25 May 2011

New WWII Navy Records on Ancestry.com

     My Grandmama Betty (Huyler) Albea was an only child, but she had a three uncles who were more like brothers or cousins to her. All of these uncles served in the US Navy during WWII. I've always been dismayed at the lack of Navy records available online compared to Army records - but that's changing. In celebration of memorial day, Ancestry.com has released a number of US Navy Records.

     The most exciting of these records are the "U.S. World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1938-1949." These are something like the Civil War enlistment records available on footnote.com. These give information on the sailor's name, his service number, when and where he enlisted, and his movements. I've found two out of three uncles for certain and likely the third as well.

LC & Jack Waters

     • Jack Franklin Waters - the youngest of the Waters family brothers, the information I had on Jack's time in the Navy came from his tombstone: USNR - S2. I also knew from my Grandmama that Jack had been injured during his time in the Navy, which had a lasting impact and eventually lead to his death at age 36.

     I found three records for Jack in the Navy Muster Rolls. From those records, I learned that Jack enlisted in the US Navy Reserves on 3 Dec 1942 in Atlanta, Georgia, was rated S2 and was received on the USS Mizar on 31 Oct 1944. I also learned just a little more about Jack's injury: he was transferred to the US Naval Hospital in Oakland, California on 20 Jan 1945.

     • LC Waters - the middle Waters brother never had a full navy_waters_jack_1944_3name until he joined the Navy. Apparently "L. C." was not an acceptable name, so he picked Lewis Cranford. I had a bit more information on LC's navy service, thanks to photos he'd sent his parents. He sent a photo of his ship, labeled USS Barney. This helped me with my search for LC: as soon as I saw Barney, I knew I had the right sailor.

     I found a lot of records for LC, aka Lewis. He enlisted on 25 Aug 1942 in either Macon or Atlanta, Georgia and rated AS. He joined the USS Barney on 23 Nov 1942 from Norfolk, Virginia. He remained on the Barney for his entire career. His last record indicates that on 12 May 1945 he was transferred to a receiving station in New York City. At the time his rate was BM 2/c, though he had also previously held the rate of COX and was recorded as a "straggler" at one point.

     • Milton Waters - The oldest of the three brothers, Milton was originally in the Marines. Right now, I'm still not sure if I have the correct Navy records for him.

     I view this information as a starting point. The biggest piece of information I found in these records are my GG-Uncle's service numbers. With these, I should be able to request more information from the National Archives eVetRecs service. I can also research the ships they served on to see what action they might have seen during the war.  I'm really excited to do more research on the Waters brothers.

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