Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Read the News

Henry Wakefield - standing middle

Last year my brother was given the above photograph from one of our cousins. The information forwarded stated the firefighters were receiving a commendation. We knew Henry Wakefield (our uncle) was part of the group, but not the story behind the picture.

Having a rough idea of the time frame this event occurred I searched the Baltimore Sun newspaper. This database is part of the Baltimore County Public Library website.

Several counties in our state offer free access to their databases. They are accessible if you have their library card. That is why I have traveled to many of the adjoining systems to get this valuable genealogy tool.

After entering Henry's last name and possible date range this article appeared in the hit list.

Baltimore Sun - March 01, 1957
Seven Firemen
To Get Awards

The Fire Board yesterday commended a captain and six firefighters for "exemplary performance at the risk of personal safety" in rescuing a mother and her four children in a Calvert street blaze last week.

While battling flames which swept through an old row house in the 900 block North Calvert street, Firefighter Henry F. Belzner, 55, of No. 16 Truck Company, was overcome with smoke on the third floor.

He was carried to safety by his comrades, just as he had helped rescue Mrs. Gertrude Zabora and her four youngsters.

Firefighter Belzner's name was on the list of meritorious conduct awards that was approved by the Fire Board.

The others were Capt. John M. Frazier and Firefighters Jacob J. Weiland, Henry A. Wakefield, Jasper Nesbit, and Henry O. Wiedefeld, all of No. 16 Truck Company, and Firefighter Perry McBurney, of Engine Company No. 6.

The awards will be presented later this month.

Now we have the rest of the story simply by checking historic newspapers. Also, we now have Henry's truck company number.

Here are several websites to online newspaper databases:

Library of Congress - Chronicling America Historical American Newspapers

Online Historical Newspaper Website 

You never know what you will discover in the news.

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