In 2012 as I was writing my book Stories of the Lost, I created a Quick Guide to Researching World War I service. Since 2012, a lot has changed with military records access, archive closures (2020-2022 and ongoing), and digitized records. So what can we do today to learn about our World War I ancestor’s service?
The most important thing is to document everything you know. Create a timeline of service to list every fact, whether you obtained it from a family story, photograph, genealogy or military document, letter, or something else. Cite the source of that fact every time you enter a new fact. This allows you to go back to the original source and verify what you put in the timeline if a discrepancy arises. Military records also contain errors. Family stories may only contain a grain of truth. Verify, verify, verify.
Once you have started a timeline, I have a lot of other tips you can work with. Grab a copy of my WWI Quick Guide and get started on your research today!
Remember, while this website and my books focus on WWII research, everything also relates to WWI, Korea, and Vietnam research. The record locations, starting records, and research strategies I developed apply to all four wars.
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