Journey of a Genealogist #6: Arizona War Memorial

Arizona War Memorial


By Barry J. Ewell

Episode 6, entitled It’s Time to Start Your Genealogy Research of the Series Journey of Genealogist where Barry J. Ewell shares a few of his personal experiences as a genealogists.

During a family trip to visit Hawaii, we took the opportunity to visit the Arizona Memorial. We learned from others that it would be wise to start early if we were going to beat the crowds to the Memorial.  We arrived at at 8#1:30 and were able to get tickets for the 9#1:45 a.m. program.  During our hour wait we took the opportunity to review the many exhibits throughout the courtyard.  The highlight of the wait was listening to a volunteer who had been at Pearl Harbor. He told us of his experience that morning of the attack and what it was like to have been there.  During the attack he had been part of the Island defense.  He mentioned that the very day before the attack, his outfit along with several other groups, had conducted drills for anti-aircraft.  When the drills were over, they put the guns away.  If only the Japanese had come the day before?  He brought to life the experience of Pearl Harbor and the hours shortly after the attack.

Arizona War Memorial WallVisiting the memorial was a very somber experience.  At the start of the show, we watched a 20 minute movie that set the stage for the attack and  highlighted the details of the attack in film.    Following the film, our group climbed aboard a boat that took us out to the Memorial, where we spent 15 minutes. Over 1,100 men were entombed within the Arizona.  On the list of names of persons killed with the Arizona, we found the name A.A. Ewell. My first thoughts were that it was not a member of our family.

Upon returning home, my son continued to inquire whether A.A. Ewell was a related.  As research exercise, I suggested that the two of us research exactly who AA Ewell was.  We research census records, military records, and consulted other genealogists.  Yes, A.A. Ewell was relative, in fact it was a branch of the family for which we were not able find connections.  One clue on a wall was the link to a missing branch.