When it comes to family history research, one of the most thrilling things for me is uncovering never before seen photos or details of someone's life. Case in point - my mom's grandfather Herman Amos Roush. He died before she was born (my grandma was only three) so his legacy doesn't come with many stories. I may have heard his name once or twice growing up, so when I started work on that branch of my family tree, I was really excited with what I uncovered.
A couple of weeks ago I was visiting my parents and went through a big box of old loose photos and albums. There were two prints of the handsome gent you see above, but the photo studio listed was in Mississippi. I had never heard anything about any ancestors from that far south, so I peeled back the plastic cover and gently pulled back the portrait. Bingo! Herman Roush was written on the back.
I kept digging, going back through the same boxes over and over. Maybe there were more details written on the back of photos? I lucked out again when I found two more photos of Herman - looking like a total stud alongside his dog and another with my great grandma and Harry (who's Harry? I have no idea! I hope that mystery can be solved one day too!) My grandmother had written the names of all those pictured on the back of each snapshot. Thank you grandma! I also found her aunt Ruby (Herman's sister) so I was able to put a face to the name for my chart.
I also uncovered some military documents which listed Herman as a Corporal in the Indiana Reserve forces during World War I. Online I found his draft card, an application for a military head stone and that all had his regiment information. So then a little Googling and another jackpot - The Story of the 139th Field Artillery which documented the activities of the soldiers, their deployment to France, what camp was like and so on. I'm not really into military history (although now that I've found connections to almost every American war, I'm kind of interested!) but this account really brought life to what it was like for my great grandfather during that time. As for the MS portrait? That's where they were stationed for training and the style of sitting along with the uniform echoes what I found in the recap of the 139th! Luckily the war was over just weeks after they got to France and once home he married Eva (remember her?)I found their original marriage license in those boxes as well!) Sadly, however, he died as a young man and left behind three young children (Including my great Uncle J. Edward Roush who served in Congress and brought forth the legislation for 911!) I'm so grateful to be able to see what he looked like and verify his time as a solider through these various documents. In the coming months I hope I can also confirm our shared Roush ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War!
Want to read more about my genealogy research or learn how I do it? Read here!