Memorial Monday: Ancestors Who Served

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

In honor of Memorial Day, here’s a quick run-down of my military ancestors:

My dad — US Army Reserves; Korean War, WWII (pictured left with his brother, Edmund, who served in the Navy)

Grandpa Wild — U.S. Army

Grandpa Corley — Iowa Infantry; Spanish-American War

Obediah Basham (my 4Ggrandfather) — Revolutionary War (I haven’t submitted a DAR application yet because I’m still collecting the necessary documentation, but others have)

I’m betting that I also had ancestors on one or both sides of the Civil War, but I haven’t collected/found proof of this yet.

Treasure Chest Thursday: Memorial Day Edition

Today’s post is about the U.S. flag my family received after my father was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. As I’ve posted in the past, my father served in WWII and the Korean War as a radiologist. Only recently did I discover some of the stories about his service.

My dad died of natural causes, after a very long and full life, when I was only 7 years old. There was so much I didn’t understand when I attended his funeral, but the memories of that day are quite vivid, including the folding of this flag and its presentation to my mom.

Recently, I received my dad’s military personnel file, several months after requesting it from the National Archives and Records Administration. I learned still more about my dad and his service. What a treasure trove. If you are the direct descendant of a now-deceased veteran, I highly recommend taking advantage of the resources NARA provides — request their records as a way to honor them for Memorial Day. You’re sure to learn a lot!

Holiday Happenings

This is post #15 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories and is dedicated to my cousins Shannon and Kevin.

My family is one of holiday birthdays. My cousin, Kevin, was born on Halloween. Another cousin, Shannon, on Christmas. I was born the day before Thanksgiving, and so I get a turkey dinner for my big day every five years or so.

I’ve never minded having a birthday near Thanksgiving. In fact, it’s been advantageous to have those days off to celebrate. I’ve always loved the certainty of having my family gathered around me on or near my birthday.

My birthday is just far enough away from Xmas to avoid the dreaded present combo that my cousin Shannon has certainly faced every year. She also has the advantage of having her birthday fall on a national holiday, but at what cost?

Kevin, of course, gets to have tons of candy and cake on his birthday. And I’m sure he’s had a few raucous costume parties along the way. ;o)

Love to all my Wild family cousins: Cindy, Lee, Kevin, Kelly, Shannon and Daniel! And if there are any CORLEY cousins out there that wish to identify themselves, drop me a note!

Tombstone Tuesday: Arlington Abbey, Part 3

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

As I detailed in two previous blog posts (Part 1 and Part 2), the remains of three of my ancestors were once buried at Arlington Abbey Mausoleum in Arlington, Va. However, that site fell into disrepair decades ago and was subjected to vandalism and worse. When the Army Corps of Engineers tried to close the facility in the late 1990s, they couldn’t reach all of the families of those buried there. When I tried to find more information about my relatives, I learned that their remains were missing.

As I said in my last post, it appeared that one of three things had happened: 1) a family member removed my ancestors’ remains to another location during a time when records of such removals were not recorded; 2) the urns holding the remains were stolen or destroyed; 3) the remains were among a bunch of unmarked urns found scattered inside the mausoleum, with no way to trace them back to the crypts to which they belonged.

I’m happy to report that while discussing this mystery with my half-brother over the Thanksgiving holiday, we found the answer. In an old version of our father’s will (dated only a year after I was born), he stated that he had purchased a crypt at another facility for “ashes of deceased members of my family who bore the name Corley.”

I called that facility when I returned home Saturday afternoon. After giving them the names and dates of death of the missing ancestors, the facility called me back in short order to let me know that they indeed have their remains. I now have their exact location and I hope to visit the memorial park soon.

I’ve sent this information to the Army Corps of Engineers archaeologist who assisted me in my search for my missing ancestors. My hope is that now that we have found my relatives, this may help narrow down the possible identities of those remains found on the floor of the mausoleum.

Continue to Part 4 (Tombstone Tuesday: Corley).

Wordy Wednesday: Remembrance Day/Veterans Day Memories of My Dad

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My Dad

My father passed away when I was young. He served in both WWII and the Korean War as a doctor in the Army Reserves. I didn’t get to hear many stories from him personally, and I continue to be amazed by what I find through my research.

