Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I will be giving my presentation, "I Fight Mit Sigel: Researching Your German-American Civil War Ancestors" to the Madison County Genealogical Society on Thursday, 8 August 2013 at 7:00 p.m. This group meets in the basement Community Room at Edwardsville Public Library, 112 South Kansas, Edwardsville, IL. 62025.

This program is co-sponsored by St. Louis Public Library, and is free and open to the public.

MCGS website

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


PT (Patrol Torpedo) boats were small fast vessels used by the U.S. Navy during World War II to attack larger Japanese naval vessels and cargo barges. Navy men called them the Mosquito Fleet; the Japanese called them Devil Boats. PT boats were armed with several torpedoes and two .50 caliber machine-guns, plus (in some cases) a 20 mm cannon. The crews of 12-17 men relied on the element of surprise, their vessel’s speed, and its small silhouette to avoid being targeted by the enemy.

Duty on a PT boat could be hazardous indeed; 99 of 531 (19%) were sunk by the Japanese, including PT 109 (famously commanded by Lt. [jg] John F. Kennedy). Kennedy’s boat was rammed by a Japanese destroyer and cut in half during the night of August 2, 1943. Of his crew of 13, two men died during the collision, while one was badly burned (but survived).

Abbreviations include:

Library branches:

BU: Buder Branch
CB: Cabanne Branch
MA: Machacek Branch

Central Library locations:

BG: Business, Government, & Law Room
EL: Entertainment, Literature, & Biography Room
HG: History, Geography, & Travel Room
ST: Stacks

Ballard, Robert D, and Michael H. Morgan. Collision with History: The Search for John F. Kennedy's PT-109. Washington, D.C: National Geographic Society, 2002. ST--940.545973

Breuer, William B. Devil Boats: The PT War Against Japan. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1987. HG--940.5426

Bulkley, Robert J. At Close Quarters: PT Boats in the United States Navy. Washington, D.C: Naval History Division, 1962. ST--940.92

Donovan, Robert J. PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001. ST--940.92

Dunnigan, James F, and Albert A. Nofi. Victory at Sea: World War II in the Pacific. New York: William Morrow and Co, 1995. MA,ST--940.5426

Marston, Daniel, and Daniel Marston. The Pacific War Companion: From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima. Oxford: Osprey, 2005. HG-940.5426

O'Brien, Michael. John F. Kennedy: A Biography. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2005. BU,EL--B KENNEDY JOHN

Polmar, Norman, and Samuel L. Morison. PT Boats at War: World War II to Vietnam. Osceola, WI: MBI Pub, 1999. BG—359.3258

Strahan, Jerry E. Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats That Won World War II. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1994. ST—B HIGGINS

Tregaskis, Richard. John F. Kennedy and PT-109. New York: Random House, 1962. CB—940.92

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

THE BATTLE FOR TARAWA (20-23 November 1943)

In this first major U.S. offensive in the critical central Pacific area, the Marine Corps and Navy faced stubborn resistance by well-prepared Japanese defenders. In 76 hours of fighting, the Marines incurred 1,009 KIA and 2,101 WIA, while the Navy suffered 687 KIA. The Japanese suffered 4,690 KIA (only 17 Japanese soldiers surrendered).

Abbreviations include:

Library branches:

BU: Buder Branch
CP: Carpenter Branch
KI: Kingshighway Branch

Central Library locations:

HG: History, Geography, & Travel Room
ST: Stacks

Alexander, Joseph H. Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa. Annapolis, Md: Naval Institute Press, 1995. CP, ST—940.5426

Baldwin, Hanson W. Battles Lost and Won: Great Campaigns of World War II. New York: Harper & Row, 1966. BU—940.92

Chatfield, Gail. By Dammit, We're Marines!: Veterans' Stories of the Heroism, Horror, and Humor in World War II on the Pacific Front. Paragould, AR: Wyndham House Pub., Div.of Cloud Peak Pub, 2008. BU—940.54526

Drez, Ronald J. Twenty-five Yards of War: The Extraordinary Courage of Ordinary Men in World War II. New York: Hyperion, 2001. BU, KI—940.5308421

Rogal, William W. Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Beyond: A Mud Marine's Memoir of the Pacific Island War. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co, 2010. HG—940.545973

Russ, Martin. Line of Departure: Tarawa. Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday, 1975. ST—940.5426

Stockman, James R. The Battle for Tarawa. Washington: Historical Section, Division of Public Information, headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1947. ST—940.92

Werstein, Irving. Tarawa, a Battle Report. New York: Crowell, 1965. ST—940.92

Wheeler, Richard. A Special Valor: The U.S. Marines and the Pacific War. New York: Harper & Row, 1983. ST—940.5426

Wukovits, John F. One Square Mile of Hell: The Battle for Tarawa. New York: NAL Caliber, 2006. HG—940.5426681