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Photo by David Barber Shirley Attaways speaks to the Genealogical Society

VZC solider remembered in France

The old expression, “it’s a small world,” could apply to a chain of events that occurred involving the Van Zandt County Genealogy Library at the courthouse annex in Canton.

Benja Mize, query researcher at the genealogy library, received an e-mail in early October from Libby Sloan, a resident of Paris, France. Sloan was referred to Mize by another researcher, Betty Miller.

In the e-mail, Sloan explained that she was an American who has lived in France for 45 years and that her English neighbor has a nephew, Vincent Trotot, who lives near the American War Cemetery in Normandy.

Her nephew and his wife, Cindy, were responsible for putting flowers on three graves of American soldiers in the cemetery including the grave of Charles McAnally from Texas, who died at the age of 21 when his boat sank in June 1944.

One day, the Trotots were visiting with a relative who said to Trotot that it would be nice to contact the families of these soldiers so they know that someone, other than the government, was looking after their grave.

Their initial research found that the only contact involving McAnally was a connection with the 300th Engineer Combat Battalion.

A friend who works at the American Embassy was assisting in the research and found a website which mentioned McAnally as being buried in a cemetery in Van Zandt County, which turned out to be White Rose Cemetery In Wills Point, according to Mize. A marker was found at the cemetery. Further research found that McAnally had several ancestors with connections to Van Zandt County.

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