There are some ancestors that you have never met, but there is still some sort of bond/connection. My grandfather’s brother, “Johnny”, is one such ancestor of mine. I’ve always known about him.
Uncle Johnny was born John J. Galkowski in Littleton, Colorado, in 1916. At least that is what the family and the military say. My great grandmother had all her children confused as to when they were born – sometimes they were older, sometimes younger. My grandfather died never knowing if he was born in 1905 or 1907!
On October 4, 1944, Uncle Johnny enlisted in the Army. His WWII Enlistment Transcript shows that his terms of Enlistment were for the Hawaiian Department. He was single with dependents – he was at home with his mother.
I am still researching all the details about Uncle Johnny. I know the Army was his career. I have a copy of a marriage certificate that states he married Mie Sato on December 24, 1951 in Yokohama, Japan. I have also been told that he died of a cerebral hemorrhage on his way home on leave from Korea in 1952.
At this point in my research, I only have the marriage certificate as evidence of anything to do with Uncle Johnny. I have some pictures at his grave that Mie had sent to the family. Where did he die? Hawaii? Seattle? Korea? Was his death during the trip home? I decide to go looking for newspapers in 1952. I do a wide search because I am not sure where exactly to look.
I find these articles after a little searching:
The initial article was released on April 1, 1952. On April 3, 1952, a follow up article was published, which confirms what my mother was told as a teenager:
I also check Find a Grave often for various people. I guess timing is everything. Two weeks prior to looking for this information, a gentleman had posted a memorial with this picture:
Now the real fun begins for me. Many questions. The family knew his birthday to be March 9th, not August 9th. Just an honest mistake by Mie? The newspaper articles were in early April, not March, so his death date doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. John J. Galkowski is buried at Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery. I’m not confident that they would have much more information than what is on the grave.
Why the date discrepancy? Would they have a death certificate? How does the military handle these types of things? Natural causes? Well, I have a hard time with that, too. Why would the Army allow a man to reenlist with a known heart condition, especially an MP?
I guess only time (hopefully) will tell.