 16 years old. Clara and Francisco went on to have at least 6 children together, including my great grandmother Victoria J. Jimenez (1890-1940). They spent their lives in New Mexico, primarily in Grant County. Francisco died on 18 May 1911 at the age of 70. He would never know his granddaughter (my grandmother) Rosie, who was born after his death.

Civil War Service

Francisco Jimenez served with the 1st New Mexico Cavalry, who fought on behalf of the Union. This is confirmed on his Civil War Pension Index card. His dates of service and places of service are not noted. The index card lists his wife Clara Salas as his dependent and widow. Francisco’s pension was first applied for in 1898 — while Francisco was still living — due to the applicant (I assume, Francisco himself) becoming an invalid. His pension was once again applied for on 21 June 1911, one month after his death, by Francisco’s widow Clara.

Now the hunt begins to find more details about my 2nd great grandfather’s Civil War service!

New Mexico did not become a state until after Francisco’s death, on 6 January 1912. During Francisco’s life there and Civil War service with the 1st New Mexico Calvary, New Mexico was a U.S. Territory.

Francisco Jimenez, Civil War Pension Index Card
Civil War Pension Index card for Francisco Jimenez. Source: National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.
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#52 Ancestors: Uncle Joe Deaguero, ALS Took Him Way Too Young

My 49th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks family history blogging challenge.

The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.

Joe Deaguero - High School Yearbook
Pioneer High, 1965. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

My 49th ancestor is my Uncle Joe Deaguero (1947-1983 ).

ALS and Death

Uncle Joe died of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, when I was in eighth grade. I hadn’t thought of him in years, but the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge had Uncle Joe on my mind quite a bit this year, and got my cousins and I talking about him on Facebook. His was the first close family death of my life. I still vividly remember the day he died. I had stayed late at school to make signs for our upcoming junior high dance, and knew something was wrong as soon as I saw my Mom, who broke the news to me.

Uncle Joe was only 36 years old when this horrible disease took his life and finally spared him from suffering any further debilitating effects. I cannot remember how many years he lived after his diagnosis, but I remember that the diagnosis shocked our entire family, and devastated his wife, my Mom’s middle sister (I’m not identifying her by name since she is still living).

It hit us cousins hard to watch our robust playful uncle wither away and lose his ability to speak, as well as all other motor skills. At first, it was a cane, then a wheelchair, then he was bedridden at the very end. But, he participated in family life as actively as he could for as long as he could. Mom, my aunts, grandma, and I took Uncle Joe everywhere with us in his wheelchair. I remember us popping wheelies and making him laugh, and me often jumping on the back of the wheelchair for a ride while pushing him around. I also remember his tears of frustration when trying to speak, when his mouth and vocal chords no longer obeyed his brain. Or when he couldn’t get his hands and arms to move. I remember my tiny aunt being able to lift him in her arms towards the end, because he had lost so much weight and muscle.

Life with Uncle Joe

Fortunately, though, most of what I remember about Uncle Joe are happy funny memories.

He and my aunt were married less than a decade, and although we did not attend their wedding (they eloped in Vegas), I do remember when they got married. Because I wasn’t too happy about it at first. He was taking my fun playmate auntie away…she was a big kid herself who loved to play with her nieces and nephews.

But, Uncle Joe soon grew on me. He was a big kid himself too when it came to his new nieces and nephews. I loved spending the night at their beautiful refurbished old home filled with antiques (including an old fashioned toilet with the pull-down chain handle to flush it). They had old pin ball machines and a juke box that I never tired of playing with. Uncle Joe’s passion was restoring antique cars, and I loved to drive around with him in those — especially riding in the rumble seat of his Ford Model A. The three of us went camping in his restored Willys-Knight. Uncle Joe was an avid woodworker, who made us cousins the coolest toys, including an awesome fort for the bedroom of some of my boy cousins. And every trip to the movies with my aunt and uncle resulted in tons of over-priced junk food that Mom never let me have.

My aunt and uncle never had children of their own, but they showered us nieces and nephews with love and attention.

Family History Discoveries

While on Ancestry.com last week, I got a shaky leaf record hint for Uncle Joe, which is what inspired me to write about him. These hints led to some fun discoveries about my uncle.

First,  a high school yearbook photo of him while a student at Pioneer High in Whittier (Los Angeles County), California. Since he and the other students on that page are in robes, I assume this is his senior year. Even if the photo had not been identified by name, I could have picked him out immediately, I remember that same smile.

But, what surprised me was to learn that Uncle Joe served in the military. I never knew that. I found a U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File entry that indicates he served in the Air Force from 8 April 1966 (most likely, right out of high school) until 4 April 1970.

