Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day Genealogical Ponderings

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In Europe Veteran's Day is known as Armistice Day. It is bittersweet to celebrate this holiday. The great war did end, but another horrible war would soon follow, and the war to end all wars was followed by more sick and twisted ways to humiliate the adversary and torture the enemy.

My family has a proud history of military service. A great many ancestors have served their country, and I am happy to be serving in my own way. (I feed a very sexy sailor, during the six months he is not deployed.)

I do have one ancestor which I have not yet discovered the details regarding his military service. Russell Jefferson Rawls is my great great great grandfather. He was born 1836, and he died 1886. There are no records of service in the confederate army, but he fathered no children between 1882 and 1886. (Years with no births usually indicate a child who passed, or an absent father). He was noted member of the community, and his father was a military leader also. Many family genealogists before me have not yet uncovered the mysteries around his military involvement, but maybe by next veteran's day I will have another clue!

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