Peggy (Berntson) McMath
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Peggy (Berntson) McMath

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Signed 21 Jun 2016 | 11,771 contributions | 567 thank-yous | 1,925 connections
Peggy L. McMath formerly Berntson aka Schubert
Born 1940s.
Ancestors ancestors Descendants descendants
Mother of [private son (1970s - unknown)]
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Profile last modified | Created 20 Jun 2016
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Peggy McMath Personal History Worksheet


Generation -2

Grandchildren and Step-Grandchildren: 14 Living.

Generation -1

Son: My only child, Living.

Step-children: 3 Living.

Generation 0

Birthdate and place: I was born 23 May 1943 at Sacred Heart hospital (a Catholic hospital) in Spokane, Washington, United States. I remember my mother telling me it was around noon. According to her, I was a beautiful pink baby, with three dark marks on my forehead and the back of my head from the forceps that were used to aid the birth. The marks lasted so long that she thought they were birthmarks, but eventually they faded.

Spokane is in the far northwest of the country, but a few hundred miles inland from the Pacific coast. It lies in the midst of rugged timberland between the Cascade Mountain Range to the west and the Rocky Mountains to the east and north. Pine and tamarack perfume the air. The city is bisected by the Spokane River and its beautiful upper and lower falls.

The United States was fighting World War II in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. The Great Depression that had destroyed the economy of this country had lost its stranglehold and, despite rationing, prosperity was around the corner.

Race and gender: I am white and female. In the United States at that time, my race allowed me white privilege and my gender limited me to the opportunities available to girls and women -- at least for the first thirty or so years of my life.

Brother: My father fought the war in Okinawa, a Japanese island in the Pacific. It took about three months for him to return to the United States. My brother Brian was born exactly one year following the bombing of Hiroshima that brought the end of the war.

Brian was born 6 August 1946 at Deaconess hospital (a Protestant hospital) in Spokane, Washington, United States. Mother said he was small, red, and squalling. I think she wanted me to be less jealous of the new baby after being the most important person in the family for all of my three years.

Together, Brian and I ruled the family thereafter. There were no further siblings in our home.

Half-Brother: Shortly before his death, my father told me he had fathered an English son, born in 1960, in or near Cambridge, England.

First Husband: Living was the New York-born son of two German immigrants. After graduating from high school in 1959, he enlisted in the Air Force to avoid being drafted into the Army to fight the war in Vietnam. His ham radio hobby landed him a safe assignment of maintaining radio communication equipment in England. I met him there and we spent a romantic winter falling in love. We married in Rome, New York after he was discharged and we moved into a tiny apartment in Queens, New York.

Second Husband: Living.

Generation 1

Father: During the Great Depression, my father, Alfred Walter Charles Berntson, was living by his wits and panning for gold in the wilderness outside Spokane when Mother met him. As teenagers, he and his older brother had been asked to leave their mother's home outside Chicago when the Depression made it impossible for her to feed the whole family. Their three-acre farm just could not support two parents and all six children.

The brothers struck out on their own and traveled through the western US, working for the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Works Progress Administration (WPA), and whatever else they could. Uncle Dave turned his experience with WPA road-building equipment into a job in Tucson as a long-haul truck driver. My dad escaped into the Army Air Corps in Spokane by lying outrageously about his age. "When you are seventeen and the minimum is eighteen, tell them you are twenty-four and you look young for your age," he would advise later. As a result of his clever stratagem, my father was already well-fed in the military when the US entered World War II.

Mother: My mother, Margaret Evelyn (Wilson) Berntson, was born and raised in Spokane.

Generation 2

Maternal Grandfather: Mother's father and brothers did not fight in the war since they were firemen in Spokane and were needed on the home front. Grandfather, Charles Earl Wilson, had achieved the rank of Assistant Fire Chief despite never attending high school. He felt that lack of education limited his opportunities and he was visibly proud that his upper-middle-class civil service position allowed him to put his children through all twelve years of school and send all but my mother to higher education.

Before joining the Fire Department, Grandfather had spent his early years delivering milk to Spokane households from the family dairy farm. My grandfather's ancestors were sturdy pioneer stock, settling in Kentucky, Missouri, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. They farmed each of those territories as they opened for settlement and then moved on when they felt crowded out.

Maternal Grandmother: At seven years of age, my mother lost her own mother, Lura May (Trow) Wilson to a mystery disease. The mystery was solved in 2018 by a genealogist cousin who discovered Grandmother's death certificate. The disease that nobody could speak of was sepsis following an illegal abortion. As sad as this is, we have learned through genealogy that our Grandmother Lura allows us to trace our lineage back to the Mayflower and the kings of England.

The death of her mother left my mother to care for her youngest brother Wallace, a toddler at the time. They forged life-long bonds--nearly mother/son.

Maternal Step-Grandmother: My mother remained a half-orphan until well into her twenties when her father remarried. My mother did not get along with her step-mother Olga (Foss) Dawson. Shortly after her father married Olga, Mother married my father and moved out of her father's home.

