See, we're moving right along figuring this out - 2 heads are better than one! :-)
I have NO IDEA how I missed Wm Henry Smith's death cert all this time as I have searched for it several times, several different ways over the time I've been helping you here - and all-of-a-sudden yesterday there it was - in my face.
But, these various genealogical sites are always putting out more info too...maybe it was there all along, maybe it wasn't. Whatever, I finally found it. Did you find it?
O.K., now that you know (if the Tucson paper info is correct) that he was discharged in 1947, it might be worth your while for your mother to request those papers - honorable or dishonorable, she should be allowed to have those too as she is his child. Yes, it's called a "separation" and "discharge", and that's what she can request - his separation and discharge papers.
My one relative has a "honorable discharge" paper [front and back] from the US Army - he was discharged in 1945. Then, there's "separation record" paperwork too. On the separation paperwork there's a line for: "Reason and authority for separation" and on his it states in part: 'Convenience of the Government RR1-1 Demobilization'.
It lists the battles he was part of and where, his military specialty, that he was awarded 1 good conduct medal and 5 bronze stars, length of service, pay, insurance, thumb print, etc., etc. They're full of info Matt.
What all is on a dishonorable discharge/separation I don't know; but they'd have to list a reason for the discharge.
I'm no military buff, so I have to look up stuff sometimes on military sites to figure it out! LOL!
Just Google something like "obtaining military discharge papers" and links will show up. There's a certain form that has to be obtained and filled out.
Now, if you look at those articles about his arrest, it says he was living at 507 South Plumer Ave in Tucson when he was arrested...whether that area was a base in 1947, I don't know. So first, I go to Google maps and punch in that address/street to see if it still exists. Then what I do: I Google "military bases in Tucson, AZ 1947" and poof!, up comes info. ;-) I'm looking at it right now in another window...this was the WWII era, and there's lots of info about the 2 world wars to be had out there on the 'net.
There's a map showing where these bases were then, and what they are now on a Wikipedia link; and yes, the US Army Air Force had bases all over the place [AZ] back then.
He may not have been living on a base necessarily. You'll have to dig a little deeper to find out.
I'm not sure he could have re-enlisted into any branch of the US military after his 1947 discharge if it was a dishonorable one - a dishonorable discharge is the equivalent of a court martial; do some searching on this and see - as he was a Sgt, it may be different, I don't know - I'm not a military whiz. But that one article referred to him as "Ex-sergeant" too - he may have been stripped of his rank. I believe there's cases where they can appeal the decision too. But his separation/discharge papers should clear this up if your mother gets them.
Hmm...so he was in the National Guard first...does the paperwork say when he joined that? He turned 18 in July 1930. Usually you have to be 18 to join the military. [My grandfather lied about his birth date by 1 year to join the Navy; he was really only 17.] Current National Guard website says you can register as early as 17; what it was back in the 1930's, I don't know.
One of those articles also mentions that neighbors were feeding his wife and kids; that they hadn't lived in the area long; that they really didn't qualify for state welfare benefits because they hadn't lived there long enough, etc. Maybe that's why he appealed to the Army for welfare assistance.
Did you notice also that the one article [dated 7/11/47] mentioned that he took in an orphaned youth some time ago? Hmm...another mystery.
You asked: "how do you manage it?" Ha-ha-ha! Answer - "Dig baby, dig!" LOL!! Keep digging. In April 2010 I went to OH for 1 week and drug my elderly Uncle with me through about 20-25 cemeteries, a genealogical library, blew through 9 rolls of film, took copious notes, etc. (wore him out too!) looking for info on our ancestors. We talked to several cemetery superintendents, genealogical staff, other researchers...they all brought up the same thing - how so many people give up on their research as soon as they hit that first "brick wall".
Seems that some are under the mistaken notion that with all this high-falutin technology they're gonna just sit down at the computer, go click, click, click, and it's all gonna magically come together for them - NO! They hit that first brick wall, get discouraged, and give up. This research is expensive and time consuming also. And yes, it IS frustrating at times too.
I had a few cemetery superintendents tell me, "Lady, you're tenacious." Yes, I am. LOL! My Uncle has told people that, "When my niece runs into one of those brick walls, she just takes a sledgehammer to it and keeps going."
That's what you have to do Matt - just keep going. Eventually, you'll stumble upon another lead or clue, or make contact with someone who may know something. And keep digging on the 'net; that's how I found those Ross County records in PDF yesterday, and how I found out about Emma Cathryn* being Samantha's illegitimate kid she had at age 16 (as I had suspected); when Samantha Hall married Samuel Tuneyhill; how "Bridenbaugh" was spelled then, etc.
[*I also found in those Ross County PDF Probate records that it lists a 1944 record for Emma Cathryn Hall; it just says:
1944 HALL, Emma Cathryn (Birth Registration) 21530 (under case # column]
What that means, I don't know...was she getting a copy of her birth certificate at age 40? Was she requesting it to see who her father may have been? Why would her birth be being "registered" 40 years after the fact? Probating what? Or is it a typo, and should have read 1904? I don't know...???
Suggestion: take this latest info from these posts and add and correct it on your tree...this may very well trigger new records to pop up. Add these birth and marriage dates, names, etc. and look for and attach the right Census records, get the parents names straight (like for Samantha Hall's, etc.) and maybe some more records and family tree hints will get triggered. And keep digging! LOL!
Yeah, I'll drop you a line later as right now I have to get busy around the house/yard. When I do send you an e-mail, I'll put "William R Smith" in the subject line so you'll know it's me. I'll also tell you how you might be able to obtain copies of his and Loretta's LA County divorce records from 1942. (I forgot to mention that yesterday)
Yesterday, I called Springbank Cemetery in Ross County a couple of times - kept getting an answering machine message. This was before I found Wm Henry Smith's death cert - I had a feeling he would be buried there. I'll try again today - I want to see how easily accessible their burial records are, i.e. how quickly they could look some up for me. I have unlimited long distance calling for only $12 bucks a month, so it doesn't cost me extra to call long distance. I'm curious if your grandfather, WRS, was buried there even though he probably died in Washington state, and what other members of this family are there.