Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Letters & Secret Lives

I like to think as a family historian that I have done my part by interviewing my parents many years ago. One of the things I asked both parents were what jobs they had.

One thing I learned when starting the newest scan & transcribe project was that my dad worked for General Motors in the Cadillac Division and the Parts Division before he went into the Navy in 1943. We lived in the Detroit area, I am married to someone who spent 30+ years working for Ford's Steel Division, and in its afterlives, Rouge Steel and Severstal, NA. Did he think that wasn't relevant? Maybe working pulling parts orders wasn't the most interesting job he could have had, but ya think he might have mentioned it? Well, it sure was news to me.

I also learned that in 1943, the Percival men (John Sr., John Jr., and Frank) lived in the Fairchild household. Now I knew they lived there in 1945 and 1946, but I had no idea they lived there in 1943. The interesting thing is that my mother and her sister, Margie also lived there, but I don't know what year they moved in.

In these letters, written by my grandfather, my dad, my grandfather's sister-in-law, Bessie Bowman Rankin, his mother, Helen Maitland Percival, his cousin, James Rankin, Jr., his other grandmother, Elizabeth "Maw-Maw" Bowman, other family members are mentioned. Yay. I am annotating (I love that word) these letters when necessary so that any reader will know the relationship between the writer and John Jr. They are pretty interesting with more interesting stuff to come.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. Okay, so who worked for Ford Motor? In with Dad's jewelry, I found a FoMoCo UAW-CIO (not a typo) pin that featured a 40s era Ford, a tank, and a plane, so it must have been during or post WWII, when Ford was part of the Arsenal of Democracy.

  2. Okay, Wikipedia says that the UAW and the CIO disaffiliated in 1968, so there's a time frame. Sometime between 1942, when they switched to wartime production and maybe 1955? I'm thinking they would have updated the vehicle image after a bit.