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Week 21: Military: George Robert McGlynn

Amy Johnson Crow’s suggested theme for week 21 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge was Military.  Since I am getting this post up close to Father’s Day, I decided to feature my dad.  This post was intended to be published yesterday, but the draft decided to play hide and seek with me on my computer!  Fortunately, I found it today!

The United States officially entered the Asiatic-Pacific War, part of World War II,  in December of 1941, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

IMG_0025On March 8, 1943, at the age of seventeen years and three months, George Robert McGlynn enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at Rochester, New York. He was accepted at the Recruiting Station, Buffalo, New York.  His training began two days later at the Marine Corps. Recruit Depot Parris Island, near Beaufort, South Carolina.  Here he qualified in the use of the hand grenade, rifle grenade, M1 Carbine rifle, BSMG, and bayonet.  By May 15, 1943, George was in training at Camp LeJeune, near Jacksonville, North Carolina.  He attended courses to become a searchlight operator, and after earning his military specialist designation as searchlight operator, Private George McGlynn was assigned to duty with the 21st Battalion on June 20, 1943 as Searchlight Operator.

Searchlights were part of a trio of aircraft detection and defense, including locators, searchlights and antiaircraft guns.  This system improved the ability to engage, follow and destroy aircraft while preserving ammunition stores.  The searchlight operator’s duty included adjusting the light, directing the beam and maintenance of the light.

From Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, George traveled through Denver, Colorado and to Camp Elliot, near San Diego, California.  On September 27, 1943, he joined with the AntiAircraft Artillery Group, 8th Defense Battalion.  Three days later he would be sent overseas.  He was still not yet eighteen years old.  First to the United States Territory of Hawaii, then to the Pacific Theatre.

From September 30, 1943 until November 6, 1945, Pvt. McGlynn was assigned in the Asiatic-Pacific Area.   Among the areas his units was assigned were the Hawaiian, Wallis, Gilbert and Ryukyus Islands.  He participated in action against the Japanese in the Gilbert Islands and at Okinawa.

On October 18, 1943, Pvt. McGlynn arrived at Uvea, Wallis Island.  Here he was a lineman with the Antiaircraft Artillery group, 8th Defense Battalion. Linemen ran and maintained the wires to establish and maintain operable communication systems for the military.  On October 21, 1943 the 8th Defense Battalion, Reinforced, Fleet Marine Corps changed to the 8th Defense Battalion, 5th Amphibious Corps.a.

On November 20, 1943, Marine forces invaded Tarawa, Gilbert Islands on the march to the island of Japan.  The plan was to take the smaller islands, the Gilbert Islands, the Marshall Islands and the Marianas, using each a base for taking the next island.  The battle incurred heavy casualties on both sides, with the Japanese finally being overrun.  The battle for Tarawa lasted until November 23, the same day the 8th Defense Battalion, 5th Amphibious Corps departed Uvea.

November 28, 1943, his unit arrived and disembarked at Apamama, Gilbert Islands, less than 100 miles from Tarawa.  The 8th defense battalion had been sent to relieve the Marine assault force that had landed there.  Until January 10, 1944, his unit was under enemy air attack at Apamama.

The unit returned to Hawaii and from there participated in the Okinawa campaign, remaining there until November 1945.

From June 1, through August 1, 1944, Private McGlynn attended the Field Radio Operator School of the 8th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion and received his designation as Radio Operator on August 12, 1944.  He was then assigned to the Headquarters & Service Battery, 8th AntiAircraft Artillery Battalion.

On March 11, 1945 the battalion embarked aboard the USS Jerauld at Nawiliwili, Kauai Island.  On March 12 sailed enroute to Pearl Harbor Navy Yard and berthed there from that day through March 14.  On March 15, the USS Jerauld went underway enroute to Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands, Central Pacific.  March 23-25 berthed at Eniwetok Atoll, and on March 26 underway enroute Ulithi Atoll, Caroline Islands, Central Pacific.  From March 31 to April 12 berthed at Ulithi Atoll. Caroline Islands, Central Pacific.  April 13, 1945 underway enroute Okinawa Island, Pyukyu Islands, Western Pacific.  On April 17, 1945 they arrived, disembarked and landed at Nago Wan, Okinawa Island, Ryuku Islands, Western Pacific.

