My father was a prisoner of war during WWII. First in the Philippines and then later in Japan. He enlisted January 6, 1941 (he was 17 years old at the time) and was later shipped to the Philippine Islands aboard the SS President Coolidge. He was not there very long before the war broke out. He was interned at first in the Philippines then later taken to Nagoya #6B Nomachi (Takaoka), Japan where he shoveled ore into furnaces. He suffered from scurvy, pellagra, and beriberi while there. His liberation and return to the United States occurred in October of 1945. Although he was not hospitalized immediately after liberation, he eventually required treatment for his various illnesses.
These pictures are of his reunion with his mother, step father, and step brother.
My grandmother kept a diary while my Dad was gone. I will be posting some of her entries as we go along over the next few weeks. Here are a couple of entries that should get us up to date. These entries were from 69 years ago.
“April 9 Fri ’43
One year ago today Bataan fell to the Japs. Still no word of Earl. Glad Herskins sent a paper (Santa Fe) telling of Clarks [Air Force base] and being there. He told a lot about our boy. Can only hope & pray I will hear soon that Earl is safe. Felt pretty low. Warmer today. Some wind.
April 11 Sun ’43
Swell day. My day off. Harley worked – so did I – at home. Washed bath room walls & ceiling. Also curtains. Never left apartment. Wrote six letters and two cards. Made candy.
April 13 Tues ’43
Well at last the long wait for news is over. Received telegram that Earl is a prisoner of war in the P.I. Sure a big relief. Telegram was under door when we returned from work at midnight. Was delivered at 5 p.m. Swell day.
Cloudy. Took aspirin but still couldn’t sleep last night. Was after 4 a.m. before sleep came. Arose 11 a.m. Every one told me today I looked 10 yrs younger. One said she would like to see what I looked like when Earl came home. I replied they would put me in diapers then.
Mailed lots of letters to friends & relatives about Earl. Must wait for further information, address, etc before I can write to Earl.”
I can’t even begin to imagine what this must have been like for her. My son is now 21 and I can’t imagine not knowing or seeing him for such a long period of time.
Been a while since I posted to my blog. I have been so engrossed in both researching and indexing the 1940 census that became available on April 2nd. In researching I have found so much, but have plenty more to find! Indexing has been fun and challenging. Some of the handwriting in those days was atrocious! But Familysearch.org has put a lot of thought into their indexing software. Really makes it easy to use.
So far, I have found both my parents, 2 set of grandparents (out of 3), along with various cousins, brothers, and step brothers of my parents. I have also located my mother-in-law in Philadelphia. I got lucky with my mother-in-law. My husband had the address of the house she grew up in. The 1940 U.S. census at the National Archives is set up to where you can search down to the street level and crossroads. Lo and behold there she was as a teenager in that house!
I found my Dad yesterday. That was quite a thrill! I thought he was probably already in the Army and stationed at Ft. Hood in Texas. I remember that he told me that shortly before he enlisted his mom, step dad, and step brothers had moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I had resigned myself to the possibility that it wouldn’t be easy to find him on the 1940 census. I would have to wait for the indexing to be done. So at this point I decided to just look for my grandmother and family. Santa Fe had 23 enumerated districts in 1940. Each one with 2-36 census pages. I thought to myself, well this isn’t as bad as some of the larger cities. I took a deep breath and began my search. On the first page of 11th district I spotted my dad’s stepbrother, Nolan! Ah ha! Here they are! Found you! As I glanced up the page looking for my grandmother, there was my Dad! He was 17 years old and had graduated high school! He had worked during the week of March 24-30th for 31 hours and earned $27.00 in 1939. The census taker does not list his occupation or industry. Even better, he was one of the 2 people on each page that was picked for supplemental questions. Unfortunately, those questions weren’t that helpful as the census taker must have misunderstood what information he was to collect. Under Birthplace of Father and Birthplace of Mother, the census taker had actually written the names of my Dad’s parents! He did that on all of his pages! The supplemental questions did show that my Dad did not have a social security number at that point and that English was the language spoken in his childhood.
I feel fortunate to have been able to locate some of my immediate family. Primarily because they all came from small towns in the West. But some folks are still looking for their relatives in major cities where currently there are tons of census records to glean through!
All 50 states are available for indexing. A lot has been done so far, but there is still time to help with completing this project! Please head to this link 1940 U.S. Census Community Project and sign up to start indexing. The more that index, the sooner all the states will be available for name searches! Be a part of history!
Disclosure: As part of the1940census.com ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing for $100 VISA gift card.
“Browse images for: Delaware“Unlike previous census years, images of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will be made available as free digital images.”THE 1940 CENSUS IMAGES ARE NOW RELEASED! On April 2, 2012, NARAreleased the digital images of the 1940 Unites States Federal Census after a 72 year embargo. These census images will be uploaded and made available on Archives.com, FindMyPast.com, and FamilySearch.org.”
“Progress of the 1940 Census on Ancestry.com
Ancestry.com took delivery of the 1940 census from the National Archives at 12:01 a.m. on April 2, 2012. Currently we are in the process of loading all 3.8 million census images online. Once an image is online, you can browse it to see the information included on that page. When all images are uploaded, you’ll be able to browse by enumeration district (see below for more information) to find your family’s neighborhood.
Below is the current image status by state: