Sunday, November 10, 2019

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (on Sunday!): A Veteran's Service and Gravesite

I've missed the past few Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenges, mostly because they were repeats of ones from previous years and I didn't have anything new to say.  This weekend, however, Randy Seaver came up with a new twist for Veterans Day:

Here is your assignment, should you decide to accept it (you ARE reading this, so I assume that you really want to play along; cue the Mission:  Impossible! music!):

(1) To celebrate Veterans Day, pick one of your ancestors or relatives with a military record and a gravestone.

(2) Tell us about your ancestor's military service.

(3) Tell us about your ancestor's gravestone:  Where is it, what is the inscription, when were you last there?  Show us a picture of it if you have one available. 

(4) Write your own blog post about this ancestor and gravestone, or share it in a comment to this blog post or in a  Facebook post.

The reason I wasn't able to do this for Saturday is because at first I couldn't find one of my military relatives for whom I had a photo of a gravestone.  I went through several ancestors, futilely searching:

Umpty-umpth-great-grandfather Hananiah Gaunt, Revolutionary War veteran:  no known tombstone in his own time

Umpty-umpth-great-grandafther (one fewer generation than Hananiah Gaunt) Moses Mulliner, Revolutionary War veteran:  no known tombstone in his own time, unknown location of grave now

Father Bertram Lynn Sellers, Jr., New Jersey and Florida Army National Guard veteran:  He doesn't have a tombstone.

That finished the ancestors whom I know had any type of military service.  Then on to collateral lines:

Maternal uncle Gary Steve Meckler, U.S. Army veteran:  I don't have a photograph of his tombstone.

First cousin John McKay Appleton, Coast Guard veteran:  I don't have a photo of his tombstone.

Second cousin once removed Victor Gordon, U.S. Navy veteran:  I don't have a photo of his tombstone.

Granduncle Sidney Gordon, World War II U.S. Navy veteran:  I don't have a photo of his tombstone.  At least I have photos of him in uniform during the war.

Great-granduncle William Brainin, World War I U.S. Army veteran:  I don't have a photo of his tombstone.  I used to have a photo of him in his Army uniform, but it has disappeared.

I also looked at individuals in my adoptive Sellers line:

Great-great-grandfather Cornelius Godshalk Sellers, Civil War veteran:  probably no tombstone originally, now unknown grave location (because the cemetery was sold for a housing development and only graves for which people ponied up money were moved)

Distant cousins Edwin Elias Sellers, career U.S. Army veteran, and his son David Foote Sellers, career U.S. Navy veteran, actually do have tombstones I can find images of.  I considered writing about one of them — and I would have had tons of material, because they both had long, well documented careers — but I kept hunting for someone on one of my blood-related lines.  And I finally found:

Great-granduncle David Harry Brainin, World War I U.S. Army veteran (and William's brother).  Born approximately March 25, 1888 (at least that's the date he used on some records in the United States), probably in or near Kreuzburg, Russian Empire (now Krustpils, Latvia); died May 6, 1971 in Vineland, Cumberland County, New Jersey; buried in Alliance Cemetery, Norma, Salem County, New Jersey.

I wrote about Dave and my discovery of what little I know of his Army service a few years ago.  He registered for the draft on June 5, 1917 in Butte, Montana.  According to his fast-tracked military petition for naturalization, he arrived at Camp Lewis, Washington on March 5, 1918.  He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen on June 4, 1918.  The two witnesses on his petition were a captain and a first lieutenant, probably officers in his unit.  I don't know when he officially entered or mustered out of the Army.

But I do have a photo of his tombstone:

There isn't much of an inscription:  Just BRAININ over DAVID 1888–1971 and BETTY 1900–1978.

Thank you to Mary Ann Missimer-Moore, who took this photo and has given blanket permission to use the photos she posts on Find A Grave.

There's about an 80% chance that any documents relating to Dave's service were destroyed in the 1973 National Personnel Records Center fire.  I actually live not far from what was Camp Lewis, now Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  I searched and discovered that Lewis Army Museum is on the base.  I doubt there will be anything specific to my uncle in the museum.  But I won't know for sure about either until I try, will I?


  1. Phew! Glad you found a tombstone photo! That's a lot of people who served!

    1. Thanks! And that list doesn't include vets in my family who are still alive, through whom I also have Air Force and Marines represented.

  2. It's great that you found a gravestone photo, but you have lots of extended family members and ancestors who served and it's wonderful that they are also being remembered for their service.

    1. Oh, so you like the way I managed to get more than one name into the post? :)


All comments on this blog will be previewed by the author to prevent spammers and unkind visitors to the site. The blog is open to everyone, particularly those interested in family history and genealogy.