On September 1, 1945, George was authorized to wear one bronze star on the Asiatic- Pacific ribbon for participation in Okinawa-Gunto Operation.

October 20, 1945, George embarked on board the SS Howell Lykes at Okinawa, Ryukyu Retto, (Nansei Islands) and sailed on October 21, 1945.  He arrived at San Diego, California on November 6, 1945.  He was then assigned to Camp Pendleton, near Oceanside, California.  In late November, he left without authorization for 5 days.  He returned and faced a special court martial for his disappearance.  Shortly after serving his sentence, 20 year old George McGlynn was separated from active service and was given an Honorable Discharge.

Newly discharged George McGlynn returned to Rochester, New York.

George R McGlynn military photo copyOn September 30, 1946, at DHRS, Buffalo, New York, George re-enlisted for a period of two years in the United States Marine Corps.  His acceptance was approved at Buffalo and he was immediately transferred to the Marine Base at the US Naval Shipyard in Brooklyn, New York.  He Served in the 1st Guard Company as a Private from October 1, 1946 until March 3, 1947 when he was promoted to Private First Class and transferred to the 3rd Guard Company, at the Marine Base New York Naval Shipyard at Brooklyn, New York.  On April 10, PFC McGlynn was again transferred to the 1st Guard Company, and on April 14 was demoted to Private by the commanding officer for “failing to stand an alert watch while posted as sentinel on 11Apr47”.

On April 17, 1947, he received the MCI certificate on fingerprinting and on April 19, Private Mcglynn was transferred to the Marine Base at Quantico, Virginia.  He was joined to the 22nd Battalion Fleet Marine Force, when it was reactivated on September 1, 1947.  By the end of 1947, he would be promoted to Corporal George McGlynn.  On July 23, 1948, he was examined and found qualified for promotion to Sargent, however, he did not receive that promotion prior to his Honorable Discharge on September 15, 1948.

On September 16, 1948 at MCS, Quantico, VA, Cpl George McGlynn enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. On October 4, 1948 by reason of his own request, he was discharged from the Reserves.


225th AAA Searchlight Battalion Veterans Association (n.d.) How Were World War II Searchlights Used?  Skylighters.  Retrieved November 10, 2013 from http://www.skylighters.org/howalightworks/

McAnarney, Dan, and Patrick Clancey, transcribers and formatters for the HyperWar Foundation. (n.d.) Condition Red: Marine Defense Battalions in World War II  by Major Charles D. Melson.  Retieved November 10, 2013 from http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-C-Defense/

National Park Service. (n.d.) CONDITION RED: Marine Defense Battalions in World War II.  Marines in World War II Commemorative Series. Retrieved November 10, 2013 from http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/npswapa/extContent/usmc/pcn-190-003133-00/sec15.htm

The Military Yearbook Project (2009-2012)  Old MOS Codes.  Field Lineman (641). Retrieved November 11, 2013 from http://militaryyearbookproject.com/references/old-mos-codes/wwii-era/army-wwii-codes/communications/field-lineman-641

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Week 20: John Harry McGlynn

Amy Johnson Crow’s optional theme for Week 20 of the 52 Ancestors Challenge was Black Sheep.  It was the week to let those ancestors that may have caused or found trouble shine.  Like everyone, our ancestors are mostly shades of gray and affected by circumstances and their responses to those circumstances.  One of my Gray Sheep was John Harry McGlynn.

John Harry, or Harry as he was often called, was born Aug 23,1900 to Frederick Andrew and Alice McGlynn. He was their third child, all sons to this point, and he appears to be the first child born with the last name McGlynn[1]. John’s father and mother were 35 and 20 years old respectively when he was born. They had been married 4 years and both were from England. After John Harry’s birth, two more children, both girls, were born, they also had the McGlynn surname.  Thus, theirs was a family of five children with Harry both the youngest son and solidly the middle child.

