Welte Family History Research

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For over 40 years, I have been researching my family history. Now that I'm retired, I can devote more time and effort into more research, compilation, and organization of that work! Over the past 12 years, I have been very fortunate in teaching genealogy classes, along with my computer experience, at Blackhawk Technical College. I've also created a business - "Field of Genes" - a "Ride-N-Seek" experience to help other families find their own ancestors.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

12 Ancestors - #20 Edwin J. Welte - Remembering the Fallen...

Remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while fighting for our country...here is my own relative's story: I had always heard that my dad’s first cousin had died in World War II on the island of Tarawa. At first I didn’t even know his first name. Armed with only a last name, that he died in World War II, and the Tarawa conflict that took place in 1943, I searched the online records of the American Battle Monuments Commission. I immediately saw that his name was Edwin J. Welte, and his status was “Missing in Action” and that he was memorialized in the “Courts of the Missing, Court 2, Honolulu Memorial” in Hawaii. I also had obtained information from a war-related publication that he was trained as a medical doctor, and he was shot while he was in a landing craft and never made it to shore. 

U.S. Marines' Assault on Tarawa - U.S. Navy Photo (poorwilliam.net)
What I found were the following details:

1) With a search of the online records of the American Battle Monuments Commission, I noted his rank was that of Lieutenant with the USNR (United States Naval Reserve). He entered from Minnesota so I had another piece of his history as my Edwin Welte was from Minnesota. According to the University of Minnesota yearbook record on www.Ancestry.com, Pi Beta Pi Fraternity, he was a 1937 graduate and he majored in the study of Medicine. In the U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls, T977 – 1893-1958, Roll 0607, on www.Ancestry.com, he is listed as a “Bn Surgeon” which means
he was a Battalion Surgeon.

2) According to several muster records, such as the U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls, 1798-1958, he had been sent to the secret classified destination, noted in the records, known as Guadalcanal. Then he had orders to go to Tarawa. The U.S. Navy covered the landings of Marines and Army troops on Tarawa and Makin Atolls on 20 November 1943. His name is listed as a casualty of World War II while in the USNR (United States Naval Reserve) with the rank of Lieutenant in the World War II Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Casualties, 1941-1945 records.

3) According to the journal entry on Page 354 in Chaplain Willard’s Journal Entry of personnel killed/wounded, information sent to me in an e-mail message dated 13 April 2007, from Jim Hildebrand, Lt. Welte died of a “GSW or Gunshot wound to the head and face - hostile action.”


Edwin J. Welte was the son of Henry J. Welte and Mayme (Malone) and he was born in 1913 in Crookston, Polk County, Minnesota. He is the one I always remember on Memorial Day.

Friday, April 3, 2015

12 Ancestors - #19 Beryl Swanson Welte - Why An Old Trunk Is So Interesting!

A year ago, on May 17, I bought an old trunk at a garage sale. I saw it from the road and I wondered why it was being sold. I thought it was strange because it looked so lonely out there in the driveway, sitting by itself, and probably thinking why it was out there at all, going from one place where it had been to being bought by a stranger. My first thought was whether its owner knew what kind of legacy was being out there on display for everyone to see and whether that really made a difference at any of the family. I couldn't understand how a person could sell part of their own heritage or why someone else in their family was not interested in that kind of immigration history.

I felt that it was very sad that it was being "tossed" out, so to say, without having its story told or remembered. I stood there for quite a while and wondered what stories were hidden in that old trunk. The straps were in disrepair, much less even there at all, but somehow that trunk told a family story that affected many decisions through the years. It probably had contained family possessions, including quilts, bedding, linens, flatware, or perhaps even a wedding dress.
I approached the homeowner and I asked her whose trunk it was that was being sold. She said that it belonged to her family and that she had it in her basement for years, but it was time to move on. I bought it out of concern that someday one of the family members may go looking for it and wonder where it went to. I know I would need to have it my possession because the family members my age are dying off or they really don't care about restoring or reviving long-lost memories or family stories.

Mom next to the trunk that her father, George E. Swanson, used on the railroad
This sale brought to mind the trunk that my mother’s father had used when he was on the railroad during the early part of the 20th century. My mom and I visited my cousin in Idaho ten years ago and we saw the trunk at his residence. He is taking very good care of it now. When mom opened the trunk, there was an old Chinese Checkers game inside. My mom said she remembered playing the game when she was a child. It was great touching this piece of my family history which dated back over one hundred years ago.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Genealogical Perspectives and The Reason We Search...

Article in the Spring 2015 Community & Continuing Education Catalog
Blackhawk Technical College
Created by Victor Feuerherd, Public Relations Specialist

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

52 Ancestors: #18 He Could Dance! A Heartfelt Choice Made By Mom - Beryl Swanson Welte

I always wondered why my mom chose my dad as the person she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. They did a pretty good job of it because they were together for over 56 years. Her immediate answer was that, "He Could Dance!" (Click 'here' to view a song I dedicated to their love of dancing)

She told me that during the war years, she went with several male friends, but she always went back to her favorite guy in uniform, my dad, Irving. He was in the Marine Wing Service Squadron Nine, 9th MAW, FMF and he was discharged from the Marine Corps on October 15, 1945, one month after World War II ended. This picture was taken in Minneapolis in January of 1945. My mother’s parents really liked my dad and that helped make up her mind as to the person she wanted to marry.

She told me that at least one of the military men she dated went on to become a millionaire in California. However, he, and others that she went out with, were not very good dancers, so she stopped dating them.

Mom and her brother, Wendell
Minneapolis, MN abt. 1944
Another time she told her nephew, John, that she was sick and couldn’t go out with her date that night because she heard that my dad, Irving, was in town. The other gentleman came to the front door with a dozen roses as he was concerned that she was very sick. However, at the same time, Irving rang the doorbell at the back door for their date that night. My mom thought quick and told her nephew to answer the front door and to tell her date that she was too sick to come to the door. Her date gave my nephew the roses and he proceeded to ask her what he should do with the bouquet. She said for him to take them down to the basement! He asked her, “Why are you wanting me to take these beautiful roses down to the basement?” She demanded that he do so and he took the roses down the basement stairs without any more questions.

In the meantime, my dad was at the back door and she was very glad to see him. They went out that night and had a great time dancing! That is why I am here today and why I say, “The rest is history!”
Mom and Dad dancing in Norway
July 1983