Sometimes reading history books can lead to your finding family history information.
When I was in high school I read a book about the 36th Infantry Division (known as The Texas Division or “T-patchers”) during World War II.
Recently, I was researching a project where I sought out World War II Texas veterans. It turns out the 36th Infantry Division (The Texas Division) which fought in Italy in World War II had several possible relatives.
According to the published roster of the 36th Infantry Division I have located the following soldiers who I am now confirming as distant relatives:
Captain George C. Fugate from Hazelhurst, MS., was Commander of Company C, 1st Battalion, 142nd Infantry. He was killed in action 27 Aug 1944 and is buried in Hazlehurst, MS.
Private First Class George C. Fugate from Waco, TX, served in the Anti-Tank Company, 143d Infantry. He survived the war and died in 1971 and is buried in the Colorado City Cemetery, Colorado City, TX.
Private Robert L. Fugate, served in Company F, 141st Infantry.
Sergeant Russell E. Cowan from Horseheads, NY., served in Company B, 141st Infantry. He was killed in action May 29, 1944 and is buried in the Sicily-Rome-American Cemetery and Memorial.
Private Cecil C. Cowan from Vernon, TX., served in the Medical Detachment, 142nd Infantry survived the war, died in 1967 and is buried in Crestview Memorial Park, Wichita Falls, TX.
Private First Class Arthur Cowan from Cleveland, OH., served in Company F, 142nd Infantry.
Private First Class Burton M. Cowan from Deckerville, MI., served in the Service Battery, 155th Field Artillery Battalion survived the war, died in 1979 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Sanilac County, MI.
Pvt. Carlton R. Cowan from Wichita Falls, TX., served in Company C, 111th Engineer Combat Battalion survived the war, died in 200 and is buried in Maple Springs Cemetery, Camp County, TX.
Quick searches using my Plano library card to access http://www.fold3.com and then browsing http://www.findagrave.com, resulted in additional information.
I am now able to expand my search for other possible relatives – Fulton, Faucett, Huggans, Fryrear and others who may have served in the 36th Division.
Sometimes, reading history books, can give you a better understanding of the time, the place, the environment and activities of ancestors. In my case, I have a better idea of where these men served and when they were in Italy during World War II. I can now research unit reunion websites and other unit information.
In each case, I am expanding my family tree, finding previously unknown relatives and getting connected with present-day living cousins.
Expand your reading and you may also be successful in expanding your family tree.