January 9, 2015

Update Case #23 US Army WW2 Leroy Tillery

Olive Tree Genealogy received a request for help finding family of Leroy Tillery whose US WWII ID Tag (Dog Tag) on the estate at Dorford Hall, Near Nantwich, Cheshire England. The finder of the Dog Tag and the Secretary of the Crewe & Nantwich Metal Detecting Society are hopeful my amazing readers will be able to find Leroy's descendants or family members. 
1953 Rocky Mountain Evening Telegram courtesy D. Bailey

Here is the information I found for Leroy in NARA's Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938 - 1946 (Enlistment Records):

Leroy Tillery, Army Serial Number 34669274, lived in Nash County North Carolina and enlisted at Ft. Bragg on 30 November 1945. His year of birth was 1924. He was an African American and his marital status was given as "single with dependants"

It has been a challenge to sort out the military files found on Ancestry.com for men of the same name. One was from a 1941 Draft Registration for Leroy Tilleroy born Scotland Neck, North Carolina July 5, 1923 and one from a 1942 Draft Registration for a Leroy Tillery born Scotland Neck, North Carolina July 25, 1924. Both these records provided the same residence address and name of a person who would always know how to reach them - a Mrs. Ethel Harris. So it was clear this was the same individual, but was he "our" Leroy of the lost dog tag?

As well there was some confusion over Leroy's dog tag which shows that he had his Tetanus shot in 1943. But his NARA record indicates he enlisted November 1945. With the help of Jennifer Holik who is my go-to person for American WW2 expertise, and her friend Norm Richards who conducts research for individuals at the NPRC (National Personnel Records Center), we were able to determine that Leroy Tillery actually enlisted twice - the first time in March 1943, the second in November 1945. This was a very important fact that I needed to ascertain which Leroy Tillery was the right one.

With that information I quickly found the final piece of the puzzle in Ancestry.com online database U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010

Leroy Tillery, whose Dog Tag was found in England was born 25 July 1924 and died 11 September 1985 

Since I had already done quite a bit of research on the different Leroy Tillery males, I knew that the Leroy born July 25, 1924 was the son of Rosa Tillery. That allowed me to find the family in the 1930 census for Palmyra, Halifax, North Carolina. I knew from two records sent to me from reader Donna Bailey that Leroy had been married to a woman named Dorothy and divorced from her in 1973. 

Donna also found the birth of a daughter in 1949. I will not provide her name here as she may very well be living but if anyone would like to help find her or her descendants (Leroy's grandchildren) please write to me privately at olivetreegenealogy AT gmail DOT com (replacing AT and DOT with the appropriate characters) and I will give you her name.

Last night I continued researching and found Leroy's death certificate on FamilySearch.org. From information on the certificate I was able to find that Leroy married again to Gilda Delight Hines and had a son in 1982. Since Gilda was obviously much younger than Leroy it is possible that she is still living and can be found.

I am happy to provide what I found on the families to any reader who would like to do more research for contact information on Leroy's descendants. I believe we can send this dog tag home this month if we keep up the search.

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