The following photo is one of the photos I have with my Uncle Joe.

Flanagan Family Wedding 1970s
My Uncle Flanagan’s wedding in the 1970s. Uncle Joe is in the back row, far left, next to his wife (in the hat). I am in the pink dress in the front row.

#52Ancestors: WWI And PFC William James Mara

My 24th entry in Amy Johnson Crow’s “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” family history blogging challenge.

The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.

My 24th ancestor is my great grand uncle, William James MARA (1894-1952).  William was the brother of my great grandmother, Viola Elizabeth Maud MARA (1893-1971) and half brother of my great grand uncle Herbert Gerald ALLEN (1889-?). His parents were Anna Sophia ALLEN (1871-?) and Thomas MARA (1858-1916).

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the event that sparked the First World War, the Great War…the War To End All Wars. The war did not officially start until 28 July 1914, and the U.S. did not declare war until 6 April 1917, but I thought I would take advantage of today’s 100th anniversary to talk about my great grand uncle’s service during WWI.

William registered for the draft in Detroit, Michigan. I can’t tell if he registered in 1917 or early 1918 since the date is cut off on the microfilmed record. At the time, William was 22 years old, and employed as a civil engineer for the United Fuel and Supply Company in Detroit. He was single, listed his mother as his nearest living relative, and lived at 75 Herbert in Detroit, Michigan. William was described as Caucasian, of medium height, with light blue eyes and light hair, and no disfigurements.

He registered for the draft despite not being a U.S. citizen. Mara had been born in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and indicates that he had already filed a declaration of intention to become a citizen.

WWI Draft Registration for William James Mara. Courtesy of Ancestry.com.

An application for a veteran’s headstone filed after his 1952 death by his wife Irene provides information about William Mara’s service in the First World War. He enlisted in the National Army on 5 March 1918, and was assigned serial number 806 804. PFC Mara served in the Medical Department of the Army, at the Base Hospital on Camp Mills, New YorkMara was given an honorable discharge 1 July 1919 as a Private First Class.

Applications for Headstones for U.S. military veterans, 1925-1941. Courtesy Ancestry.com.

Camp Mills, located on Long Island, New York, was established in September 1917 to prepare Army units for deployment to Europe. After the war, it served as a demobilization center before becoming part of Mitchell Field in 1919.

Encampment of National Guard soldiers at Camp Mills, New York training for service in World War I. Public domain photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any further information about PFC William James Mara’s activities during the First World War, but it does not sound like he was deployed overseas. I wish I knew what kind of work he did at Camp Mills. He did not have a medical background, but had worked as an engineer. So he most likely was involved in facilities operations, perhaps helping to build some of the permanent structures.

William did receive that veteran’s headstone. He died 24 November 1952, and is buried in Oakview Cemetery in Royal Oak, Michigan.

Michael John Flanagan’s Missing WWII Navy Years

My grandfather, Michael John Flanagan (1927 – 1997) served in the US Navy from June 15, 1944 to March 18, 1948.

Grandpa never talked about the war, or his military service, in general with us grandkids. I only remember hearing him lecture us against tattoos anytime, as little kids, we would ask about the blue ink he got on his arms while in the Navy. Not interviewing my grandfather about his Navy memories is one of the many regrets I have.

In 2003, I received a copy of Grandpa’s separation form from the National Archives. I was so excited when I saw the NARA addressed manila envelope show up in my mailbox. But I remember being disappointed when I opened it…aside from his years of service and his service member ID number, the NARA documents gave me very little information about his actual service. Not even any mention of the ships or bases on which he served. Or any indication if he received any medals or commendations.

I would have to try to discover and reconstruct this information for myself; a venture I am still pursuing a decade later.

I recently wrote about the ship on which my grandfather served between October 14, 1945 and February 20, 1948, and also the ship on which he served during his final month in the Navy when discharge in March 1948. The US Navy Muster Rolls helped me plot that timeline.

But I cannot find any records identifying where my grandfather served between joining the Navy on June 15, 1944 (at the age of 17), and when he joined the USS Mervine on October 14, 1945. That is a sixteen month gap in history! Since he joined the Mervine in Okinawa, at some point during the first sixteen months of service the Navy transported him from Buffalo, New York (where he enlisted) to Okinawa (where he joined the Mervine).

The only photos I have from Grandpa’s service days. I have no idea  which ship/s these are….the Mervine, the Thompson, or an earlier duty assignment.

If you have suggestions on where I might find records of those missing years, I greatly appreciate it.