With the help of “Intense Guy,” (whom we all prefer to call, simply, “Iggy”), the stories of some of Frank Stevens’ Navy boot camp companions start to take shape. While I don’t have any “orphan photos” to send to long-lost family members of these guys, I still feel this need to connect with the people who were important to my family. For what it’s worth, here are a few more links that tell the story of some of the twelve men who signed Frank’s “Company 162” photograph. Thanks to Iggy for providing the “ammo” to further help me to hit that mark.
I’m including hyperlinks to material we’ve found. Sometimes the only clues were on Ancestry.com, and may only connect for those already holding membership there; I’m still including them in hopes that family members of these men may someday find this post and get the benefit of being helped along in their research. (And here’s a hurrah to the perennial availability of search engine findings!)
As I continue to post what’s being found (by Iggy, other readers, as well as my own searches), I’ll post the rest of the close-ups from the boot camp photo. Here’s hoping someone gets to see their grandfather or dad in his younger years, perhaps a side of the man for which his descendants don’t have much documentation.
Of course, if anyone sees a face they recognize, I’d love to hear from you. Just post a comment and we’ll connect.
John O. Clark: With a common surname like Clark (the 25th most common surname in the United States, as of the 2000 Census, although, admittedly, now slipping from its previous ranking), I hesitate to research this one, but Iggy found a distinguishing mark to let his records stand out: the “O” stands for a middle name of “Orland.” With a small hometown like Harvey, Iowa, contributing to honing in on specific Clarks, it made it a bit easier to identify this John Clark. Iggy found his parents’ names to be Marvin and Violet Clark—fortunately, two less common names to add to the mix—and voilà! Findings for the US 1930 census in Iowa, as well as several Rootsweb family trees for John’s parents and younger brother, Fred. John, like my father-in-law, Frank Stevens, evidently took the same military career path of moving from service in the Navy to enlisting in the new-at-the-time United States Air Force. Although I was able to find his birth record transcribed on FamilySearch.org, as well as his information on the Social Security Death Index (soon to become an endangered species, itself) plus two online versions of his obituary (giving a hint of the culture of his hometown), I found precious little about the details of his service in the Navy, other than Iggy's note that he was an Aviation Machinist's Mate, First Class. Unfortunately, there is also no entry at Find A Grave for his name nor his first wife's name, though the cemetery information itself is available; hopefully a relative or other volunteer will someday be able to add that to the online record.
C. F. Soucy: I hadn’t even attempted to find this man’s data online, because of the ambiguity of initials used instead of a full name. I’ve tried that sort of stunt before (and on a “C” initial, too) with absolutely no results other than wasting an entire day. (With an extreme amount of fortitude, revisiting that task with several more days' work, I did find what I was seeking—but I'm still not sure the pay-off was worth the price.) So bless you, Iggy, for coming up with results on this one. If “C. F.” stands for “Carl Frederick” of Polk County, Iowa, then we have a match—but only a match. There is not much additional information on this man online—with the exception of Ancestry.com copies of Navy Muster Rolls showing him serving on the USS John Penn, right out of boot. He must have had quite a Navy career, though, as I also found his records on the USS President Hayes for duty in the summer of 1943, and on the USS Collingsworth returning from Tsingtao, China, headed for the States and discharge, at long last, in 1945. There were also records on Ancestry.com showing that he attended training at the Atlantic Fleet Schools in Norfolk, Virginia, and was transported back from training at the Amphibious Training Center on the USS Alhena to North Carolina, and at another time to a receiving ship at San Pedro, California—perhaps the ship that brought him, ultimately, to that destination in China. Speaking of that record that shows his last residence as “Polk,” actually, the Social Security Death Index, as listed on FamilySearch.org, only shows last residence by county, but as I discovered by pulling up the same record at Ancestry.com, the hometown he listed in his photograph signature—Des Moines—was his nearly lifelong residence in Polk County. As for any other records—obituaries, Find-A-Grave entries, even census records—I find nothing. Other than what looks to be an extremely busy Naval career, the man in private life seems to be an online enigma.
Edwin Alfred Warchol: Just as Iggy had mentioned in his comment yesterday, I found a 1920 US Census entry for Edwin Warchol in Lake County, Indiana, in the household of John and Anna Warchol. Iggy explained that “Tilden Tech” next to Edwin’s signature referred to Tilden Technical High School in Chicago. Ancestry.com provided Navy Muster Rolls that led me to find his service—at least at the end of the war—on the USS Franklin (CV 13). Later, a Social Security Death Index entry on FamilySearch.org confirms dates of birth and death, as well as his residence, by that point, in Arizona. Find-A-Grave has an entry for his burial information. I was unable to find any other public or private family trees of researchers of this branch of the Warchol family tree, so I don’t have any current contact information. However, in situations like this, I’m inclined to post queries on those ever-helpful genealogy forums and see if anyone will come find me.
With a bit more research time and effort, hopefully I'll have more to post on this group of twelve by tomorrow.