I remember visiting grandmother Olga as a very small child. She peered through round, gold wire glasses while we sat on her floor together. She taught me the alphabet using red anagram tiles spread out on the living room carpet. She held up two tiles and in her high, thin, quavering voice she told me, "This is T. This is U." She was delighted when I held up another "U" tile and asked, "Is this one me, too?"

Paternal Grandfather: My father's father Walter Alexander Berntson was second-generation American. His grandparents had emigrated from Norway just before the American Civil War and made their fortune as coopers in Chicago. According to family tradition, my grandfather was an abusive alcoholic. At some point in their marriage, my grandmother ran away from Chicago with their four children and hid in Naperville, a sleepy satellite town of Chicago.

Paternal Grandmother: My father's mother Margaret Gordon came from a family that settled along Licking Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River, in Pennsylvania around the time of the Revolutionary War. They farmed for centuries rooted to the spot, until Grandmother traveled to Chicago. Tradition does not tell me why she ventured westward. I remember her fondly as a warm, loving, toothless, fat woman who enveloped me in floppy arms in the tiny kitchen of her old farmhouse. One day -- I was probably seven -- she gave me a pot nearly as big as I was to carry to a field of corn. She filled the pot with the ears she shucked right there in the field. Then we carried the pot together to the house where she boiled the ears for lunch.

Paternal Step-Grandfather: After my grandmother left my grandfather, she married John Flick and she changed all the children's names -- first and last so that my grandfather could not find them.

John Flick was completely illiterate into adulthood. He worked for Kroger and a furniture company that taught him to read and write numbers and to sign his name so that he could keep his warehouse job into the 1960s.


1943 Born in Spokane, Washington
1943 to 1950 Spokane, Washington, United States I was born during World War Two. My father was off fighting the war in the Pacific until its end in mid-1945. My only brother was born within a year after my father returned. I attended first and second grade in Spokane. I attended Sunday School at the Presbyterian church where I had been baptized. I ought to appear in the 1950 census when it is released in 2022.
1950 to 1953 Albany, Georgia, United States My father moved our family to his base assignment in Georgia just as the Korean War was beginning. He shipped out to Japan during the war and returned at its end. We lived on Turner Air Force Base in barracks converted to house families. I attended third, fourth, and fifth grade. I experienced racism as a white girl and was appalled, leading to a life-long belief that discrimination of any sort is wrong.
1953 to 1955 Belleville, Illinois, United States When my father was assigned to Scott Air Force Base, we moved into one of a hundred newly built quadraplexes for the families of enlisted men. While I attended school there, I was discoverd to have a "low IQ" when I befriended a classmate who suffered the same judgement.
1955 to 1956 Riverside, California, United States We lived in a trailer park just outside March Air Force Base during my attendance in junior high school. I made no friends there.
1956 to 1959 Tucson, Arizona, United States We lived in a larger trailer during my freshman, sophomore, and junior high school years at Tucson High and the newly built Catalina High School. I loved my Geometry and Physics classes, which I was able to enroll in despite my apparent mental limits. I attended Palo Verde Baptist Church and was baptized there. My only friend was a Catholic boy I dated a few times until he decided he couldn't abide my being Baptist or my anti-racist stance in light of the Arkansas desegregation events. I switched my desire to become a missionary and instead decided to become an astronomer.
1959 to 1961 Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom My father served in England for a year before sending for the family. Once there, we lived in a duplex an hour's drive from Dad's assigned base, RAF Alconbury. I completed my final high school year at an American school at RAF Lakenheath. I made one friend, named Charmaine. Following graduation, I enrolled in a community college in Cambridge to learn shorthand, typing, and as a foreign student, English. Our landlord and landlady, Mr. and Mrs. Truelove took me under their wings and taught me to knit, to speak like a British lady, and introduced me to their former employer, the Duke of Oxford, at a coming-out ceremony.
1961 to 1962 RAF Chevelston, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom We were able to move into Base Housing at RAF Chelveston for our final year in England. I taught Sunday School to the few children living on the base. I worked by selling newspapers, magazines, and paperback books in the Base Exchange. I met every man on base and was soon engaged to Airman Ralph Schubert.
1962 to 1963 Biloxi, Mississippi, United States During my father's one year of retraining in computers and super-secret stealth aircraft avionics, we lived in base housing. I worked at J J Newberry along the road between Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi, selling pets and picture frames. I witnessed the enforcement of Jim Crow laws and resistance to newly enacted civil rights legislation and hostility toward President John Kennedy, who was assassinated while I worked there.
1963 to 1964 Rome, New York, United States When my father transferred to Griffiss Air Force Base, we lived in base housing once again. I was unable to find a job on-base or off-base, so I sold Avon Products door-to-door to women living in base housing. Ralph completed his enlistment in the Air Force, returned to the States, and we were married in a small ceremony in the Griffiss base chapel.
1964 to 1968 Elmhurst, Queens, New York, United States Ralph and I found a two-room apartment in Queens for $86 per month, near his parents' apartment. He worked for the telephone company, first, installing New York's first |electronic switching system (ESS). Later, he worked as an airline mechanic for Pan American Airlines. I put my typing and shorthand skills to work as a "Girl Friday" for Turck & Reinfeld printing company in the clothing district of Manhattan making first $75 per week, then $95. Notably, I was on a subway during the northeast blackout of 1965. I struggled to hitch hike into Manhattan during the 1966 New York City transit strike. Civil unrest came closer to home with the 1968 New York City riot following the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. After deciding to start a family, Ralph looked for a job outside of New York city.
1968 to 1974 Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States He found a job with American Airlines as an avionics mechanic near his sister Rita and her family in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We built a home on the outskirts of Tulsa and started our family. I found a clerical position for an insurance company until my son was due. My father retired from the Air Force to live in Oklahoma City. Cutbacks in the airline industry and oil industry resulted in disrupting Ralph's job twice when we moved to Los Angeles. But each time we returned to the city we had made our home, Tulsa. In 1974 just before one transfer to LA, my father had a massive stroke and we survived a tornado..
1972 & 1974 Los Angeles, California, United States
1987 to 2013 White Plains, Westchester, New York, United States
2013- Collinsville, Oklahoma, United States




