The Big Secret…

When you’re shaking your family tree, a few nuts are bound to fall. However, sometimes a few skeletons fall also. I’m wondering, do you say “Hey..look at this skeleton bone that just fell” or do you dig a hole and bury it never to be found again?

When I say never, I mean, only to be found by the next person in your tree looking to shake it a little.

Everyone has a big secret in their family tree.  Some directly related to the person doing the researching.  Does that give you a right to make the secret known or do you wait for permission from all parties involved to blurt it out??  Some secrets can change the dynamics of an entire family.  What do you do with this information???

Plan of Action from Karen

Thank you Karen SOOO much for your comment. I’m reposting the comment because this is information anyone searching for long lost military relatives can use!!!

From what little information you have about his movements in the Navy, here is a long shot for you. It might be difficult to find these sources, but you might try libraries and used book stores. Squadrons and ships and shore units often will publish yearbooks with photos and names of the personnel assigned to that unit. Maybe someone in Norfolk (I recommend RAOGK – Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness,, and look in their directory for someone in Norfolk). You might get lucky.

I just wish I could see his left arm in the photo because his rating insignia (what his duty was in the Navy) would be there. He does appear to have a lot of medals. The really unfortunate thing is that he doesn’t seem to have a name tag on his uniform. If only he’d worn a name tag, that might have helped you a lot, if you could get the picture enlarged with some clarity. At that, you might try, because the name of his ship might be on the band of his cap! Something is written there, but I cannot make it out.

One thing you might think of trying is to go to the armed services website (, and on the left-hand side of that home page, click on Navy. You will have to register, but it is free. Post the photograph on the site, if you can, and see if anyone recognizes your grandfather! That, too, is a long shot, but there could be some old retirees who just might remember.

You could try to get his service record with the sketchy information you have. It would be difficult. I would recommend that you call the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, which is where his record would be kept. Their phone number is 314-801-0800. I have found NARA and NPRC personnel to be very helpful. Explain your situation to them, and how much this means to you, and see if they can find his record just with the name — even though they’d have to sift through variations, in your case.

Much good luck, and I’m going to follow your blog to see if you have any luck with this.

Karen Packard Rhodes

Karen – I’ve started working on this. I did fill out a form and sent it to the National Personal Office. Since an immediate descendent had to do it, I had my dad send it to them. They replied back saying that we need a SSN in order to get information. But, I’m going to call and see if there is something else I can do.

Thanks again. This has given me some hope in finding info on my grandfather.

To-Do List: DO IT NOW!

I’ve been so scatter-brained lately. There are so many things to do that I can’t focus on one to get started. So, I decided to write a to-do list to help me get moving.

  • 1. Update family database. I have some addresses I need to update.
  • 2. Work on September newsletter. It’s nowhere near completion and due to be mailed out by September 15th. *sigh*.
  • 3. Make phone calls to a new cousin in TX to get his family info.
  • 4. Export database to get the birthdays for the coming quarter (September –November). I add this to the newsletter to recognize family.
  • 5. Scan pictures and documents received on my last trip to NC.
  • 6. Send document and picture of ancestor to cousin. It’s a surprise. The family doesn’t think she’s ever seen the document and picture of her parents. They think she should have them. Don’t worry, they’re scanned.
  • 7. Upload my images to a reliable image hosting site. Especially for times like these where my laptop is out of commission due to my cat eating the charger. Still waiting for my new one to be delivered. I was thinking of using Google for my images…
  • 8. Learn WP. I really want to move this blog to a WP blog and incorporate my family tree online for the family to view. I understand that WP is more customizable than Blogger. But, I’m just so comfy on my Blogger’s hard to leave.
  • 9. I know I’m forgetting something.
  • 10. Now I know, plan the 2010 family reunion in Orlando. I need to decide on where in Orlando we’re going to have it.
  • 11. My genealogy friend, Our Georgia Roots, reminded me that I need to be posting to all the online boards. I hadn’t been doing that. So, when I get my charger, I’ll make more of an effort.

So, right now, I’m working 1, 2 & 4 items on my to-do list since they go hand in hand.