Domain of the Golden Dragon: Soldiers and Mermaids of the Far East
I spent the larger part of my day continuing work on the processing, rehousing and description of my family papers. It is taking a bit for me to complete this task since I have so much stuff. I purchased acid free folders and boxes to rehouse my collection, and will use pencil on the folder tabs. I guess it was a productive day. I got through the tentative description of close to 50 folders. I have about two cubic feet of records to work through and have finished going through about one quarter. In archival terminology, the collection is classified as an “artificial collection.” That basically means that I have manually collected records, and artificially created a body of research materials. At this point, I have instituted a rough arrangement with penciled folder numbers (just to make sense of what I have). Before I finalize the ultimate resting place of each folder within the collection, I will impose a more meaningful arrangement for physical control of the materials. The physical arrangement will likely be by lines (paternal, maternal) and then possibly by surname. Using the spreadsheet I have created, I will then impose intellectual arrangement by sorting and creating series and/or sub-series for the records (likely sorted by record type, place names, and date). My spreadsheet captures the following: folder no.; surname(s); type of record 1 (sacred or secular); type of record 2 (notes, census, sacramental, white paper, book, web resource, etc.); line (maternal/paternal); description; place names; date; and other notes of importance (including primary record citations when available). Later I will be able to visibly see connections and/or holes in my research by sorting in various ways.
The one thing I was reminded of today while working on this project was my mom’s father. My grandpa died before I was born, and so I never met him. Filadelfio Narciso Garcia was born on September 9, 1914 (Chacon, New Mexico). Though his name was Filadelfio, my grandpa went by “Phil” for the majority of his life. If he were still alive, there is so much I would ask him. It is impossible to determine personality from documents. What I do know is that my paternal grandfather was a Virgo (like me). He was also part of the sixth astrological sign of the Zodiac. I wonder if he (like other Virgos): was a lover of literature; was captivated by details; and adored history? I may never know? I am learning more about this interesting man, but there is certainly more to know. Some of the records I processed today once belonged to my grandpa. He was a Tech 5 for the United States Army in World War II (Company B- 1st CP). His separation papers (honorable discharge) declare his place of separation as Fort Bliss (TX). He was just under 6′ tall. This is where the height on my mom’s line comes from (except for me LoL). One of his specialties was cooking! Ahhhaaaa… That’s where I get it from! His “decorations and citations” included: the American Theater; Asiatic Pacific Theater; and a Victory Medal. I wonder what happened to the medal? Now that would be a find! I think mermaids, dragons, spirits of the deep, and well anything from the realm of fantasy is super cool. I thought I would share a certificate of his I rediscovered, and fell in love with again today. There are also a few photos which are relative to my grandpa’s service.
The certificate is from the Domain of the Golden Dragon (International Date Line) Ruler of the 180th Meridian. The full color certificate was given to my grandpa on February 7, 1946 at a certain latitude and longitude at sea. He was a soldier on the S.S. Marine Swallow, and likely filed away the certificate in his personal belongings right before he returned to the United States on February 15, 1946. The certificate is what the Department of the Navy (Navy Historical Center- Washington Navy Yard) calls “unofficial,” still it is intricate and gorgeous. Apparently, sailors, soldiers, and marines were given the certificate when they passed the 180th Meridian. I also have some 5×7 black and white images of soldiers getting on and off the S.S. Marine Swallow while carrying their bags. Unfortunately, there was no metadata on the back of these images, so I am making an educated guess on the date they were taken. I do wonder if my grandpa took the photographs? If so, he was “documenting” history! Wow! My grandpa Phil passed away in 1973. He died young of a heart attack, and sadly he never got to see my face, and I never got to hear his voice (even as a baby)…