25.01.2015

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Find Canadian ancestors in in free searchable military databases for each war and rebellion Canada has been involved in. Source: All of the information regarding Jack's movements come from the Battalion's War Diary and from the official histories of the 24th and 42nd Battalions published some years after the war.
NEUVILLE-ST-VAAST, France — A race is on to try to locate and identify the remains of 48 Canadians soldiers whose bodies were inadvertently buried and subsequently forgotten 97 years ago during the battle for Vimy Ridge. There is urgency to the hunt because the potato field where the Canadians were believed to have fallen fighting the Germans from April 9, 1917, is to soon be transformed into a building site for several small factories by the regional municipality of Arras to try to alleviate unemployment in what is a severely economically depressed part of northern France. Examining a map with scribbled co-ordinates of the location of the battle, which was never given a name, Christie pointed to a field near a major highway that runs next to Neuville-St-Vaast. Christie runs personalized one-and two-week battlefield tours of France and Belgium for Canadians passionately interested in the minutiae of where and how the Canadian Expeditionary Force fought. When told where Christie’s research had led him, a farmer tilling the soil with a tractor in an adjacent field said it was quite possible that Canadians were buried in the area who had never been accounted for, although it was the first time he had heard of it.
That fact can be seen in a military cemetery located about one kilometre away where 44,000 German soldiers who fought at Vimy Ridge and in other battles against Commonwealth troops are buried.
Christie was inspired by the dogged, literally groundbreaking research of a retired Australian school teacher and amateur historian who noticed in 2002 that there were differences between the number of unknown Australian soldiers buried and the lists of the missing where a battle had taken place at Pheasant Wood between the Germans and Australian and British troops in the summer of 1916.
Two years later, Australia and Britain built the first new Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in half a century at Pheasant Wood.
The casualty figures from the First World War, which involved insidious trench warfare and poison gas and, for the first time, tanks and war planes, remain numbing to read today. Casualty figures for the Canadians vary a bit, but of the 620,000 Canadians sent to Europe, about 58,000 Canadians were killed and nearly 200,000 were wounded. An engineer by training, Christie reckoned that a dig to exhume the remains of the Canadians near Neuville-St-Vaast would cost about $100,000. While it is true that those 44 men were only a small part of the force of four Canadian divisions that attacked that day, recovering them is not only important to honour all those who fell in France and Belgium 100 years ago, Christie said. Lively discourse is the lifeblood of any healthy democracy and Postmedia encourages readers to engage in robust debates about our stories. Our ancestor, Ida Louise Easley, has been difficult to trace over the years and it has only been in the last few months (2013) that we were finally able to find anything at all. Their first known child was not born until 1848, so it is quite possible that they may have had earlier children who did not survive infancy. The first four known children to join the family were all boys, but their fifth child was a daughter who they named Ida Louise Easley. By this time the Civil War had begun and Illinois, the home of Abraham Lincoln, supported the preservation of the Union. Under the remarks section of Pleasanta€™s military papers it says that about a year after his enlistment he was transferred, on 28 Oct. It appears that he was transferred to the Quincy Hospital in Illinois on 15 April 1864 and may have been discharged in August 1864. Sometime within the next six years the Easley family moved from Illinois to Missouri, and then to Chetopa, Neosho County, Kansas where they were living at the time of the 1870 US Federal census.
In the 1875 Kansas State census, we find the children of this family, without either parent, and still living in Neosho Co., with her older brother, J. We have not yet been able to find this family in the 1885 Kansas State Census, but we believe they had moved to Franklin County, probably to the city of Ottawa. However, in that 1885 Kansas State census we can find Raymond Mortona€™s father, Ira Homer Morton, living in Williamsburg, Franklin Co., KS in the home of his sister, Irene Morton Crankshaw, and her family. Ray tells us in every document he left behind, that his fathera€™s name was Ira Morton and his mother was Ida Louise Easley. It is very interesting to note here that Ida used her a€?Bonhama€? name rather than a€?Mortona€? in the marriage record. The 1890 US Federal census was destroyed, but Kansas again conducted another State Census in 1895.
Remember that since about 1883, Ida and her family had been living in Franklin Co., KS, and near where her Bonham in-laws were living. In the 1905 KS state census Raymond was no longer living with Martha Bonham in Stafford Co., KS. In the 1910 Federal US census for California, we find that Ira Elmer Bonham (Raya€™s older brother) was living in Richmond, Contra Costa County, CA; and his mother and two sisters were also living near by in that same county.
