52 Ancestors, 52 Weeks Cajun Style #2

The assignment for 2nd week is a favorite photo.  I don’t know about you guys but if you are a genealogist, it is REALLY hard to pic a favorite…. it’s like trying to pick a favorite movie, or song, when there are different ones that fit different moods.  So, I will continue this theme in the future, but I’ll start with this one: 


My grandfather, William James Sutherland, is the one in the back row in the middle.  The reason I started with this photo is because it’s so mysterious.  I don’t know anything about the crew he was on, nor the plane he was working on; just that he was in the Army-Air Corps before it split (Army and Air Force) and was about to deploy when the war ended in 1945.  So, having a mystery keeps you working, keeps you focused, keeps you curious and leaves you open to learning from others.  So, I’m hoping to get this photo out there and hopefully make a new connection with my grandfathers’ crew-mates and hear a story or two.  

Army Air Corp flyersutherland_019_tif

William was born in 10 Aug, 1910 in Oil City, (Venango County), Pennsylvania.  He was child #4, the oldest boy of eight children, born to Anthony Sutherland and Anna Kathryne Jensen.  The children in order were Helena (“Toots”), Elsie, Mary-Kathryn, William, Frances, David, Anthony Jr, and Charlotte.  He was forced to drop out of high school when his father, who was crossing a busy street,  died due to fractures in both legs. He went to work for Atlantic (Refinery) in PA and then the company moved him to Port Arthur, Texas. I’m hoping he was happy with the warmer climate!  The photos of him playing tennis and on the beach says he was!

In Texas is where he met my Cajun grandmother Beulah Begnaud, but that is a story for another time! I did include the photo above because my grandfather rarely smiled in photos and I love seeing him smile (holding my mother, Eleanor).  

My task right now is to get additional info from a cousin of mine about the type of plane this is, where it was stationed at, what type of work my grandfather did and all sorts of fun things that have come up.

If you check here you will find a fun map of all the Texas WWII Army airfields that were in existence.

Until next time!



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