Death took John Harry’s sister Alice at the young age of 10 years old. There has been family lore suggesting something terrible happened to Alice preceding and leading to her eventual death. Her death certificate simply says she died of mitral insufficiency causing a broken compensation. Whether it was due to an overexertion or a disease process such as rheumatic fever, John Harry lost his younger sister, less than two weeks before his twelfth Christmas. At age 14, he left school having only an 8th grade education.

When John Harry was a young man of 17 he joined the war effort.  United States involvement in the war had begun about a year prior to his enlistment. John Harry was still too young to be drafted; the Selective Service Act of 1917 would have only called for the registration of men between 21 and 31 years old. His enlistment would have been voluntary. It appears that he misrepresented his year of birth as 1899[2] to appear to be above the age of 18. He served in World War I as a Private in the 108th Infantry Machine Gun Company. Five months later he was gassed at the Hindenburg Line. He was discharged from duty at the conclusion of the war. John Harry McGlynn ultimately received the Purple Heart for his service in World War I.

“Heroes of the 108th,” Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, 4 Nov 1918, 18, [digital image online], Fultonhistory.com, website created and maintained by Tom Trynski.

“Heroes of the 108th,” Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, 4 Nov 1918, 18, [digital image online], Fultonhistory.com, website created and maintained by Tom Trynski.

On June 3rd, 1922, John Harry McGlynn married Edna Elizabeth Richards. She was the eighteen-year-old youngest child and second daughter of Thearon Richards and Sophia Wombwell Richards. In that year, John Harry worked as a shipper and Edna as a bookkeeper for tobacconists Hill & Waite. They quickly began a family and by 1925 were parents to two young boys. In the next year, Edna became pregnant again.  Edna died in early 1927 shortly after the birth of their third son.  The baby boy was adopted by another family; the toddler boys stayed with John Harry.

John Harry and the boys remained with his parents, at least until 1930. Times were rough, the Great Depression had begun and money and work were scarce. John made some poor choices that led him to the wrong side of the law; he was fortunate to have received favorable judgments. Sometime after 1930, the children were sent or taken to the Hillside Children’s home. Perhaps John was looking to start a new life when he married Louise Lee in 1931. For a time, they removed from Rochester to live in South Carolina, where Louise’s family was from. John Harry worked as a baker while they were in South Carolina. They soon returned to Rochester and John’s troubles returned. He was hospitalized in mid 1932 at the Batavia Veterans Hospital. The conditions or diseases he exhibited were cicatrix appendectomy, suggesting a problem with a scar formed after appendectomy, the area could have been ulcerated or a source of pain if terminal nerve endings were encased in the scar; neurasthenia, more commonly known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and likely a result of the war and the gassing he received; and a chronic bronchitis, which may also have been associated with the gassing during World War I.


John Harry McGlynn

After his hospital discharge, John had more skirmishes with the law, eventually breaking into a bar the night of March 13, 1936 and stealing $8.40. This time he was sent to state prison. It is unclear if his separation from Louise preceded or resulted from this, but although never divorced, it appears that their marriage ended around this time. Louise called herself a widow of John in city directories, not acknowledging that he was alive but imprisoned. Louise died in July 1951.

After his release, John Harry worked as a bartender & restaurant manager. In the years prior to his first wife’s death and his incarceration he had worked as a chauffer and it is likely he may have had chauffer work as well.   He had worked in places such as New York City and Chicago at different times. John again fell ill. He died at the Batavia Veteran’s hospital on May 4, 1959 from tuberculosis.

[1] Both William Frederick and Maurice Neely have births certificates that look as if they have been altered, sometime after their initial registration with the NYS Department of Health. The boys’ names read as W Frederick Parsons aka William Frederick McGlynn (in a different handwriting) and Morris Neally Parsons aka Maurice Nealy McGlynn (again a different handwriting). On both certificates the Father is listed as Frederick Parsons and the mother’s name before marriage is Alice McGlynn.  The father’s name has also been adjusted with aka Frederick McGlynn. The original handwriting on both certificates appears to be different, that makes sense as they were born and registered at different times. The handwriting that has supplied the aka name appears to be the same for both, leading to the conclusion that was added at a later time.

