A while back, I was paging through an old family photo album when we came across a photo of a WWI era U.S. Navy sailor. I have enclosed a copy of this image in the form of a jpeg file. At first, I had no idea about the identity of the sailor.
However, a couple weeks later, while paging through another album we came across a wedding portrait of John and Amelia Faulkner, my mother's grandparents on her mom's side of the family. The groom in this portrait matched exactly with the person in the sailor photo. Therefore, we are guessing that the sailor is John Faulkner.
I have enclosed an image of John Faulkner's wedding portrait with a zoomed image of John from this photo for comparison with the sailor image.
John Faulkner was born on May 1, 1889 in England. He came to the U.S. along with his brother Martin in 1911. John worked primarily as a carpenter while living at 658 Thayer Street in Philadelphia with wife Amelia. They had two daughters Eleanor (b. 1914) and Hilda (b. 1918). Sadly, John passed away from cancer in January 1933 and was interred at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, there is no obituary that can be found for John that may confirm any military service in the U.S. Navy.
According to Jim Dunigan, an historian with the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum in Georgia, the white cord wrapped around the right arm of the sailor in this photo is a Seaman Branch cord. This indicates that this sailor was between Apprentice Seaman to Seaman First Class in terms of rank.
Do you have any ideas on who else I may be able to contact to learn if my great grandfather John Faulkner served in the U.S. Navy?
John Faulkner listed "no" on the 1920 Census for military service. However, it is the opinion of Jim Parsins, registrar for the WWI Genealogical Society, that many veterans who were never sent to France but instead served stateside listed "no" on the 1920 census even though they were veterans.
Also, some think the sailor photo predates 1894. In this case, the photo would be of John's oldest brother Thomas.
I received a reply from the Free Library of Philadelphia. They stated:
"As part of our federal depository collections, we maintain commissioned officer registers for the U.S. Army and Navy. Unfortunately, we were unable to locate your great grandfather listed within these Navy Registers."
However, they also went on to state that their records are only for commissioned officers and that it is still possible that John served in the Navy.
Recently, Amy Forsch an Archivist at the National Archives conducted a search. She was unable to find any record of John Faulkner in the U.S. Navy. The National Archives is continuing to search their remaining records.
Also, recently, Janice Friel, another genealogist found John's brother Martin living in California with their oldest brother Thomas. Martin owned an Auto Garage and lived with Thomas at 108 South Cranford St. in Downey, Los Angeles. The problem with finding Martin was he spelled his name Mytron. Would you be able to find a census for Thomas (born 1876 in England) or James, the youngest brother (born 1893 in England) to see what their veteran status was?
My thought is that since John and Martin listed "no" under veteran status the photo of the sailor may be of either Thomas or James who maybe looked a lot like John.
I think that Thomas arrived in the U.S. in 1906.
Unfortunately, I do not know anymore about James.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.