Harold Wesley “Jerry” Patrick in Indianapolis.
I will be in the Washington, DC area for work soon. That trip has given me a great excuse to spend some time at the Library of Congress. While I am there, I will to do some background research for the book I am writing about my paternal grandfather’s experience in World War II.
So far, I have about 50 pages of notes and 50 images — photographs, V-Mails, postcards — for that project. I have researched Grandpa’s training as a navigator in the United States, as well as all of the missions he flew on B-17s from Glatton Airfield in the UK. The one major thing I am missing is insight into life on the base. I want to know what it was like to spend time there when not on a mission. My hope is that materials included in the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project will help me fill in the gaps.
Have you done research at the LOC? Do you have any tips for a first timer?
During World War II, my grandfather flew 23 bombing missions over France and Germany as a navigator on a B-17. He trained for this work at air force bases around the United States in 1943 and early 1944. My grandmother followed him around from base to base, taking up short-term jobs and having a big adventure along the way.
I visited the family farm in Ohio a couple of weeks ago and came home to Massachusetts with a box full of old postcards, many of which were written by Grandma to her parents during her travels with Grandpa during the war. The postcard above is one of the ones she sent home from New Orleans. On an earlier postcard, she told her parents that she was looking forward to visiting the city. It rained non-stop while they were there, and, on this card, she said she was ready to leave.
My aunt also gave me a briefcase full of Grandpa’s World War II records on my recent Ohio trip. I am planning to put the postcards together with the military records and some other historical reference materials to create a short book about the war in my family. More about that project in the posts to come.
Today, I was planning to describe a strange issue that cropped up when I was looking for Edward Alanson Patrick in census records, but I decided to hold off on that post so that I could show his death certificate first. Of course, examining the death certificate before other documents is the correct genealogical research order. It also makes telling the census story easier.
Among the details shown here are the names of his parents, Alonzo Patrick and Louisa Beard. I will talk about Alonzo and Louisa in my post about the census.
L to R: Edward Alanson Patrick, Leo A. Patrick, Ella (Askins) Patrick, Carl Amos Patrick. Circa 1897.
When my maternal grandfather, Harold Wesley “Jerry” Patrick, died last May, I realized how little I knew about his family. If pressed for details about my Patrick line, I would have said that Grandpa’s father was Carl Patrick (above right). I also might have guessed that the Patricks were Methodists and Ohio farmers. That would have been about it. Over the last 10 months, however, I have spent a significant amount of time researching my Patrick line. Today’s post marks the first in a series on the research steps I have taken so far to trace that line back from Carl to the end of the American Revolution.
This research project started in earnest when a cousin shared this photograph with me that had previously been in the collection of his grandmother, my great aunt Kay. Unlike other copies of this picture that existed in my family, Aunt Kay’s was carefully labeled with names the people in the portrait. Her label indicated that Carl’s father was named “Edward A. Patrick,” along with his birth (1857) and death (1938) dates. His actual middle name, which would turn out to be a significant clue during further research on the Patricks, would not become clear to me until I had a copy of his death certificate. While I waited for a copy of that document to arrive from the Ohio Historical Society, I started hunting for Edward and his family in the census. Tomorrow, I will talk about the questions raised by the census records I found.
I arrived home yesterday afternoon to find two packages on my kitchen doorstep. The first package contained a hot-off-the-presses memoir by my maternal grandmother’s 89-year-old first cousin, Mary.
Although I have never met Mary in person, we worked together virtually on A Century of Family History, the book of Grandma’s photos that went to press back in December. Mary contributed key information and priceless anecdotes through the book’s blog and via e-mail. Through our e-mail conversations over the last few months, she knew that I wanted to learn more about our family history. She promised to send her memoir when she had finished it. I am thrilled that she did.
She also sent a copy of another cousin’s memoir and a journal written by one of my second great-uncles. Now I have a lot of reading to do.
A striking thing about this special delivery of family documents is that I never would have received it if I had not decided to “do something” with my grandmother’s photo collection last year. Asking my relatives one question (“What do you know about the people and places in these pictures?”) yielded more information, insight, and genealogy leads in one year than I ever imagined possible. Here is my new question: What’s next?
My cousin Joyce took me on a tour of our family’s home sites last year. Without her, I never would have found many old homes, because they have changed so much since our ancestors lived in them. Like many older houses in Morrow County, most of the Victorian features have disappeared from this house over the years. The intricate woodwork is gone, and the original clapboards have been replaced with vinyl siding. Although the original iron fence no longer lines the road, a few fence panels have been moved to decorate the home’s current main entrance.
The people in the photograph are, left to right: Mary J. (Hicks) Throckmorton, my second great-grandmother; Lizzie (possibly a Throckmorton family foster child); Mary Edna Throckmorton (my great-grandmother); and Verner Throckmorton (Edna’s brother). This photograph was taken on June 9, 1908 outside the Throckmorton farmhouse on Township Road 197 in Morrow County, Ohio. Mary’s husband (and the father of Edna and Verner) was Charles Wesley Throckmorton, who died eight years before this portrait was taken.
Unlike Emily (Salisbury) Throckmorton, the woman I discussed at length last week, Elizabeth (Sailsbury) Patrick accepted the terms of her late husband’s will. The following is a transcription of her “Election of the Widow,” a probate record dating from 1889. These two women would later be connected by the marriages of their step-grandchildren. Emily Throckmorton’s step-granddaughter, Mary Edna Throckmorton, would later marry Elizabeth Patrick’s step-grandson, Carl Amos Patrick. Edna and Carl were my great-grandparents.
Election of Widow
And now comes Elizabeth Patrick widow of Alonzo Patrick deceased, and in open Court made her election to take under the last will and testament of said deceased as follows towit:
The State of Ohio
Morrow County SS
May 29 1889.
I Elizabeth Patrick widow of Alonzo Patrick late of Morrow County deceased, fully understanding the provisions of the last will and testament of said deceased and of my rights under it, and also of my rights by law to take and accept of the provisions made for me in said last will and testament, in lieu of my dower interest and distribution share of the estate of said deceased.
Subscribed in open Court, before me this 29” day of May 1889
L.K. Powell, Probate Judge.
(Source: Ohio, Probate Court (Morrow County), “Complete Record 1871-1921,” vol. 1: pp. 428, Elizabeth Patrick’s Election of the Widow, 29 May 1889; FHL microfilm 1,928,463.)