Genealogy at the Spy Museum!
Trip to Washington, DC
Yearly, I make a trek to Washington, DC to look up genealogy info at the National Archives. On one trip, I decided to spend an afternoon visiting the new Spy Museum in D.C..
So, I'm walking around listening to the audiocassette, and I come to an area about terrorist attacks on American soil. The first display explained that 9/11 was NOT the first attack we've had on American soil. Rather, there was an attack during World War I which was also in the New York City area. There was a small island called Black Tom Island that was a storage facility for munitions being shipped overseas to the soldiers- - - the island was wall to wall with assorted ammunition - - TNT, dynamite, etc..
Long story short, there were explosions on the island that were heard as far away as Maryland. Shards of shrapnel left pockmarks on the Statue of Liberty and many windows in Manhattan were blown out. About 50 people died. Then I read that one of the culprits / terrorists was a German agent named LOTHAR WITZKE. (My grandmother's maiden name was Witzke.) This museum was NOT where I wanted to find my family's name! [One of many sources to this story is at: http://www.historyplace.com/specials/writers/tom-island.htm Just do a search on Lothar Witzke and you'll come upon hundreds of articles.]
While I haven't found the direct link to Lothar in my family research, I just KNOW he must be the crazy, black sheep cousin no one wanted to talk about.
When I was shopping in the Spy Museum gift shop, I bought a wristband that reads: "WARNING: Everyone has a history." Isn't THAT the truth!!! I went to D.C. to research family history - - - I just wasn't expecting to find anything at the SPY MUSEUM!!!! (spymuseum.org)
The Black Sheep Cousin
- The Detonators - book at amazon.com
Story of first terrorist attack on American soil, during World War I on Black Tom Island (near the Statue of Liberty).
- Spy Museum
located at 8th & F Streets, NW, Washington, DC
- National Archives and Records Administration
National Archives has a floor of historical records such as Census, Passenger Ship Records, some naturalization records.