Publication includes finding aids for US and Canadian service people as well as non-combatants
Chicago, IL— May 1, 2018 — What do you really know about your World War I era ancestors? As American military men and women streamed into Europe 100 years ago, it was with the hope their efforts would help win a war to end all other wars. Today, the story of those millions of military veterans as well as their loved ones contributing stateside are largely overlooked by genealogists and family historians. This year, that concept is about to change.
World War I Genealogy Research Guide: Tracing American Military and Non-Combatant Ancestors has just been released by librarian and genealogist Debra M. Dudek. The book was released for sale this spring to coincide with numerous World War I centennial commemorative events taking place throughout the country.
“Genealogists are often deterred by the absence of official Army military personnel service files due to a fire at the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis,” states Dudek. “It wasn’t just World War I records which were lost in the fire. Military service records which were dated well into the 1960s were hit hard as well. Official federal military service files are only one part of a much larger assortment of records which are easily acquired by researchers.”
Dudek’s World War I Genealogy Research Guide provides a detailed plan to conduct and collect Great War military service information using a variety of online, archival, and printed resources. An entire chapter is dedicated to links and descriptions of digital and non-digitized resources for each US state, a rarity among other military research guides. Additionally, the book documents extensive information for locating naturalization documents and investigative reports pertaining to non-citizens serving in the US military or residing in the country during the conflict.
“The Great War period generated an amazing amount of records for both men and women who had immigrated to the United States before 1914,” Dudek said. “While there are extensive federal military records on non-citizens serving in the US armed forces during the war, there are also civilian records which were collected on a local level. These types of documents aren’t particularly well-known or widely utilized by genealogists.”
The book also outlines solid strategies for tracing female ancestors who contributed to the war effort as enlisted military nurses and yeomenettes, as well as in non-combatant roles within social and charitable organizations such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, YWCA, Daughters of the American Revolution, labor unions, and more. The final chapter provides a quick guide to Canadian World War I military research, which would be useful for those who think their ancestors may have enlisted in units just across the border.
World War I Genealogy Research Guide draws on the wide network of records from the Great War era and beyond to introduce beginning and experienced genealogists to a vast collection of information available at their fingertips. “It was my goal to help move researchers past the myth that ‘all the WWI records burned’ and empower them to explore the amazing array of county, state, and federal records accessible to anyone. I’ve been helping people discover the hidden lives of their Great War ancestors for over five years, and I hope this book will help present and future genealogists uncover the experiences of both men and women during that important time in American history. It’s not an overly complicated process, or something only attainable by experts. World War I research is accessible to everyone, and I wanted to do everything I could to help with that journey.”
World War I Genealogy Research Guide: Tracing American Military and Non-Combatant Ancestors is available in both a print and digital format through Amazon.com. The ebook edition retails for $4.99 USD while the print edition retails for $15 USD. Additional forms and resources are available on the author’s website at http://www.debradudek.com.