Today’s Tip: When you discover, by design or by tripping over it, some cool piece of history in your family history/genealogy pursuit, allow yourself time to delve into that history. Those side trips can be awesome experiences!
I have discussed with some folks the fact that genealogy and family history is far more than just the pursuit of a line of people from today backwards. I am often surprised by how many people focus on the number and ‘length’ of the line they are drawing rather than the stops it makes along the way!
These past couple of days I have made a sad, but extraordinarily interesting discovery in a tree I have been working on.
Seems that a family member was lost in the Korean War. I was intrigued by this fact as I have done extensive research on family members who were lost in WWI, WWII, and Vietnam, but not the Korean War. As I dove in, I found this ancestor was awarded the Purple Heart as well as other commendations. Then I started to read about where he died.
As you know recall, I love history! Always have and always will. But the extent of my knowledge of the Korean War is not deep! I saw that he was killed at a battle called Chosin Reservoir. I started to read. The story is tragic and the loss of life on both sides staggering. A mixture of SNAFU on the part of the US Marines and the US Army and the entry into the war by the Chinese. To this day, this soldier’s remains rest in some spot in North Korea known only to God.
In an effort to more fully understand the complexities, history, and facts regarding this battle, I dug deeper. I found an email address of a survivor of the battle. You know me …. no hesitation here! I sent an email and asked my questions.
I was thrilled to receive a phone call from this individual and to learn that he was a barracks buddy with this ancestor I was studying. Amazing! He knew details that are not published anywhere as he is doing original research for an upcoming book. What a phone call that was! Not to mention the follow up emails that I am now receiving with more background.
I feel blessed to be able to learn so much about his individual who made the supreme sacrifice in this war.
So, when you are faced with the opportunity to take one of these historic side trips, I suggest you do and allow yourself lots of time there.
While the story may not be a happy one, you will undoubtedly be happy you learned it and can share it with others.
Onward To Our Past,