|Hanging out with my grandfather at his garage.|
My grandfather first put his mechanical skills to use in Franklin Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as a means to support his family. He moved to Chattanooga, where he drove and delivered trucks to CCC job sites on Lookout Mountain, and repaired them when necessary. In Chattanooga, my grandfather met my grandmother where they married and had two children, a daughter and a son. Their son would grow up to become my father. I like to think that FDR brought my grandparents together through the CCC. I'm looking forward to exploring the CCC records held at the Tennessee State Library and Archives with the hope of learning more about my grandfather's work as a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
While FDR may have brought my fraternal grandparents together, he may also have been responsible for keeping my maternal grandparents apart - at least for a short while. My grandfather enlisted in the U.S. Army on February 18, 1943, serving as a private in the European theater during World War II. Meanwhile, my grandmother stayed at home to take care of their daughter. It would be two years following his enlistment that my grandfather would finally meet his daughter, the young girl who would grow up to become my mother. Like many others in the "Greatest Generation," my grandfather didn't speak a lot about his service in World War II. He served his country with honor, and then came back home to raise his family. I'm eager to search World War II service records to learn more details about my grandfather's service to his country.
In this early stage of my genealogical journey, I am discovering many other interesting things about my family's history. There may be ancestral links to the American Revolution, the Battle of New Orleans, and Native American origins in my bloodline that I hope to confirm through more research of the archival record.
Archival records can play an important role in chronicling your family's heritage. While much of what we can learn can come directly from our ancestors, many of us cannot or do not take full advantage of that direct knowledge. Archival records, then, can become the vital link to our ancestry and a bridge to our past. In many respects, archival records are our family inheritance, worth more than any fortune. I'm looking forward to counting my treasure in the days and weeks to come.
- CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS (CCC) - Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture
- CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS (CCC) IN TENNESSEE - Tennessee State Library and Archives
- Records of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) - National Archives and Records Administration
- World War II Records - National Archives
Gordon Belt is an information professional, archives advocate, public historian, and author of The History Press book, John Sevier: Tennessee's First Hero, which examines the life of Tennessee's first governor, John Sevier, through the lens of history and memory. On The Posterity Project, Gordon offers reflections on archives, public history, and memory from his home state of Tennessee.