Earlier this year, while searching for my surname online, I discovered the book The World of Surgery 1945-1985 — Memoirs of One Participant by James D. Hardy had several mentions of my dad’s name in it. I was even more surprised to learn that the book was in the stacks of the University of Maryland, College Park, main library (I work on this campus).

dadwxraysA portion of the book covers the author’s time with the Army during World War II and that’s where my dad’s name appears — my dad was the author’s unit commander at Camp Lee Regional Hospital (p. 85). I was delighted to find passages mentioning my dad, such as:

“7 Apr 45. Miraculously, we were ready today to recieve flocks of patients. Headquarters  (Lt. Hurand), registrar (Lt. Elliott), and Maj. Corley have done a bang-up job…” (p. 98).

And this amazing excerpt:

“11 Jul 45. Lt. Col. Banks, CO, was wounded seriously… by a bullet accidentally discharged by a Luger being cleaned some distance away. Struck and dazed while sitting on his bunk, he staggered out of his tent calling for Major Corley. The bullet itself had passed through the tent wall and lodged in Corley’s bedroll.” (p. 110).

My father was on the medical team that helped to treat surviving concentration camp prisoners from Dachau and surrounding locations after the Germans surrendered in the spring of 1945. I have a copy of “The History of the 81st Field Hospital,” which spares no detail in describing some of the horrors witnessed there.

Dad also served in a M*A*S*H unit in Korea. I have fond memories of watching the TV show of the same name while sitting on his lap when I was about five years old. He absolutely loved that show.

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Dad in his high school R.O.T.C. days.

After Dad retired from the Army (rank: Lieutenant Colonel), he went on to become chief of radiology at Kimbrough Army Hospital at Fort Meade, Md.

———————–

James D. Hardy, The World of Surgery 1945-1985 — Memoirs of One Participant, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986.

SNGF: Surname Distribution

Here’s our mission from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings:

1) Find out the geographical distribution of your surname – in the world, in your state or province, in your county or parish. I suggest that you use the Public Profiler site at http://www.publicprofiler.org/worldnames/, which seems to work quickly and easily. However, you cannot capture the image as a photo file – you have to capture the screen shot, save it and edit it.

2) Tell us about your surname distribution in a blog post of your own (with a screen shot if possible), in comments to this post, or in comments on a social networking site like Facebook and Twitter.

What a great site/blog idea! Everyone’s going to want to see their how their surname is distributed, genealogist or not. Here’s the screen cap for mine (click on it for a larger version).

worldnames-sm

CORLEY Distribution

No surprise that Ireland has such a high distribution (78.86 FPM — frequency per million). You can zoom in on particular areas of the map to see what the distribution looks like in individual countries and states. In the United States, the highest distribution for Corleys is in South Carolina (541.86 FPM). According to my research, I have to delve waaaaayyy back in my line before I see links to those Corleys. In Ireland, Corleys are concentrated in the western counties of Clare, Galway and Mayo. The FPM for Corley in West Ireland is 424.84.

Thanks, Randy! That was fun!

SNGF: Unique Ancestral Names

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

Here is the topic for this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun by Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings:

1) What is the most unique, strangest or funniest combination of given name and last name in your ancestry? Not in your database – in your ancestry.

2) Tell us about this person in a blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook.

3) Okay, if you don’t have a really good one – how about a sibling of your direct ancestors?

My great-great-great grandparents (Jonathan Cheatham* Corley and his wife, Delilah Basham) apparently had an affinity for U.S. historical figures. My great-great grandfather was Benjamin William Franklin Corley and he had siblings including Henry William Washington Corley (Benjamin’s twin) and Andrew Jackson Corley.

While those are only three of the 12 children that Jonathan and Delilah had together, they stand out to me. Some of the others are named after relatives (their son Caniel would have been named after Jonathan’s father).

Their names may not be unique, but I enjoy reading them as I look over my family tree. Other favorites of mine include Delilah’s, that of her father, Obediah, and the following siblings of direct ancestors:

Salley Finley Corley (has a nice rhythm to it)
Sallathiel Corley
Unity Jane Corley

This post got me thinking of the early nomenclature chapter in Genealogy as Pastime and Profession by Jacobus. He details how the Puritans named their children (Delilah would have been avoided as a name because she fell under the “Scriptural rascals and scoundrels” category (p. 29)). Jacobus goes on to say it was a common practice to close one’s eyes and run one’s finger through the Bible at random to select a name, which could explain some odd names like “Notwithstanding.”

* Jonathan Cheatham Corley’s middle name always makes me smile because it reminds me of this window in Harvard Square (Cambridge, Mass.), the headquarter’s for NPR’s “Car Talk” show, apparently.