[2] The image of the headstone application for John H McGlynn shows the year of birth as “corrected” to 1899. In addition the image of the military service card abstract for John H McGlynn states he was 18 years 7 months old at the time of enlistment. In actuality he was 17 years 7 months old. Both John Harry’s birth certificate obtained from the NYS Department of Health and the Monroe County birth certificate transcript show his birth year as 1900.

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Week 19: There’s a Way: Frederick Andrew McGlynn

When looking at the prompt “There’s a Way” from Amy Johnson Crow at the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge, I turned my thoughts to an ancestor who had made his or her way from one land to another.  I’ve mentioned Frederick McGlynn in the Week 16 post about his wife, Alice McGlynn.  There I focused on Frederick’s changing last name, and life with his family.  That has proved to be a challenge when looking for records of his life before marriage.

On the marriage record of Frederick and Alice in 1896, Frederick Parsons lists both of his parents names as unknown.  As of yet, I have not been able to make any progress in finding those names.  He was born about 11 Nov 1864 in Brighton, Sussex, England.  This was reported by Fred in both his marriage record and the same date was given for his naturalization petition papers.  I have not found likely hits in the FreeBMD index for England for Sussex.


Frederick found his way to America on the ship Veendam, leaving Rotterdam 29 September 1892, and arrived at New York 12 October 1892.  That is what the naturalization petition asserts.  The ship Veendam did indeed leave Rotterdam about that date and arrived at New York 13 Oct 1892.  That part does seem plausible.  The ships passenger list for arrivals on that day seems unusually light- the previous voyage listed over 1900 passengers, the arrivals on 13 Oct 1892 were just under 150; no Frederick McGlynn nor a Frederick Parsons was listed on the ships manifest.  So was the list incomplete? Or did he get the day wrong?  Could he have arrived as a stowaway on that passage?

However he arrived, and whatever name he used, Frederick found his way to America, probably in 1892, certainly by 1896.  He applied for naturalization, and became a citizen in 1917.


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Week 18: Where There’s a Will- Jane Hipp Richards

The week 18 theme for Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is “Where There’s a Will”.  My take on this theme was – Where there’s a will, there is going to be surprises.

I would like to first say that I love wills. A nice detailed will can provide great insight into not only who the heirs were but also nature of the relationship between the author of the will and those heirs.

I’ve written previously, in my Week 7 story, Winfield Scott Richards had an adopted son, my Great Grandfather, Thearon Richards.  Prior to examining the will of Winfield’s mother, Jane Hipp Richards, I did not know that Winfield was not my biological ancestor.  Jane’s will also gave some clues to how she felt about her sons.  I’ve transcribed it here:

I, Jane R RICHARDS of the City of Rochester, County of Monroe and state of New York being of sound mind and disposing memory do make, publish and declare this to be my Last Will and Testament in manner following. After all my just debts and funeral expenses are paid,
First I give and bequeath to my grandson DeWitt Morey RICHARDS One Thousand dollars to be paid to him by my Executor hereafter named at any time in one year after my death.
Second I give and bequeath to my Executor hereafter named in trust to have and to hold the same for the use of my grandson Charles E RICHARDS the sum of One thousand dollars and to Theron E RICHARDS (adopted child of Winfield S. and Libby RICHARDS) five hundred dollars. Said several bequests to be held in trust for each of them by my executor and to use and apply the same for their benefit in his discretion until the said Charles E and Theron E shall respectively arrive at twenty one years of age, then and after that period should there be any moneys remaining of their shares thus bequeathed to pay the same to them absolutely.
Third I give and bequeath to my said grandson Charles E RICHARDS my watch and chain to be delivered to him by my executor when he shall become twenty one years of age.
Fourth I give and bequeath to my executor hereafter named in trust and to have and hold the same for the use of my son Augustus H RICHARDS the sum of fifteen hundred dollars, who is hereby directed to pay said Augustus H no more than two hundred dollars a year of the principal sum herein bequeathed to him with interest.
Fifth I give and bequeath to my Executor hereafter named in trust and to have and hold the same for the use of my son Winfield S. RICHARDS the sum of five hundred dollars and to pay over the same to him from time to time in his discretion and as he may see fit.
Sixth In case of the death of my said grandson DeWitt Morey RICHARDS I direct that the bequest to him be paid to my grandson Charles E RICHARDS to be held in trust for him by my executor in accordance with the bequest and trust heretofore made by me for the said Charles E RICHARDS in the second paragraph hereof.
Seventh All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate of every name and kind and wheresoever situatie I give, devise and bequeath to my son Charles R RICHARDS of said City of Rochester, Monroe County New York.
Lastly, I hereby nominate and appoint said Charles R RICHARDS executor of this will and revoke all former will by me made.
In Witness whereof I the Testatrix above names have to this my last will subscribed my name and affixed my seal this 8th day of May 1886.

