52 Ancestors,
in 52 Weeks
Week 16:
Family Finds Charter Oak

819th Bomb Squad, Army Air Corps

During World War II my father, Bob LaFara, was a crew member on a B24 bomber in the South Pacific. The crew was part of the 819th Bomb Squadron, 30th Air Group, primarily stationed at Wheeler Army Airfield on O’ahu, Hawaii. They flew bombing missions over Saipan, Iwo Jima and Kwajalein. Between missions the crew had time to sight-see, hike and swim on the island of O’ahu. I know this because my father took photos and created a scrapbook to document his time in the Army Air Corps.


My father used his Kodak Brownie 3A to take photographs during his enlistment in the Army Air Corps. Here is a recent photograph of the camera. You can see it is in fairly rough shape. The 3A is a folding camera. [1] It is about the size of a half sheet of paper and about 1.5 inches thick when folded. This camera style is mostly seen having a leather covered, rectangular box. My father’s 3A is a metal box with rounded ends. The drop-down door on the front is open in this image, but I have not extended the viewfinder/lens for fear the fabric bellows would rip.

Kodak Brownie 3A

Above are a few pages from the scrapbook. I have posted images of most of the pages from the scrapbook on my family website. Use the button to the right to open a new tab. [2]

WWII Scrapbook

My father took hundreds, perhaps thousands, of photos with this camera. While he was in the Army Air Corps, he took photos of the places he went and the men in his squadron. There are several photos that include my father, so one of his squad-mates must have had some skill with the camera, too. My father placed many of his photos in a scrapbook he created while still in the service. I enjoy imagining my father as a teenager gluing down the little corner squares in the scrapbook to hold his photos. Then, using a silver-inked dip-pen he captioned each photograph. The scrapbook remains in fairly good condition. The covers are brown leather and have a nice patina after 75 years.

Virtual Cemetery

About ten years ago I tried to locate the men in my father’s B24 squadron. Sadly, I discovered all had passed away. I created an online virtual cemetery for them on the “Find a Grave” website. Please visit them and leave a flower. [3]

819th Squadron with autographs

WWII Blog Post

My father, Bob LaFara, blogged about his World War II experience back in 1998. Visit his website to read his brief account of his time in the Army Air Corps and to see more of his photos. [4]

Bat Out Of Hell Patch

B24 Crew Members of the 819th Bomb Squadron

Norris W. Fulfer, 1925-2011
Col. Julian O. Hodges, 1918-2007
Robert LaFara, 1925-2004
William H. Marsh, 1923-1983
James B. Moss, 1922-1998
John B. Paine, 1920-1991
Robert Parmigiani, 1925-1976
Vader R. Pennington Jr., 1921-1987
James C. Rimmer Sr., 1920-1995
Donald L. Thomas, 1922-1991


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Remember Me and I Will Live

Frank Takeo Flucawa

Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, Japan, little is documented of his early childhood. Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family. Additionally, the stories tell of friendship, spiritual learning and scholarship.

David L. Osborne: His Indianapolis Homes

My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. I thought it would be interesting to see all the old buildings and homes where he lived in my hometown of Indianapolis.

The Marriage of David and Jennie Osborne

My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (1848-1942), was a widower with two young sons in 1886 when he married Jennie Warbington (1857-1918) in Minneapolis on the 27th of May. I decided it was time to put sources to the story.

Do You See A Resemblance?

While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents, at similar ages, to try and discover a family resemblance.

Probate of Jesse King 1868

Jesse King was born in Ohio (probably in the vicinity of Chillicothe) in 1805, he was a son of Philip King and Mary Leah Wright, both of Pennsylvania. Philip King was a farmer, he married Leah Wright in 1801 in Somerset, PA, they had six children, of whom Jesse was the third.

Letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary

A handwritten letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary to the then president of the United States, Grover Cleveland. It was her last appeal for a War of 1812 pension, sadly the pension was denied. The letter gives a glimpse of a woman who had no formal education, a poor farmers wife, then widow, mother of nine, she probably just wanted some independence through an income of her own.

Sarah Smith: Challenge

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 2: Challenge
So much about genealogy research is a challenge, perhaps the most common challenge is the ‘brick wall,’ meet Sarah Smith. 18?? – 1846

Laferre to LaFara: Unusual Name

The surnames in my tree are typical of common western European names. However, the name that is unusual among these names is MY surname: LaFara.

Luella Pressell: Surprise!

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 6: Surprise!
Just when you think you know everything about an ancestor, surprise! I thought I knew most everything about my paternal great grandfather David L. Osborne, 1848-1942.

Rumple Family Photo 1895

For all of us who are procrastinating about labeling photos I have one thing to say, “Be considerate of the genealogist of the future!” My maternal grandmother was very good about labeling old family photos, and there is one, in particular, I found very informative.

Conrad Rumple: Bachelor Uncle

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 10: Bachelor Uncle
My uncles are the marrying kind, sometimes more than once!
I had to go back four generations for a bachelor uncle, my great-great-great uncle Conrad Rumple, 1833-1911.
Conrad was an older brother to my great-great grandfather on my matrilineal line, William Rumple, 1839-1912.

George Lafary and Catherine Landon: Large Family

My great-great grandparents, George Lafary and Catherine Landon, had a relatively small family, three of their six children survived to adulthood. However, they both came from large families of nine siblings and nearly all survived to marry and have children.

In The Paper

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 13: In The Paper
It’s fun to find articles in the paper mentioning one of my relatives. Mostly they are birth, marriage, divorce and death events. But, it’s the oddball articles in the papers I like the most.

Genealogy Brick Walls

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 14: Brick Wall
We all have a brick wall, that one ancestor who defies all research. I decided I would work at my brick walls by generation, I broke through the last of my 3rd great grandparent brick walls, now I am working on 4th great grandparents.

Catherine Landon: Out of Place

I realized I did not have a date of death for my great, great grandmother, Catherine Landon Lafary. A fresh search uncovered the date and much more. Out of place, but once discovered, everything fell into place.

Immigrant Ancestors, Fresh Start

52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week1: Fresh Start.
The varied reasons my European ancestors immigrated to North America for a fresh start.

William and Uva Lafara: Favorite Photo

I have many favorite photos among my collection of family artifacts. Currently, my favorite photo is of two little children from 1916 who were a complete mystery to me until last spring.

Close to Home

My grandparents. Earl and Pearl, met at church, close to home, in 1914,

So Far Away

My great-uncle Frank immigrated to the United States from Japan in 1905 to further his education, so far away

Same Name

I get excited when I discover an ancestor with the same name as a friend, or co-worker, or neighbor. Maybe we are related!