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September 24, 2011

WW2 Dog Tag Found in Normandy - Help Send it Home!

James F. Courtney Dog ID Tag

I hope readers have their sleuthing hats on because we have another mystery - another American soldier's Dog Tag has been found in Normandy and the finders wish to send it back home to descendants.

Here are the details from Dan:

 I have been contacted by a friend who lives near Saint Mere Eglise in Normandy.  A dog tag has been locate which belongs to James F. Courtney, service number 33196637. Mr Courtney is listed as a resident of DC and enlisted in Ft Meyer Virginia.  His wife is listed as Mary Courtney.   The people of Normandy would like to contact Mr. Courtney or his family to return this lost item.  I have been searching for a year without success.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I had a quick look on and found a military record I suspect is the correct James F. Courtney. Here are some of the details from that record

Name: James F Courtney
Birth Year: 1921
Race: White, Citizen (White)
Nativity State or Country: Dist of Columbia
State of Residence: District of Columbia
County or City: District of Columbia

Enlistment Date: 8 Sep 1942
Enlistment State: Virginia
Enlistment City: Fort Myer

As usual please do not post details on people who might be living. Instead send private information to me at olivetreegenealogy @ 

If the details are not private, please post in the comment section of this blog. 

Readers of Olive Tree Genealogy blog have a great track record of returning other dog tags to their owners or descendants so I am confident we can find James or his family. See stories of other found Dog Tags we sent home


Sam said...

It looks like James died in Maryland in 1984.

From the SSDI:

James F Courtney
b. 18 Jul 1921
d. Dec 1984
Hagerstown, Washington County, MD
SSN issued in DC

Anonymous said...

There are two possible family trees on for him. (I don't have a membership)

Jo said...

Just a few thoughts...

I believe Mary is actually his mother, not wife. 1930 US Census has James F. Courtney, the son of Frederick and Mary. According to obituaries that are available online, James' parents and at least one brother (Harry) are buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in DC. It is possible that James is buried there, also. If so, it's worth asking about cemetery records.

His sisters, Sarah and Mary, both married men named Best. The two Ancestry trees online seem somewhat inaccurate, but they suggest that Sarah Best had several children, most still living. Perhaps a member of that family could point you in the right direction.

No luck finding James' obituary online, but that may provide the best clues.

Danielle said...

Just FYI, I just found an obituary for a man by the same name, military veteran, but lived 1929-2010. So that is probably where the online trees are going wrong if people aren't confident they're linking to the correct one.

Becky said...

Has anyone had any luck with this? I sent a message to a possible family connection this morning. It may be a long shot but it's a possiblity. Now it is wait and see.

Email: nvrayn_at_gmail_dot_com

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

No results yet Becky. Thanks for your participation and hopefully there will be a good result!

NVRayn said...

I think I found the Courtney family. I received 2 Messages this morning, one from his daughter's son and another from her neice. Sounds like it might be the real thing. When I get home from work I will respond to the messages. I'm excited and so are they. I hope it works out for them. The son and his brother are both in the military, and it would mean a lot to them. I will post more later.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Wonderful! Fingers crossed.

If it turns out to be the right family, please send me their info (privately is fine, send it to so I can pass on the email and name of the man who first wrote to me.

Great sleuthing by everyone!

NVRayn said...

I'm still working on making this connection. Today, I sent another message to the young man that I believe is Mr. Courtney's grandson. I received an email from him a week ago and I wrote back to him. As of today, I haven't heard back from him. I'm hoping he will be able to tell us more about his Grandfather. I would love to make the verification by Veterans Day; He told me that he and his brothers are all serving our Country in the Military.
When I first started playing around with Genealogy, in order to get information, you would put it on paper, put a stamp on it and wait. Maybe I’m being impatient… ☺

If anyone has any comments or suggestions, I’d sure appreciate hearing from you.

Happy Hunting,


NVRayn said...

I would like to share what I can of my correspondence with this family.

Redacted email from James F. Courtney’s Grandson

Subject: Found Dog Tags for James Courtney

Dear Becky,

I am writing in response to the found dog tags in Normandy. My name is _______ and I am the oldest son of _______ _______. James Courtney is my Grandfather. I looked over all the information that you posted and it all looks correct. My mother did live in the _______, __. area with her parents and eventually moved down to _______. The names you listed are also correct. Unfortunately my mother passed away _______ and there is no way to verify if she knew anything about this part of her father's life. If you have any suggestions on how we can verify this and get his dog tags that would be amazing. My two brothers and I are also soldiers and it would mean the world to me to get them back. Thanks for all your help.

Most Sincerely,
_______ _______

Redacted Facebook message from James F. Courtney’s Grandniece Grandniece
Ms. _______,

I believe my Aunt _______ Courtney _______ may have been his daughter or granddaughter, since she was originally from the DC area. My Aunt _______, died last year after a long _____________________, without any biological family to speak of.

My Uncle _______ and his children (_______, _______, _______, and _______) reside in _______, _______. As you can see, it appears that Aunt _______'s children were given family names. If you wish, you can contact one of them at these Facebook pages

[Facebook page removed]
[Facebook page removed]
[Facebook page removed]

Again any suggestions or comments are welcome.

NVRayn said...

This is makes me sad, I found this family and then lost contact with them. I do not know where to go from here. I guess just wait for further contact from the family.

Becky said...

Could you send me information concerning this family so I may try to locate them?

Thank you.