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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships by comparing test results with Peggy or other carriers of her ancestors' mitochondrial DNA. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with Peggy:
  • 100.00% X DNA 100.00% Peggy (Berntson) McMath: AncestryDNA, GEDmatch A026721 [compare], Ancestry member AuntPeggy_pilot + Family Tree DNA Family Finder, FTDNA kit #B32C0E

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Comments: 16

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Hi Peggy,

This is the time for the annual check in with members of the Military and War Project. Have you been active during the last six months in the Military and War Project? Note that it is a requirement to respond to the Military and War Project Check-ins. Please respond to this message by clicking the reply button below this message, to post your answer. I look forward to hearing from you..

Many thanks,

Mary, Project Coordinator, Military & War

posted by Mary Richardson
Yes, although my work on WikiTree is very random, I do work on military as part of my activity. I appreciate the Military and War project and all the help you have provided.
Thanks for checking in, Peggy. I am marking you as slightly active. Is it possible this year for you to work on a Military and War profile. You probably have some men in your ancestors who were in the Military. This is a list of profiles that need help.

This category has many military profiles, just click on one, and see if you can help the profiles there. Mary

posted by Mary Richardson
My personal focus has been the military people in my family as well as the heroes whose names became the names of the military bases where we lived or served. I see from the link you gave that there are also pages for military bases, so probably I will add to those as well.

Although I do not yet know what I will do specifically, I can assure you that I will be working on one or more military personnel this year.

Peggy, Welcome to the Military and War Project, the top level project for the wars. Natalie Trott is the leader

The Great War-

World War II,

Korean War-

Vietnam War -

If you read the pages, there are Space pages that have been created for these wars.. You may want to do something like that.

Roll of Honor - profiles on Wikitree that were KIA, MIA, POW, WIA

We use Military and War Google Group for discussion. If you apply for this, please include your full name as it appears on WikiTree with the email address so that I will recognize that you already have the badge.

Mary, Project Coordinator

posted by Mary Richardson
Nash-9215 we are 6th cousins once removed I live in Edmonton Alberta Canada and am a senior citizen married to Isabelle (Gledhill) Nash
posted by Dennis Nash
Hi there, Peggy!

Thanks so very much for your participation in the spring Clean-a-thon! Every suggestion you cleared (over 100!) made our Tree that much better. The WikiTree community appreciates YOU!

Pip Sheppard WikiTree’s Appreciation Team

posted by Pip Sheppard
Hi Peggy

I'd like to invite you to join in the "Weekend Chat" on G2G Today!

Share personal successes, stories about ancestors, tips, projects you are working on, or anything else you wish.

New members stop in and say Hello, introduce yourself, share your story, or ask for help.

Pilots, Mentors, and Leaders of all kinds please add something... your advice is always greatly appreciated.

Current Weekend Chat link is:

The current Weekend Chat is active until Monday July 10, 2017 (Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Catch up on what everyone is up to and say hi. IT'S NEVER TOO LATE!

See you there! Dorothy

posted by Dorothy Barry
How's everything going?

Now that you have had a little time to try WikiTree, there are a few more features you may find useful.

Ideas on what to include in a profile can be found in Styles and Standards, including some tips on writing biographies.

If you need to describe an event, an heirloom or a location relevant to your research, you may like to learn about Free Space Profiles.

Lastly, sometimes you'll run into unresponsive profile managers. We have a process for resolving those unfortunate situations.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask via my profile page.

Vicky Majewski ~ WikiTree Mentor

Hi Peggy!

Here's the help page on how to export a GEDCOM:

Hi Peggy,

Yes, you may certainly work on profiles of people not directly related to you. You will want to search on them first to make sure they don't already exist in the tree and make sure to include sources. You add them by selecting the ADD menu and then NEW PERSON.


posted by Laura (Marland) Harlow

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Categories: Berntson-18