Tuesday, April 5, 2016

While I had time at the beginning  of this year, I am got back to doing genealogy research. I joined Ancestry again last year and find it frustrating as do many others. My friend, Mary Mike Keller, a genealogist who is amazing in all she knows about using the Internet for research, says they have not  made her work easier.

I have been looking for information on a cousin who was killed during World War II. I found his picture in a high school year book. I found him in the 1940 Census at home with his parents. He was seventeen years old.

I know that he was killed flying an airplane over the Gulf of Mexico by what is called “friendly fire” meaning his plane was shot down by American forces. How did that happen, no one knows. At the time he was killed, Henry Robison was married and his wife was pregnant.

Henry never saw his little boy. His son, named after his father, never knew his dad. He was raised by a good man, his stepfather, who was the only dad he knew.

I decided to see what I could find online about my young cousin Henry Robison, the son of Mother’s oldest brother Avon Robison. The young man serving in the Army Air Force, was killed and his body never found. Although his father walked the beach daily crying as the search for his son went on, he was never given any explanation as to what happened. For the rest of his life and that of his wife, Lela, their tiny house was a shell where sorrow’s shroud wrapped all who entered and permeated each thought and act of Avon and Lela.

I visited them with my mother when I was a child, and I still see the older couple with tears on their cheeks when they talked about their son.  Their sense of hopelessness was so profound that even a child like me felt the stabbing pain of their loss. Henry’s photographs wearing his uniform hung on every wall, and I remember how handsome he was.

Henry had a sister and I often wondered how she must have felt after her brother was killed. The mourning never ended in that house.  But I believe from what I have found in my research that the sister was married before young Henry was killed.

I asked Mary Mike where I might find more information about Henry. She sent me to a place online that had him listed as casualty not in a battle. He was a lieutenant. I thought that spoke well of the boy since he couldn’t have been in service very long. The information Mary Mike sent me reported his death in June 1946.

That little boy who was born after his father was shot down, is now a man in his seventies, retired professor with a PhD. He had a successful and outstanding career. His research has been published in many papers and books. He is highly regarded in his field of Science. He grew up with two half-brothers he loved and has a family of his own. But lately he has wanted to know more about his biological father’s family which is also my family.

At one time he pursued an effort to learn what the government had in their files pertaining to his father’s death. He was sent reports but most of the text was blacked out. He learned no more than what Avon had been told. Even after all these years, he was unable to get the true story of what happened that awful day.

I am told that with Henry’s serial number, which I now have, his son, Rob can write and perhaps get more information than he had before.
Aunt Mildred and Aunt Red (Earline) We miss them.

Rob has taken a keen interest in learning more about his Robison ancestors, and I plan to work with him and share all I have gathered over the years. When he comes down to Georgia to visit this spring, I plan to meet him and we will talk to all the people still living who knew his grandparents and perhaps even his father.

I am enjoying learning more and more about my mother’s side of the family. I am family historian and I want to write about the Robison history as I did the Council history in my book, Profiles and Pedigrees, Thomas Charles Council and his Descendants. Mary Mike said she has been reading my book and found the stories in the book extremely interesting. I was delighted that she liked it. She is writing her own family history which will include famous people from many countries and hundreds of years ago. Her descendants will have a book to treasure for generations to come.
We descendants of William Henry and Malula Jones Robison will gather in May in Albany, GA. If any of my readers are relatives, you can contact me for more information about the reunion.
Most  of our large family a few years ago down in south Georgia


DJan said...

It is so sad when a couple who loses a child never move beyond it. You must have been very sensitive to have picked up on it all as a young child. You do have a knack for writing, so I'm sure your family will be very happy with your family history. :-)

Glenda Beall said...

Thanks, DJan. I have been told that I feel too much and always have. Some like me are called empaths because of the extreme empathy we feel. Perhaps that is why the sadness that filled that house still touches me when I remember. Having lost two children, you can relate to what my uncle and aunt went through. I can't imagine the grief a mother must feel when her child dies.