According to the Dept. of Veteran Affairs (formerly known as the Veterans Administration) there are approximate 3,400 living World War I (WWI) veterans in the United States. Very shortly, we will read the headline “Last World War I Vet Dies.”
On July 12, 1973 there was a disastrous fire at the Military Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO which resulted in the destruction of approximately 16 to 18 million Army and Army Air Corps “Official Military Personnel Files” (also known as 201 files). The records affected are:
There were no duplicate copies nor were there microfilm copies of any of the destroyed records. Further, there was no master index of individuals created prior to the fire. None of the records related to Navy or Marine Corps personnel were destroyed.
The 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I will occur on Nov. 11, 2018. What will your great-great-grandchildren know about their family members who served in the “War to End All Wars” if the records were destroyed in the fire?
There are several sources for documentation of World War I military service. The best resource is the Statement of Service Cards, Muster-In Records and Bonus Applications. These two-sided 8” x 5” cards are similar to the information you would find on a compiled Civil War service record cards.
The U.S. Selective Service System, Senate Bill 2922 of the 67th Congress, Second Session, Jan. 16, 1922, authorized the Secretary of War to furnish to the State Adjutant Generals the Statement of Service Cards or Muster-In Records of those Officers, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines who enlisted from their state. Note, these cards were sent to the state of enlistment, not necessarily the state where the individual was living or was born.
These cards contain a wealth of information including the individual’s military service number, where and what units of assignment, awards earned, dates of overseas service, injuries or wounds suffered, any disabilities, their declared dependants or next-of-kin, and if they died in service, the date, location and cause of death.
To request a copy of the Statement of Service Cards, Muster-In Records and Bonus Applications, for anyone who entered the military during World War I from Texas, write to: Texas Military Forces Museum, Camp Mabry – Bldg. 6, P. O. Box 5218, Austin, Texas 78763.
When making a request for a copy of these documents, it is important you include as much information as possible to identify the individual’s records, include full name, date of birth and/or county of residence. Include an acknowledgment of your willingness to pay any photocopy or mailing costs.
For information on where to write for other states, please see my website for a complete State Contact List or send a self-address stamped envelope to my address for a photocopy. It is important to remember that over time, these records have been transferred to various other state agencies and may no longer be in the custody of the State Adjutant General’s Office.
Another source for World War I military service records is to check with the “Personal Papers Section” of the County Clerk’s Office. Many times, veterans would file a copy of their discharge papers with the County Clerk’s Office as proof of military service. Therefore, you should check the county where the individual entered the military as well as every county where the individual resided during their lifetime.
Lastly, if you know the veteran’s military service number, write to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs and ask them for a photocopy of any records they might have. In Texas, you should mail your letter to either: VA Regional Office, 6900 Almeda Rd., Houston, TX 77030 or VA Regional Office, One Veterans Plaza, 701 Clay Ave., Waco, TX 76799 or telephone their toll-free number at: 1-800-827-1000 for more information.
On Friday, Nov. 12, 1999, the 38th Annual Scottish Games and Clan Gathering will host a genealogy seminar at the historic Stage Coach Inn in Salado, Texas. The seminar will begin at 9:00 a.m. and the three workshops presented include: Records of the General Land Office of Texas, Mining a County Courthouse, and Dating 19th Century Photographs. For further information, contact: Central Texas Area Museum, P. O. Box 36, Salado, Texas 7651, telephone: (254) 947-5232, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at: http://pages.whowhere.com/community/jon.czar/ctammain.html.
In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.
Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/2670/ COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: email@example.com
This webpage was last created on 8 Nov and was last revised on 10 Jan 2000, 19 May 2000
Copyright © 1999, 2000 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604