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Carter County seeks help finding family members of local veterans

John Thompson • Sep 23, 2013 at 9:22 AM

ELIZABETHTON — The committee organizing the centennial celebration of the Veterans Monument is searching for family members of Carter County veterans who were prisoners of war or missing in action.

So far, the committee has been unable to locate either the veteran or a family member to represent the following veterans:

  • From World War I, the committee is searching for family members of Robert Goodwin.
  • From World War II, the committee is searching for family members of Carl W. Boyd, Frank Verran Carver, Harold Felkner, Charles Ben Franklin, Clarence Bud Hale, Wesley James Holden, Wayne E. Johnson, Homer John Jones, Lloyd K. Jones, Fred B. Kemp, Frank Ottinger, James Owens, Van Potter, J. Harry Ritts, Paul E. Simerly, Clarence O. Taylor, Justin Caleb Walsh and Paul O. Welch.
  • From the Korean War, the committee is searching for family members of William Bailey, Medon A. Bitzer, Bernie Britton, Paul E. Little Jr., Billy Ray Pierce and Joe Ramsey.

Elizabethton City Archivist Joe Penza said the committee has had some success in locating family members through the process of “reverse genealogy.”

Penza said reverse genealogy is different from regular genealogy because it starts with a known ancestor and traces documents forward to unknown family members instead of the usual method of beginning with known family members and using documents to find unknown ancestors. He said reverse genealogy is much more difficult because many records, such as census data, have not been released to the public.

The committee is requesting help from the public in order to have as many of these men as possible represented. To provide information on one of these veterans, call 543-5777, 913-0133 or 213-9818. The committee is attempting to get in touch with the veterans or their relatives before their Sept. 30 deadline.

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