When my grandson Aidan Wilcox Saucier was born six years ago in the great state of Minnesota, it was all I could do to wait three weeks to meet him, to look into that cute little face in person.
Here we are in late summer 2014, and I am nearly the definition of patience, making plans for an up-close-and-personal date with granddaughter Arabelle Georgette Saucier, 2 months old already.
Of course, I have lots of ancestors to tell her about, including her great-grampy, Gayland A. Moore Jr., who was a sailor in the Pacific in World War II. His favorite record was “Danny Boy,” which a shipmate threw overboard because he got tired of hearing it, so of course I love to sing “Danny Boy” to each of our family’s new babies.
What I didn’t know until after George Barthel died in May was that Papa, great-grampy to my Minnesota grandchildren and their cousins, served in the U.S. Marines shortly after World War II.
Maybe Ancestry.com would have something on George G.E. Barthel’s military service. After all, the database does have the World War II Muster Rolls for enlisted men in the U.S. Navy, 1939-48, my dad included.
Muster rolls for the U.S. Marine Corps, in fact, cover 1798-1958. Pvt. George Barthel first shows up on the muster roll for July 1946, stationed with the First Recruiting Battalion, Recruiting Depot, Marine Barracks, Parris Island, South Carolina. Sounds like basic training.
By October 1946, he was with Aircraft Engineering Squadron 46 in Cherry Point, North Carolina. In April 1947, he was part of Marine Air Casual Squadron One, MCAS, El Toro, Santa Ana, in California. Even in World War II, having its own air bases was one of the assets that has helped the Marine Corps operate so quickly and independently over the years.
Ancestry.com is a paid database, but you can use it free at public libraries in Maine that have computers for public use.
No doubt little Arabelle will one day tell us she wishes she had known Papa Barthel. Those of us who loved him, including her big brother Aidan, will be able to help her get to know him.
Moreover, I will promise Arabelle Georgette that Papa did “meet” her and loved her, and that she does have that memory deep inside. She felt the warmth of George Barthel’s hug, and the beating of his heart, every time he hugged her mom, Heather. And she heard the timbre of his voice before she was born, just as surely as she heard the voices of her parents and her brother and her dog.
Later on I’ll show her what I’ve learned about Papa’s life and military service. And I’ll tell her about one of my own Marine moments, which happened just a few weeks before she was born. The Old Town High School Band was playing a medley of military songs just after 100 members of the 101st Air Refueling Wing of the Maine Air National Guard received maple walking sticks at Bangor’s Cole Land Transportation Museum from founder Galen Cole, a Purple Heart veteran of World War II.
The medley moves along quickly, allowing just enough time for veterans to stand when the song honoring their military branch is played. Perhaps I should say “hop up” rather than “stand.”
World War II veterans, now in their late 80s and 90s, don’t hop up the way they used to, especially after sitting for awhile. Men such as Paul Wilbur joined the U.S. Marines at age 17, just two months after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor brought our country into the war.
But it turned out that Wilbur’s hop worked just fine that day as he found his arm linked with the strong young arm of Jim Neville, museum director of operations and 20-year veteran of the Marines.
There are U.S. Marines from World War II to the Global War on Terror. No, I didn’t get a picture. But I will.
Sept. 1 is the deadline to sign up for the Maine Genealogical Society’s annual meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at Jeff’s Catering on Littlefield Way in Brewer.
But I told the board of the Maine Genealogical Society that I would run a reminder and encourage latecomers to put their check in the mail or go online to sign up.
I, for one, want to hear certified genealogist Dr. Thomas Jones answer the question, “Can a complex research problem be solved solely online?”
The rest of the day on Sept. 13, the conference will offer two workshops at each session, with attendees choosing which they’d like to take in:
— 10:45 a.m., “Solving Problems with Original Sources,” with Thomas Jones; or “Genetic Genealogy” with Nancy LeCompte.
— 2:15 p.m., “Debunking Misleading Records,” Thomas Jones; or “Adventures in Atlases, Agent Reports and Alumni Records: Resources Available at the University of Maine’s Fogler Library,
— 3:30 p.m., “Five Ways to Prove Who Your Ancestor Was (Some Reliable and Others Not Reliable),” Thomas Jones; or “Riskng It All: Genealogical Research in the United States Life-Saving Service,” Michael Strauss.
Lunch is at noon, and the annual meeting at 1:30 p.m. There will be book vendors and organizations with displays. The cost for the conference is $40 for Maine Genealogical Society members, $50 for nonmembers. Add $15 for luncheon. Send check to Maine Genealogical Society, ℅ Celeste Hyer, 69 Loop Road, Otisfield, ME 04270-6456.
If you are not a member of the Maine Genealogical Society, you may send $25 dues with your registration. In addition to saving $10 on registration, you may purchase Maine Genealogical Society publications at discount at the conference.
To obtain more information or sign up, visit www.maineroots.org.
For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.