WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2017/2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/897427

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wellesley resident Melissa Mark has learned a thing or two about genealogy. Mark's interest in ancestry research was sparked in 2008 when looking for an old article about her great uncle to give to her father as a birthday gift. Mark's father never met his uncle, John "Jack" White, but greatly admired him and had long talked of a newspaper story that recounted White's last act of military bravery in World War II. White was a superb athlete, a first lieutenant, and a paratrooper with the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. In 1944, he and his compatriots parachuted into a small Dutch town under Nazi occupation, liberating civilians there. He died from injuries shortly thereafter. Mark, then an Ohio resident, first searched old newspapers and spent hours on a microfiche viewer at the Ohio Historical Society. While she never found the article, her interest was piqued, and she used the website Ancestry.com to obtain more information about her father's side of the family. In addition to uncovering an abundance of information about his heritage, she connected with family members she hadn't known. Through family connections, new and old, Mark also found photos and wartime letters written to and from her great grandmother and her two sons stationed overseas. "The letters are an amaz- ing window into life at that time," Mark notes. "The rations, the food coupons. One uncle had polio and was under quarantine. The letters describe my grandmother's overwhelming worry as she waited for news from her children at war." Mark then started looking into the lineage of her mother, who had always been told she was German and Irish. It quickly became apparent that her mother was actually Slovakian. Her mother's grandfather had P H O T O S B Y M E D I A B A K E R Y 111 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 7 / 2 0 1 8

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