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25 May 2016

United States Headstone Applications for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1949

This upcoming Monday is Memorial Day in the United States, a time when many people will visit the graves of those you have passed. As part of this families will place flags on the graves of those who served the country in the Armed Forces. This event may be the first time that the younger members of families learn about their ancestors and hopefully they will be copying the information as a foundation of their own genealogical journey.
It is very timely that FamilySearch has recently updated a database that will help provide additional information to the headstone itself. That database, United States Headstone Applications for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1949, includes the images, which have been indexed, of over 621,000 applications. These applications were received by the Cemetery Division of the Quartermaster General and are now held at the National Archives.
The more recent applications, such as the one below for Maurice Cohen, tend to give a little more information than the earlier ones. However, because of the years involved it is possible to search for the families in the Federal Census records. While relationships are not given, the applicant is usually a family member. That combined with the address of the applicant and the name of the cemetery may help identify them in other records.


Below is the application, dated 14 Aug 1934 for Moses Cohen who died on 19 Feb 1934. This earlier application lacks a couple of pieces of information that are on the later applications. Both give the name, date of death and cemetery where the burial will be, however the earlier application is missing the date of birth and the date of enlistment.


These records can be a great way to find out more about our ancestors who served their country and the headstones provide a nice tribute to their service. May we all take a moment and remember our loved ones and their heroic service.


03 May 2016

Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah)


Thursday, May 5th is the date set aside as Holocaust Remembrance Day or Yom Hashoah. It is the day that we remember the over 6,000,000 who were murdered during the Holocaust. It is a time that we can bring our families together in hopes that the memories will never be lost.

"FORGETTING THEM MEANS LETTING THEM DIE AGAIN"
                                                                   Elie Wiesel
 While the murders did indeed take place in Europe, there may not have been any place on earth that
Marriage of Meyer/Wittkowski
was not influenced by the Holocaust. This year I will remember some of my own family members, people such as Philip Myer and his wife Mabel Wittkowski.
Philip and Mabel were married on  7 Dec 1889 in Berlin, Germany (doc at left). Philip was born in Fordon, Poland the son of Gumpel Meyer and his wife Rosa Auerbach. At the time of this wedding both of his parents were living in Salt Lake City, where the family was involved with the Auerbach Department Stores. Mabel was born in Ballaart, Australia, the daughter of the late Isidor and his wife Lina Kronfeld.
Philip had spent time back in Utah prior to his wedding, he was the architect of one of the first synagogues in Utah, however he lived with his bride in Berlin. During the war, Philip and Mabel were taken to the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, were their murders were recorded in Oct of 1943.


This year I will also remember those who lost their lives as they fought to free people from the hands of evil. Many of the soldiers who died had never been to Europe before but volunteered because they knew what was happening was not right, and that everyone should have the right to worship as they wanted. I will remember Deyon Frantz Knowles, a Naval Seaman 2nd Class, who died when his ship went down in the Atlantic Ocean in Nov 1943
Seaman Deyon Frantz Knowles was my uncle and because of his bravery and service I was never able to meet him, and I refuse to forget him.  His memory is recorded in the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, which is located within the grounds of the former Fort William McKinley, in Manila, Philippines.

 
We may not be able to reverse what happened during the Holocaust, but we can help our families remember those who were murdered and those who died trying to help. By doing so we may be able to keep their memories alive, that it may never happen again.