I have not posted on the blog since last summer. In the interim I have been working on my other blog. If you know about that blog, you know about it. If you don’t, let’s just say I do not want to cross contaminate between the two blogs. This is the lighter of the blogs, where I am going to put out family histories or stories that I want to tell. You can contact me if you want to know about the “dark” blog. But for now I am going to tell you what I am going to focus on projects here for a while. I am doing this not only to give you an idea of the things I uncovering or rediscovering, I am also doing it to put myself on the hook to complete the unfinished posts in my queue.
Last night, Matt (the eldest of the “sons”) and I attended a screening of the film “They Shall Not Grow Old”. One Hundred years have passed since the end of the Great War (World War I). This film is about the ordinary British/Commonwealth Soldier along the Western Front from 1914-1918. This was not meant to be a discussion of significant battles or a rehashing of the geopolitical implosion of Europe in the wake of the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, Hapsburg heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1914. This is a story, told through the film archive of the Imperial War Museum in London, using over 100 hours of film shot along the Western Front from 1914 -1918 and over 600 hours of audio files of Veterans of the Great War telling their stories. It was not a Ken Burns style documentary, but it was a powerful piece of film making. I know this is not everyone’s “cup of tea”. But I was all in. Thanks to Matt for inviting me to attend one of the screenings here in Norfolk, Virginia with him.
At the end of the film, after the credits had run, Peter Jackson discussed the techniques used to restore and make the film more natural to watch. It was really fascinating. One of the things he said resonated with me. He pointed out that as the generations pass these stories are lost. He encouraged people to preserve those family connections to history. I am going to do just that. I have been researching the service of my great-grandfather, Ensign Sidney J Kelly, USN and two of his sons during the war. His youngest son, my grandfather, was too young to serve in the war. I have Sidney Kelly’s service record from the National Archives and information on his sons through unit histories that I will share.
I am also working on Bernard Kelly (my maternal grandfather, Sidney’s youngest son),specifically his service with the Fire Department in New York. I recently acquired a copy of his service record and I am working with sources in New York to get more information on his house assignments throughout his career. I have completed his chronological list of assignments from 1928 through 1960. I am trying to fill in details.
Finally, I am working on a post about the Baumanns of Red Hook in Brooklyn. I have always been curious about my father’s family so that is a labor of love and curiousity. Along with all this family history, I may throw in some funny stories and adventures to Savannah into the mix.
I think I have given myself enough of a homework assignment for the moment. Stay tuned…