Saturday, June 9, 2018

SNGF -- Your Best Genealogy Research Find in May 2018 - Finding Uncle Jack's WWI Unit & Service No.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1) What was your best genealogy "research find" in May 2016?  It could be a record, it could be a photograph, etc.  Whatever you judge to be your "best."

2)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, or in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.

After listening to three presentations from Jennifer Holik at Rootstech, I have been wanting to learn more about my great uncle, John Cyril Sullivan’s military service during World War I. He was injured during the war that caused him problems his whole life.

I felt that I knew nothing about where he served. I was really bummed out when the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis sent back my request for his military records saying they had no record for him.

Mm. I have a photo of him in an Army uniform. His tombstone says he was in the Navy. So the fire didn’t destroy the Navy records, so likely he was not in the Navy.

Back to the drawing board. What I decided to do was create a timeline of what I had and knew about his service. Jennifer says that writing is the best way to work out problems and create new questions and research avenues.

Timeline of what I have:

I have not found a World War I draft card for him. But I did find a newspaper article about a letter to Mrs. H.H. Goe (Nellie Sullivan) from her brother, Jack Cyril Sullivan, saying he enlisted in an engineering corps at Vancouver, Washington. Newspaper article dated 16 June 1917.[1] So it is likely he enlisted before the draft.

In January of 1918, another newspaper article in the Anaconda Standard (15 Jan 1918), listed a roll of honor for the boys who had gone from the St. Paul’s parish to the service of the country in the army and navy.  Two Sullivan men were listed: J.C. Sullivan (no address listed) and Cyril Sullivan (west of the city). It is possible that neither of these men were our John “Jack” Cyril Sullivan.[2]

A 30 Aug 1919 article from the Montana Standard, “Large Sum Realized by American Legion” had a donor named Cyril Sullivan. Still not sure this is our Cyril. I have no records of Cyril living in Montana after he moved in the early 1910s.[3]

 A possible John C. Sullivan, b. about 1889, was listed in the 1920 census living as a boarder in Los Angeles, California. He was listed as born in South Dakota and a cement finisher in construction trade.[4]

He's in household no. 9
A voter list for 1926, has Jack C Sullivan listed at 356 S Columbia av, as a contractor. His wife, Effa L also lived at the same address.[5]

In 1933, he was listed in the National Veteran’s Home, Sawtelle, as Jack C. Sullivan, 46608. Info from the form:[6]

June 4, 1917, Sgt, Co E, 4th Engrs,
Discharged 6 Aug 1919, H. Russell, Wyoming, demobilization
Disabilities: CNS syphilis, Cardiac arrhythmia mod, Chr myocarditis mod, draining sinus region l. hip mod.
wife Mrs. Effa, 729 Elm Av, Long Beach, Cal
born Mitchell SD, 49 yrs, 5-9”, rdy complexion, blue eyes, grey hair, white, cath, cement finisher
home history Aug 22, 1933
Army discharge
Pension certificate no. C-1779924

Reviewing this form, I realized that I need to search under the name "Jack C Sullivan."

This month, using the name “Jack C Sullivan” I searched on the Ancestry database “U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939.” I found Jack C. Sullivan, returning to the United States aboard the USS Von Steuben with  Company “E” Fourth Engineers from Brest, France on 21 Jul 1919, arriving 29 Jul 1919. The information on this list agrees with the information from the veteran’s home: Jack C. Sullivan, 568973, Sgt Enr, Co E, 4th engineers, John H. Sullivan, father, Anaconda, Montana.[7]

I finally found the information that I needed to make a second request for his military records. I sent for them using the previous request number. I got a response saying they found something and for $25 I can have copies of some pay vouchers. So what have I to lose? I sent in the money and am now waiting to see what I get.

Meanwhile, I so want to take a trip to St. Louis so I can do my own research in the Daily Reports of the Co E Engineers. Then I might find out how Uncle Jack was injured in the war, as it was a life-long injury.

[1] "Anaconda Well Represented," The Anaconda Standard, 16 June 1917; online images, GenealogyBank ( : accessed 7 August 2013).
[2] "Boys From St. Paul's in Country's Service," The Anaconda Standard, 15 January 1918, p 13; online images, GenealogyBank ( : accessed 7 August 2013).
[3] “Large Sum Realized by American Legion,” The Montana Standard, 39 Aug 1919, p. 14.
[4] 1920 U.S. census, Los Angeles, California, pop. sched., ED 302, sht 1, line 26, 9/9, John C. Sullivan, digital image,  Ancestry ( : accessed 28 Dec 2011).
[5] "California Voter Registration 1900-1968", digital image, Ancestry ( : 22 Oct 2015), 1926, Los Angeles City, Precinct No. 704, Jack C. Sullivan and Mrs. Effa L Sullivan.
[6] "U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938," database and images, Ancestry ( : 22 Oct 2015); citing NARA publication M1749, Sawtelle (Pacific Branch), 1933, Jack C. Sullivan.
[7] U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939, database, Ancestry ( : 19 Apr 2019), U.S.S. Steuben, 19 Jul 1919, no. 16, Jack C. Sullivan, 568973; citing NARA RG 92, Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985, roll 352..

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. So glad you tried more sources and were able to find the information you wanted!


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