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Merchant Marines and Great Lakes Seaman

Merchant Marines and Great Lakes Seaman

Juanita McCormick (View posts)
Posted: 13 Feb 2005 3:27PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Popham, Veazey, Hayes
Am researching two men who married two great aunts. One was in the Merchant Marines and one was a Great Lakes Seaman. Can someone elighten me as to the difference of these two affiliations? I have a Charles Popham who was a Great Lakes Seaman, and a Wilber Veazey who was in the Merchant Marines. I would like to find service records for these two. I found the website for Merchant Marines, but need death, birth, etc. information. Any help would be appreciated.

Re: Merchant Marines and Great Lakes Seaman

Russ (View posts)
Posted: 14 Feb 2005 7:10AM GMT
Classification: Query
There really isn't much difference. Obviously, a Great Lakes seaman is an individual who sailed on the Great Lakes. However, in order to sail on the Great lakes or on any vessel in the U.S. Merchant Marine, an individual must have a Merchant Mariners Document issued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

I don't know if this is one of the individuals you were asking about but my records show a Charles Popham sailed as Chief Cook on the W. E. Fitzgerald, operated by Gartland, in 1948. The W. E. Fitzgerald was launched 9/8/1906 at Wyandotte, MI. She was 440 x 52 x 28 and had a rated speed of 13.8 mph. On 12/14/26 she damaged hull frames and plates while crossing Lake Superior. She was converted to a self unloader in 1928 and sold to Gartland Steamship in 1932. The W. E. Fitzgerald was laid up for the last time in 1968 and scrapped at Humberstone, Ontario in 1971. Gartland Steamship went out of business in the late 1960's.

Re: Merchant Marines and Great Lakes Seaman

Juanita (View posts)
Posted: 15 Feb 2005 7:48PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Veazey, Popham, Hayes
There could be a link. One of the men I am looking for was a cook in the Merchant Marines, and the other was a Great Lakes Seaman for 30 years previous to 1941. They married two of my Great Aunts (twins), and there is very little known. According to the GL Website, I would have to have b and d information on the men in order for a search, which I don't have. Popham is the man listed in his wife's obit as being a great lakes seaman. The obit, however, doesn't mention if my g aunt survived her husband, or vice versa. The other man, Veazey was known to be a cook in the Merchant Marines. Thanks for the reply, I will check it out.

Juanita

Re: Merchant Marines and Great Lakes Seaman

Posted: 16 Feb 2005 3:57PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Popham, Veazey, Veazie
You didn't mention where you thought they lived, but on a lark I checked the Illinois Statewide Death Index at the Illinois State Archive Web site. From my own research I know that many were homed out of Chicago or nearby.

I found a Charles Edwin Popham, died 8/19/1950 in Coles county, IL at the age of 90. There was another Charles H Popham died 7/11/1943 of unknown age in Winnebago county.

Veazey was not as clear. I find 2 spellings, Veazey and Veazie. There are no Wilbur's for either, but there is a William T. Veazie, died 3/26/1945 in Chicago, of unknown age.

I hope that helps.

Re: Merchant Marines and Great Lakes Seaman

Juanita (View posts)
Posted: 16 Feb 2005 4:44PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Popham, Veazey, Bauer/Bower, Hayes
Thanks. I never know how much info to give out on these message boards. What little I do know about Popham is from Mathilda's obit. Evidentally the two were married in Los Angeles in 1941. On earlier obits for Mathilda's siblings (she would be my g aunt), mentions them coming from Chicago for funerals, time frame 1952-1956. Mathilda and Charles also spent some time in the Bethel OH area, according to her obit. She moved back to her roots in Jackson County WI and lived there until her death. The Veazey's lived in Chicago, according to the obits, in the same time frame. Martha is not mentioned in any sibling obit after 1956. Someone else posted a message that they had info from the Chicago Tribune for Martha, which matches my info. Veazey has a variety of spellings. So, yes this helps a great deal. Are you related to Popham?, or doing independent research? Perhaps we could share "branches." I did find a Popham on a Jackson County WI Fed Census, if you need.

Juanita

Re: Merchant Marines and Great Lakes Seaman

Posted: 30 Jun 2008 3:27AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Hall
Hi Russ - could you please tell me how you are able to access sailor names from the GL? I am looking for a ggreat uncle who was listed as a sailor. Since he was located in Traverse City Mi I am assuming he sailed the GL. Thanks, Becky

Re: Merchant Marines and Great Lakes Seaman

Posted: 1 Jul 2008 2:24AM GMT
Classification: Query
Hi Becky -
The crew information comes from a database I have been developing over the past several years. I have compiled crew information from over 1000 reference sources including Great Lakes Red Books, shipping company newsletters, trade magazines, newspaper accounts, books, LCA crew lists, fleet seniority lists, Internet searches, and personal contact with current and former sailors. The information is in a simplified spreadsheet format that I can readily search based on the last name of an individual or the name of a boat. Currently, the database has something like 265,000 entries that span the time frame 1850 - 2008.

It is "easiest" to find information on sailors that achieved the rank of Captain or Chief Engineer. It becomes increasingly more difficult if an individual sailed at a lower rank, sailed for a short period of time, or sailed a long time ago.

Regards, Russ

Re: Merchant Marines and Great Lakes Seaman

Posted: 1 Jul 2008 2:37AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Hall
Thanks for responding Russ. Sounds like you've done one wonderful job there. What a task. I don't suppose you could find my Nelson A Hall from 1860? I seriously doubt if he'll be under the upper staff ...If you would be so kind as to see if you can find him you can email me back direct at becky1attriton.net. Use the @...Again I appreciate your response Russ and knowing all the work you've done.
Becky in MI

Re: Merchant Marines and Great Lakes Seaman

Posted: 2 Jul 2008 8:24PM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Benson, Berntson
Russ,

My Gr-Grandfather is listed as Lake Captain in the 1890 Chicago City Directory. From various "soft" sources I've gotten names of possible ships: the A G Mowry and the Juno are just 2. I've also heard that he contracted for Morton Salt, although their historian reports not having any of these kinds of records.

His name was Sakarias Berntson, or Zacharias Benson as it was Americanized. There are many possible spellings, as you can imagine.

Does he appear anywhere in your database?

Thanks,

Micki

Re: Merchant Marines and Great Lakes Seaman

Posted: 3 Jul 2008 7:40PM GMT
Classification: Query
I have no listings for either of the names you mentioned. The closest I have is several listings for a "Jacob Berentsen".
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