Due to the fact that he named his second daughter, Irene, after his Aunt Irene Morton Crankshaw, who died in Franklin Co., KS in 1896, when Ray was only about 10 years old, he must have known by that time that he was a a€?Mortona€? or it is unlikely that he would have visited her to learn something of his father. There is a lot of speculation in the above two paragraphs but we are merely trying to figure out what might have been.
We are not yet sure where Ray was living in 1910 but we believe he traveled much of the country just looking for work. We also found an interesting document for a a€?Raymond Mortona€? in 1912 who was seeking to cross the boarder into Canada, and who was rejected.


Sometime within the next six years the Easley family moved from Illinois to Missouri, and then to Chetopa, Neosho County, Kansas where they were living at the time of the 1870 US Federal census.A  By then the two older boys were out of the house and a€?Ida L. This article will introduce the concept of photo forensics for soldiers of the First World War and introduce you to a variety of resources that may be helpful. The first advice I would offer to anyone hoping to build the story of their ancestor's military service from family photos is "don't get your hopes up." Of the many photographs taken of soldiers during the First World War, many do not have sufficient clarity or detail to offer much information. One of the first things an experienced soldier looks at on another's uniform is the cap and collar badges. Using the best available image, including rescanning at a high resolution, try to match the badge to images in available references. If you decide that an online consultation with an internet forum is your best course of action, prepare your photo and data before posting and provide as much information as you can.
If you decide to post your photo and question on multiple forums at once, bear in mind that these forums have many common members. The "local" experts on your question just haven't been on line yet (be patient, they have lives too). Someone with an answer is waiting to see your replay to information posted in another forum (because he's watching both of them). Someone is working on it, perhaps searching for a relevant reference or link (and a snappy remark about not having an answer after 30 minutes isn't going to make them want to work faster, if at all beyond that).
From the single chevron of a Lance Corporal to the crossed sword and baton of a General's insignia, soldiers of the CEF wore badges of rank to denote their position within the military hierarchy. Officers' rank badges may be found in two locations of the service dress uniform in use during the war. The following images (click each for a larger size) show the army ranks in use during the First World War. While cap and collar badges are useful indicators of a soldier's unit, they can often be missing or hard to distinguish with accuracy in a wartime photograph due to size of image, resolution or their orientation to the camera. While distinguishing colours in black and white and sepia tone photos can be challenging, the contrasts between the divisional (rectangular) patch and the battalion (circle, semi-circle, triangle, square) patch can help narrow the possibilities.
The following image shows an extract of a chart of distinguishing patches worn by soldiers of the CEF, the link below the image will display the full chart. Depending on the particular uniform being worn, a soldier may be wearing medals or ribbons. What is the approximate date of the photo, was it taken before or after First World War medal ribbons were authorized? For Canadian soldiers, an excellent source for helping to identify medals and their ribbons is the Veterans Affairs canada pages on Orders, Decorations and Medals.
While the sections above cover the most common items that may be found on a soldier's uniform, they do not provide a comprehensive listing.
Overseas chevrons: A soldier earned his first chevron on the day he disembarked from the ship carrying him overseas.
Some of those thought to be lying in the field were to have been taken to the nearby 9 Elms Cemetery. Give or take 30 metres or so, he reckoned that this was probably where the soldiers, who were from British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario, lie. The goal at Neuville-St-Vaast is to locate the missing, have them identified through DNA analysis and then be given a proper military burial in a new cemetery or in one of the many other Canadian cemeteries in the vicinity. The mass grave of 250 Australians and Britons was finally discovered with the help of aerial reconnaissance in 2008, causing a minor sensation back in Australia. 1863, to VRC (Veterana€™s Reserve Corps--a special regiment comprised of invalids who were no longer able to actively fight, but were still able to help with necessary duties behind the lines.) Pleasant was suffering with Epigastrocele (a hernia in the upper abdominal wall). 1885 (or perhaps 1886) that this couple had a little boy whom they named Albert Raymond Morton (and he was the father of Irene Gladys Morton McDonald, and the Grandfather of Bette Jo McDonald Nebeker.) The year of his birth has been estimated here as there are conflicting documents giving his year of birth as anywhere from 1883-1887--but we do not believe he was born prior to 1885 because of the KS state census cited above.
