Finding Uncle Leo

05 Jan

In my family tree search it has been very hard to find any information on the Bowman side of the family tree (alternately spelled a million different ways: Bowman, Bowerman, Bauman, Boweman, Bowman, etc.). My great Uncle Leo has been especially problematic. I see him on census records as a child, then he disappears in adulthood until his Social Security Death Index listing. Then Mom told me something I never knew that provided the key to help me find Uncle Leo’s whereabouts.

Uncle Leo Bowman fought in World War I. When he returned home after the war he had a condition that was called “shell shock” – now we refer to it Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Back in the 30’s and 40’s they didn’t have treatments, or even the understanding, to deal with people who suffered the way Uncle Leo did. One particularly sad memory that Mom passed on was that every time there was a loud noise Uncle Leo would take off and run to hide in the woods. How terribly sad. All of this finally helped me to locate Uncle Leo – he appeared on the 1930 census of a VA home in Massachusetts. If this is him, he probably spent the remainder of his life institutionalized there.

I still need to prove it all through further documentation, but I think I may have one mystery solved … now if I could just find my grandmother (also a Bowman), I would solve one of the biggest mysteries of all.

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Posted by on January 5, 2011 in Census


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