I am always looking at Kemps, wanting to know if they are related to me or not.
Since Kemp is a pretty rare surname, I like to pull recent “Kemp” obituaries and trace back their family line to see if the person is a relative of mine. If he is—terrific; I’ll add his line to my family tree. But if he’s not I am still glad I took the time since the more “Kemp” family trees I can plant, trace and put online, the faster I will have found and documented my family and at the same time made it easier for other Kemps to discover their family history.
It will take a while, but I’d like to think that I can organize and account for all Kemps—and by putting the genealogical information I find online, I am making a lasting contribution for further genealogy research, sort of creating an extended Kemp family forest.
Researching Further with Recent Obituaries
Here’s what I do.
I go to GenealogyBank’s Recent Newspaper Obituaries collection and pull a recent Kemp obituary to see which Kemp line that person belongs to.
For example, here is the obituary for Fred Benny Kemp, who died one week ago.
I took this recent Kemp obituary and plugged the information into my online family tree. Looking at the old newspapers, the census and similar sources, I quickly pulled together his family tree.
No, Fred Benny Kemp is not related to my Kemp line—but the tree is planted online so future family historians can build on the family tree I started.
Digging Deeper into the Kemp Story
But wait—there’s more.
Fred Benny Kemp was in World War II—a gunner on a B-24 Liberator bomber.
Hey—so was my Dad.
Maybe there is a connection after all.
Googling for more information, I found this video interview on YouTube uploaded by WBAL – Baltimore, Maryland, in 2012:
Here is the key quote:
In World War Two I flew a B-24 with the 450 Bomb Group, 722nd Bomb Squadron.
Hey—that sounds familiar.
I double checked, and my Dad was in the 450 Bomb Group—but in the 723rd Squadron. Both were stationed in Manduria, Italy.
Had their paths in life ever crossed?
Had they met each other?
Almost—but they didn’t meet.
According to the video interview, Fred Kemp’s B-24 left his air base in Manduria, Italy, on 25 February 1944, when he was shot down and remained a POW for the duration of the war. Since my Dad was transferred to Manduria four months later on 11 June 1944 they never met.
Search All Your Surname Obituaries
Using GenealogyBank’s obituaries to research “all” Kemps who have lived in America is a fun way to pay it forward and help other genealogists. It was also good to see that these two Kemps—though not related—had similar experiences in the war. If I hadn’t picked his obituary at random, I never would have learned the rest of this story.
Do you ever research your extended family tree using obituaries? If so, what nuggets have you found? Please share with us in the comments.
Related Obituary Research Articles & Video Tutorial:
- Research with Obituaries: Clues to Look For – Genealogy Video
- 3 Tips to Uncover Hidden Genealogy Clues in Obituaries
- Why You Should Dig Deep into the Obituary Archives