A “gift” from ancestry.com

I decided to renew my subscription to ancestry.com after a few year hiatus. I had done a lot of work on the family tree and realized that there was no good way to capture it without paying ancestry.com to print a book for me. I guess, the fact that I was paying hundreds a year to do their research for them stuck in my croup, so I let my subscription lapse.

My cousin Darrell struck up a conversation last weekend about the family tree, and I found myself drawn back in. The process is tedious, but every little “hint” beckons and you get endorphins from each layer of the puzzle you complete. Seeing an image of a draft card signed by your relative, or the ships passenger lists for transatlantic travel is just a rush.

So I renewed. This time I bought access to military databases and newspapers.com which broadened my search results tremendously. While I was whittling away at the family mysteries, I thought I’d run a newspaper search for Uncle Jimmy. Then I found this article which has changed my opinion on the manner of his death profoundly. There was an eyewitness account, which had not been part of the military report. After reading this article and looking at the sharp photo (much crisper and better focused than the military photos) it is my belief that he had engine trouble and he tried to land the plane.

I wish his family learned this when they were alive, it may have brought them comfort.

original newspaper article
News article on page 5 of the April 9, 1943 edition of the Oakland Tribune

Click on the article for a full sized edition.

Now, back to the family tree.