Beginning United States World War I Research
Begin your research by looking for a discharge certificate, a picture of your ancestor or relative in uniform, a victory or service medal or any other record that identifies military service. Other sources include a cemetery tombstone which may also include the military unit, an obituary or evidence of membership in a local American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars Post (VFW). A local war memorial might a include the names of the men and women who served or died in the war. Questions 30 and 31 of the 1930 United States Census will also identify World War Veterans(WW). Contact other relatives who might have information about possible service. Local newspapers will be a good source to find information about the men and women who served in the war. The majority of the men that served in the armed forces were born between 1873 and 1900.
The men that did serve could have enlisted in the Regular Army or the National Guard. Most however were drafted through the Selective Service.The Selective Service Draft Registration Cards have been indexed and are available on FamilySearch. It is also important to identify the military unit, division, regiment, naval vessel etc.
Local libraries, historical societies and state archives may also have World War records including unit histories or enlistment records in the National Guard and state of service cards.. The National Archives will have additional records of the American Expeditionary Forces.
The following publications will identify and discuss records that were created on soldiers and their military units.
- William H. Waldron. Company Administration. New York City: George U. Harvey Publishing Co., 1917
- Company Administration War Department 1919
Number of Soldiers Serving by Age from April 1, 1917 - December 31, 1919[edit | edit source]
Source:The Medical Department of the United State Army in the World War V. 15, Pt 2 Statistics Washington, DC: GPO, 1921. Page 25, Table 6, Strength by Age....; Estimated from ages furnished by 3,683,133 applicants for War Risk Insurance.
Archives and Research Centers[edit | edit source]
- World War I Records at the National Archives at St. Louis
- Finding Your World War I Veteran at the National Archives at St. Louis
- The SIck and the Dead. Veterans Administration Claim Files and World War I Burial Files
Related Websites[edit | edit source]
- Documenting Doughboys
- WW I Genealogical Research Resources
- Constance Potter. Getting Started with WWI Genealogical Research
- Researching Individuals in WW I Records NARA
Related FamilySearch Blog Articles[edit | edit source]
- Remembering World War I
- Discover Your Ancestors in World War I Records
- Accessing US Soldiers’ Records for World War I
- World War 1 Centennial Commemoration: Indexed Records Connecting Families
- Remembering the Harlem Hellfighters of World War I
- Uses of Military Dogs in World War I
Reference[edit | edit source]
- Edward A Gutierrez.. Doughboys on the Great War. How American Soldiers Viewed Their Military Experiences. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2014.
- Richard Rubin. The Last of the Doughboys. The Forgotten Generation and their Forgotten World War. Boston:Mariner Books, 2013.
- Michael E. Hanlon. Researching Your World War I Relative ?: Guidelines, Tips and FAQs. Stanford, California: The Great War Society, 2003. FHL 973 M2h.
- M.M. McMahon. Researching Your U.S. WWI Army Ancestors. Crownsville:CreateSpace, 2017.
- Algar Monroe Wheeler. The "Honor Roll" and our family's part in the World War. [Baltimore, Printed by H. Sadler Co., 1920
Articles[edit | edit source]
- Tina Beaird. Recreating a World War I Veterans’ Service History. NGS Magazine 43 (April-June 2017): 11-15.
- Patricia A. Case. Don't Let Your Twentieth Century Veterans Fade Away."The Genealogical Helper (Jan-Feb., 1987):15-18.
- Susan Goss Johnston. World War I Statement of Service Cards.NGS Magazine 43 (July-September 2017): 42-45.
- David R. Hardin. Official Military Personnel Files of World War I Veterans. NGS Magazine 43 (April-June 2017): 23-27.
- Michael G. Knapp. World War I Service Records. Prologue 22 (Fall,1990): 300-302.
- Craig R. Scott. Tracing the Movements of US Army Units in World War I. NGS News Magazine 43 (April-June 2017): 17-22.
- Mitchell Yockelson. Military Service in the United States Army During World War I, 1917-1919.Prologue 30 (Fall 1998)
- John P. Deeden.Military Service in the War to End all Wars. NGS Magazine 37 #2 (April-June 2011): 26-32.