March 26, 2017

The Oldest Veterans on YouTube

There is a time capsule of American military veterans on YouTube, and it is remarkable. As a follow-up to our recent post, The Faces of U.S. Military Veterans through the Centuries, we now bring you a line-up of amazing videos and photographs from the War of 1812 to World War II.

We begin this YouTube journey with the historical footage of the funeral procession of Hiram Cronk. Cronk was the last known surviving veteran of the War of 1812 when he died in 1905, at the age of 105. The clip found on YouTube shows row after row of marching men passing by on the screen. A YouTube comment identifies them as “Civil War veterans in their 60s [and] Mexican-American War veterans in their 80s.” Another comment identifies the last group of marching soldiers as re-enactors wearing War of 1812 soldier’s uniforms.

In fact, YouTube offers us many opportunities to see the faces and actions of earlier generations of soldiers. Have you seen the famous footage of the storming of the beaches at Normandy? It’s on YouTube!

After sharing our last post, The Faces of U.S. Military Veterans through the Centuries, I received a comment from Stephen, a Genealogy Gems reader. Stephen’s father served in the U.S. Army during WWII and was in the Aleutian Islands. That caught my eye because my father-in-law also served in the Aleutian Islands. It was a challenging landscape in which to serve, which is evident in the YouTube video I found online.

Aleutian Islands WWII Campaign: Combat runs over Kiska, Alaska

There are other military history gems found on YouTube you may never have expected to see. This next video is a collection of early combat photos beginning in 1863 with the U.S. Civil War. The creator of this video gave some background on combat photography. He said:

“The first war photography took place in the Mexican-American War by an anonymous photographer, but it wasn’t until the American Civil War that the first combat photos were taken…The limitations posed by the time and complexity it took to take a photo in the mid-to-late 1800’s made it difficult to obtain images during battles, but a few of naval actions did emerge. There was also not a tradition of journalists and artists putting their lives on the line for an image. The overall amount of combat photography before World War I was small, but a few images did emerge from a few courageous and pioneering people. By the time of World War I, governments saw the value in having large numbers of photographers to document conflicts for propaganda purposes and improved camera technology allowed combat photographers to routinely capture most iconic images of many conflicts.”

The earliest combat photos, 1863-1915

Google Drive and other tipsClick here for tips to find your family history on YouTube or read an entire chapter on the subject in my book, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox.

Addition Resources:

New and Updated Genealogical Collections of Military Records From Around the World

Throughout time, there have been military veterans all around the world. Military records created during their time of service and subsequent years provide researchers with a wealth of detail. This week in our new and updated genealogical collections, we highlight U.S. military records for the Navy, U.S. Revolutionary War pensioners, New Zealand military veterans, and a variety of Irish military records.

dig these new record collections

Happy Veteran’s Day! Thank you to all the brave men and women of the United States who have fought in our armed forces. We salute you and remember those who are living today, those who have passed, and those that gave their lives in the service of our country.

Findmypast is offering free access to their entire military collection between November 10-13, 2016. Not only does Findmypast cover US and Canadian military records, but their records also cover the UK, Ireland, and Australian military.

United States – WWII Military Records

Check out the Findmypast.com collection titled Duty Locations, Naval Group China, World War II, 1942-1945. More than 33,000 records contain the details of military personnel who served overseas with the US Naval Group China. This group was the US Navy’s intelligence unit in China during WWII.
The records are mostly muster roll reports that record names, duty locations and changes made to ranks and rates of pay for naval personnel.

United States – Revolutionary War Military Records

Also at Findmypast, the 1840 U.S. Census, Revolutionary War Veterans database containing over 21,000 records of servicemen and their families may help you in your genealogy search. These records include those who were receiving pensions in 1840 for service in the Revolutionary War.
nov11_1

On the back of the population schedules for the 1840 census, enumerators recorded the living pensioners of the Revolutionary War and other military service. The list also noted an individual’s age and the name of the head-of-household in which the individual lived.

Though this is just a transcript, you can go to Ancestry or FamilySearch to see the digital image.