Perhaps its just my interpretation, but it looks like son Charles R may have been the favorite son and Charles E the favorite grandson.  I find the bequest to Augustus interesting.  Augustus was her eldest son, but Jane is perhaps concerned about giving him all of his money at once, and instead has directed his younger brother and executor of the will, Charles R, to ration Augustus’ share.  Winfield is bequeathed fewer dollars but appears to be able to receive it upon his own discretion.

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Week 17- Prosper: Hiram Serviss

The week 17 theme for Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge was Prosper.   My Great Great Grandfather, Hiram Serviss, must have been seeking prosperity and a better life when he left the farmlands of Montgomery County, New York.

Hiram was the son of James and Catherine Serviss.  Born in 1837, he was their eldest child.  He is found in the censuses with his parents in US census for 1850 and New York State census for 1855.  (The 1840 census did not enumerate every name, just heads of households.)

Hiram likely relocated to the Brooklyn/Queens New York about 1858, his death certificate says he was a resident of the city of New York since that time. In 1861, he married Maria Mott in Brooklyn, New York.  More about their marriage and family together can be found in the Week 9 post for Maria Mott.  In 1864, Hiram A Serviss was drafted to the New York State militia at Jamaica, New York.  There has been no further record found of any military service.  Although I have not been able to find Hiram in either the 1860 US census or 1865 New York State Census, news accounts of his draft, marriage and city directories all give clues to where he lived in the 1860’s.  Hempstead, New York was at that time a part of Queens county and Hiram is found there in the earlier half of the decade, in the later half he is in Brooklyn where he will remain for the rest of his life.

1870 Census “1870 United States Federal Census,” Kings, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, 20th Ward, 230, dwelling 1387, family 1848, Hiram A Service, digital image online, Ancestry.com Operations: Provo, UT, USA.

1870 Census
“1870 United States Federal Census,” Kings, New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, 20th Ward, 230, dwelling 1387, family 1848, Hiram A Service, digital image online, Ancestry.com Operations: Provo, UT, USA.

Hiram worked at various occupations.  In 1867 he was a brick maker, in 1870 a clerk in a store, then later a lumber dealer, timekeeper and foreman.  By the later 1870’s he was working as a conductor.  He seems to have remained in that line of business, with occupations such as conductor, driver and motorman.

Hiram’s first wife, Maria died in 1874.  He remarried to the widow, Emma (Whitney) Bryant.

152. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “1880 United States Federal Census,” Name: Provo, UT, USA: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2005;, www.ancestry.com.

1880 Census with Hiram and 2nd wife Emma. Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “1880 United States Federal Census,” Name: Provo, UT, USA: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2005;, http://www.ancestry.com.

She and her young daughter Everlina Bryant joined Hiram and his 5 children in about 1876.  With Emma, Hiram fathered 4 more children.  The blended family had 10 children in total all born between 1862 and 1887.

FultonHistory.com, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 9 Jun 1903

FultonHistory.com, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 9 Jun 1903

While it is certain that Hiram did not enjoy the type of prosperity of a Vanderbilt or a Carnegie, it appears he was reasonably well known and regarded among his peers and neighbors.  In the 1903 wedding announcement for his son, Hiram is described as a “well known resident of Greenpoint”.

Hiram was also a Junior Deacon, an appointed officer position, in the Long Island Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.  Most of all, it appears that Hiram enjoyed the company of his family.

Hiram died in 1903.  He is buried at the Trinity Cemetery in Hewlett.  His wife, Emma (d. 1915) is buried beside him.

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