I am TOTALLY excited about the new season of “Who Do You Think You Are?” starting tomorrow night on TLC! It’s airing at 9PM Eastern and I’d really encourage you to tune in and see what they find out. Tomorrow night starts with Kelly Clarkson. (Psst, I notice the last name Rose and Ohio Civil War record in her preview… 🙂 ) It looks like Christina Applegate is up next. Check out this article for more names.
So, why do I watch this. First, because I love following their journey and excited in finding out their own family history. I know how it excites me to find that one more document or another piece of information. Second, you learn a bit about our country’s history. Part of their family history is U.S. history as well. Why did someone’s grandfather up and move to California? (Was it the gold rush?) Why did they move one state over? (Was it a land grant or lottery?) Part of it is the world history as well. Not everyone’s family has been here for decades or centuries. Why did they come? (My husband’s family were French Huguenots as best we can tell who left and went to Germany and came from there to America. Religious reasons?) Another reason is the tricks of the trade. It’s interesting to see the actual documents they find and to find out what else is out there that I haven’t even run across yet in my searching. (Did you know about the Salt Lists from the Civil War? Yep, found Georgia ones with family listed!)
You’d be surprised what they learn and where they go in search of information. What would YOU like to learn? Tune in and see if you can find out more from them, too!
First, I’d like to direct you to the blog and Facebook page for the US National Archives, commonly called NARA. There are two blog posts of particular interest relating to today’s post. First is on the fire in St. Louis, and the second is on Donna Judd. The blog on the fire discusses the time line and a bit about the records it destroyed or damaged and what all happened. The blog regarding Ms. Judd discusses her work in examining the military records that were damaged. Of note from the NARA website is that you must be immediate family in order to request more recent records (for those of you more interested and closer related than I).
Today, I want to start a look at the men in the Waters family. I’ll start with Nip, as John Nipper was called. This is because I have been told that his records were actually in that fire. I don’t know if more have been discovered in more recent years but there were at least some missing or destroyed due to the fire.
Nip was born in 1920 to James Benjamin and Willie Odessa Waters. When he was born, Willie had 4 girls from her previous marriage to Andy Pitts: Lydia Beatrice (who passed away in 1909 at the age of two), Flossie Mae, and twins Edna Earl and Lola Evelyn. After Andy died in 1913, she married James in 1915. James and Willie had two boys (Jesse Willard and Jimmy Layvone) before Nip was born in 1920. Willie would have a grand total of 14 (fourteen!) children with the last being born in 1934.
Nip was born in Ashburn, Turner county, Georgia, but by both the 1930 and 1940 census records he’s listed as living in Vickers, Worth county, Georgia. September 18, 1941, he enlisted in the Army at the age of 21. His residence is still listed as Worth county, Georgia, and the place of his enlistment was Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia. While it’s amusing that the record lists the branch of service as “Immaterial”, it’s interesting to note he was a Warrant Officer. Obviously surviving the war, he returns home to marry and have children. 1986 records indicate he lived in Arabi.
Sadly, he passed away in 2007 at the age of 87. Findagrave.com shows him buried at Arabi-Antioch Cemetery with very nice photos of the grave site. (One photo shows the military marker designating him as “S SGT US ARMY” and “WORLD WAR II” veteran.) His obituary, also found online, list him as a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient.
Stay tuned as we climb this branch of the family tree… 🙂