January 24, 2014

WW2 Soldier's Letters Found - Need Help Returning Them to Family

WW2 Soldier's Letters Found - Need Help Returning Them to Family
Jared M. wrote to Olive Tree Genealogy after Lisa Haas put him in touch with me. It seems Jared found a box of old letters lying in an alley in Hamilton Ontario. 

The letters were written by soldier Sammi Gentile in England during WWW2. They were sent  to Mr. & Mrs. S. Gentile in Orillia Ontario. Jared hopes to find a descendant and send the letters home. 

WW2 Soldier's Letters Found - Need Help Returning Them to Family
Here is what we know from the letters: 

Mr. & Mrs. S. Gentile lived at 160 Main Street in Orillia in 1945. Sammi was a gunner in B Wing and stationed at a Repatriation Depot. He mentions the name Dan Rolland in one of the letters.

From my brief research last night I think I may have found the right family. 

VOTERS LISTS

The only Gentile family listed in the 1940s Voter's Lists on Ancestry.com consists of Sam Gentile, a merchant, his wife Mary as well as Sam Jr., Peter and Josephine all of age to vote. I suggest that Sam Jr. is our soldier and he is writing to his parents Sam and Mary. In the 1949 Voters' List only Sam and Mary remain left at home. 

CEMETERY

FindAGrave shows burials for some of the Gentile family in Orillia Ontario.  Samuel J. Gentile Jr. born 1913 died 1983 is there. I suggest this is Sammie the soldier. Also foundis Sam Sr (1881-1965) and wife Mary (1893-1958). 

CENSUS

The 1921 Census on Ancestry.com for Orillia which is in Simcoe County Ontario, show the Gentile family at 160 Mississauga Street. The family consists of


  • Sam Sr. age 40, born Italy, immigrated 1893
  • wife Mary 27, immigrated 1910
  • daughters Winnifred (9) and Josephine (4)
  • sons Sam Jr (7) and Peter (2)

There should be more census records and voters' lists for the family. No doubt birth, marriage and death records can be found as well. There are many other sources we can look for. 

I hope my readers will put on their genealogy sleuthing hats to help find a descendant of this family. Let's help Jared send these letters home to a family member who will treasure them.

You may post findings here as comments or send to me via email (olivetreegenealogyATgmailDOTcom) Please don't put information about living people in the comments section of this blog post. Such information should be sent to me privately. I will forward all findings to Jared. 

6 comments:

Sassette said...

Thank you so much Lorine for helping with this. I hope that with everyone's efforts, these letters can be returned home to the family.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I found his brother Peter's obituary from 2003 (oddly, Sam jr's wife passed just a few days earlier).
Here is the listing below with other family members listed.
http://yourlifemoments.ca/sitepages/obituary.asp?oId=70511

Donna Pugh said...

This family also appears on the 1945 Canada voters list at 160 Mississaga St E in Orillia: Miss Rosie Gentile, Peter Gentile (fruit dealer), Mr S Gentile (fruit dealer), Mrs S Gentile.

Donna Pugh said...

This info should be passed along to the staff at the Simcoe County Archives. I've done research there and everyone is very helpful. http://www.simcoe.ca/contact/arc/index.htm?ssSourceNodeId=842&ssSourceSiteId=SimcoeCounty#.UuPXA9L8XGg

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Terrific re the newspaper obit for Peter, I will pass that on to Jared.

Donna - thanks for the Voters List info. If we can't find a descendant I will let Jared know about the Archives

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Terrific re the newspaper obit for Peter, I will pass that on to Jared.

Donna - thanks for the Voters List info. If we can't find a descendant I will let Jared know about the Archives