These two moved, with their families, and prior to their marriage, to Macoupin County, Illinois, which is located about 25 miles NE of St. 1862 at Camp Butler, near Springfield, IL.A  At that time his daughter, Ida, was just five years old and it must have been a difficult time for her, and for the entire family, to see their father go off to war. Easley was now a widow again, and living in Winslow, Arizona.A  Her last name was listed as a€?Hamiltona€? but Mr.
This is because the new soldier is still trying to remember how to address those who outrank him (which is everyone), how to salute, and who to salute.
And in most families the collections of photos are notorious for being poorly labelled with names, dates or locations. Even with clear images, badges (if any) may be too small for positive identification even when scanned at a high resolution or soldiers may have been photographed wearing only general service badges that cannot be matched to specific units or periods. Finding a matching badge, even if only in outline, will help to work toward a positive identification.
You may be able to find economically priced editions of the books through eBay or other online book resellers.


Babin, showing the badges for the 11th (E-11) to the 19th (E-19) Canadian Infantry Battalions. It is frustrating for those who are trying to help when someone uploads a basic scan of a photo with no information. Be proactive and share what is posted on one forum to your discussion threads on the other(s), do that to save others from duplicating effort for you. Rank can be one of the first and most obvious elements of a soldier's photo, not only to establish his rank, but also to help place the photo in the timeline of that soldier's career.
Soldiers of the CEF also distinctive unit patches on their shoulders that identified them by their fighting units. The addition of any of the other possible devices applied on or above the divisional patch can also help to determine what unit the soldier was serving with at the time of the photo.
An alternative resource, which has an even larger presentation of CEF patches, is "Distinguishing Patches", by Clive M. This also presents a challenge where the normally distinctive colours of medal ribbons are not evident in black and white or sepia photos (in fact some colour contrasts can appear to be reversed). Remember, many soldiers of the CEF had previous service with the British Army, and may have campaigned anywhere from Africa to the Indian Northwest Frontier to the Far East in the decades before the First World War. Millett's two wound stripes can be seen on his left sleeve above the point of the lace of his cuff rank.
Millett's Overseas chevrons can be seen on his right sleeve above the point of the lace of his cuff rank. There remains a wide variety of other badges and patches that may have been worn by soldiers of the CEF and will be identifiable by an experienced researcher or collector who specializes in the badges of the CEF.
A man who has 3 chevrons had been overseas for at least two years plus a day but not more than three years. If you encounter abusive comments, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. Grant throughout the entire campaign for Vicksburg, Mississippi, which they won on 4 July 1863. Easley Bonham met sometime in 1885 but did not marry until that autumn after the state census had been completed. Easley Bonham met sometime in 1885 but did not marry until that autumn after the state census had been completed.A  If so, this would be her second husband, although no document confirming their marriage has yet been found. At this point in the new soldier's career this behaviour is generally motivated by wishing to avoid any close association with his Sergeant Major for corrective counselling if he gets it wrong. These details, though they may have been well-known facts to one generation, may be slowly lost to subsequent ones until all that remains is an image which may or may not be of "old Uncle Bill who was in the War." A common type of request on Great War internet forums is for information that may be found within a photo. Collar badges will appear less often in the references and, if they are present in the photo without a matching cap badge, then consulting with other researchers and collectors on line may be your best option.
For a one time use, try accessing a copy through inter-library loan, or reach out to other researchers on line who may have a copy.
Provide not just the photo, but also close up scans of the badges (see the close-ups in this article of the Millett photo). If you make that effort and share the results to help build each forum's future research potential, then members will be much more amenable to your further questions (until you have become an experienced member of the forums yourself and are offering as much as you are taking). Officers rank is indicated in cuff rank by stars and crown and by the number of stripes around the cuff.
But with the use of related circumstantial evidence, the medals or ribbons being worn can be determined. In some cases, going to the experts will be the best course of action, and in this case those experts can be found on the British Medal Forum.
This initiative is based on the reality that "One Can Make a Difference." That means you and me!
Sometimes the soldiers in the photos are known, and their names can help the determination of further details, in other cases it is a blind request for any information that may help the family researcher place the image within the context of their research.
Give the soldier's name, units if known and explain if you are just trying to match the photo to one of his units for confirmation.
As with badges, offer up all the information you have to reduce duplicated effort, and the best scan you can produce of the medals or ribbons in the photo. Everything you know about the man can be clues that help those who are able to assist to avoid potential dead end recommendations. Further resources might be readily found in your local library, there have been many books produced on British medals and ribbons that will cover the late-Victorian period and the early years of the 20th century.
Information up front reduces duplicated effort and assists with the process of elimination approach that might be applied.



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