New Zealand – Military Records

New Zealand Wars, officers and men killed 1860-1870 from Findmypast consists of 193 transcripts of nominal returns of colonial officers and men who were killed in action while fighting in the Maori Wars. Each transcript will list your ancestor’s date of death, rank and corps.

New Zealand, military pensions 1900-1902, also from Findmypast, is a collection of records detailing those eligible for military pensions. This collection is only in transcription form, but may shed further light on your ancestors next of kin. In particular, these records often include your name, rank, service number, name and address of their next of kin, and relationship.

Ireland – Military Records

The Ireland, Royal Hibernian Military School History from Findmypast is a 168 page document regarding the history of the Royal Hibernian Military School in Dublin. This collection includes transcriptions from memorial inscriptions, a roll of honor from the First World War, and transcripts from both the 1901 and 1911 census.

The Royal Hibernian Military School was founded in 1765 in Phoenix Park, Dublin. Today, it is the site of St Mary’s Hospital. When the school closed in 1924, all the registers and minute books were taken to Walworth, London. During the World War II, these documents were destroyed in the Blitz. The Ireland, Royal Hibernian Military school history provides a valuable substitute for the records that were lost.

Ireland Military Records is the title collection from Findmypast that contains 8 different military publications and over 2,700 records. AIreland military recordsmong the records, you will find memorial inscriptions and army lists from the 17th and 19th centuries.

Each record is displayed as a PDF. The detail found in each record will vary depending on the publication and the subject.

Each week, we scour the web to bring you the best in what’s new for your genealogical research. Be sure to sign-up for our free Genealogy Gems newsletter so you don’t miss it. While you are at it, how about sharing the good news with your genealogy buddies, after all…it’s nice to share!

For those newbies who are looking for how to begin their own genealogy journey or for the genealogist that needs a little brushing up, take a look at the Family History Genealogy Made Easy genealogy for beginnersfree Family History: Genealogy Made Easy series. Lisa Louise Cooke offers articles, podcasts, and videos to get you started on the right foot and achieve genealogy success!

It’s Veterans Day: “One Day is Not Enough” To Say Thank You

Happy Veterans Day! One day is not enough to honor their service and sacrifice. Here’s how Veterans Day came to be.

Happy Veterans Day history of Veterans Day

U.S. Sailors march in New York City’s 2013 Veterans Day Parade. Wikimedia Commons image; click to view.

Today we add our voices to the thousands who are honoring the service, courage and sacrifices of thousands of U.S. military veterans. In the past few weeks, we have participated in the #CountdowntoVeteransDay initiative, with posts highlighting veterans and records of their service. We did this because we agree with Dan Dayton, executive director of the WWI Centennial Commission that “one day is not enough to talk about veterans.”

Did you know that Veterans Day has been a tradition in the U.S. for nearly 100 years? But the first Veterans Day wasn’t called that. It was Armistice Day, which honored the end of fighting in World War I. “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory,” said U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.

Armistice Day 1919

Wikimedia Commons image. Click to view.

Unfortunately, WWI didn’t turn out to be “the war to end all wars,” as most people hoped.

“In 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word ‘Armistice’ and inserting in its place the word ‘Veterans,'” explains the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. “With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.”

Dan Dayton encourages us to observe Veterans Day meaningfully: “to volunteer for veterans-themed projects, to donate to organizations that support military veterans, to share pictures and stories of military service on social media.”

Flickr Creative Commons image, unaltered. Click to view image and license.

Flickr Creative Commons image (unaltered). Click to view image and license.

I would add another invitation: think of the veterans you know, and reach out to them–call, email or reach out on social media–and thank them. In my family, I thank my husband Bill, my son-in-law Ryan, and my Uncle Buzz for protecting our freedom through their military service.

Read More about Veteran’s Day and Military History here at Genealogy Gems:

Be a Hero! 4 Ways to Rescue Military Memories and Artifacts

Find Your Family History in WWII Yearbooks

Preserve the Memories of Combat Victims