The National Archives is marking the World War I Centennial with a new app, as well as programs and exhibits. Here’s the scoop from their press release:
The United States declared war on April 6, 1917
Washington, DC – The National Archives marks today’s World War I Centennial with a new mobile app, special programs, featured document displays, traveling exhibits, and a special new webpage highlighting all related resources on National Archives News.
Remembering WWI App
Today, the National Archives launches the Remembering WWI interactive app, now available free of charge through iTunes(iPad only) and Google Play. The app commemorates the 100-year anniversary, in April 2017, of the U.S. entry into World War I.
The app provides an unprecedented collection of WWI content digitized and preserved as part of the larger Wartime Films Project – much of it never-before-seen by the public – including photos and film shot by the U.S. Signal Corps from 1914 –1920.
National Archives’ partners for the design and testing of the app included: Historypin, Library of Congress, Smithsonian’s Museum of American History, WWI Centennial Commission, WWI Museum, and, American Association of State and Local History. This project is made possible in part by an anonymous donor and the National Archives Foundation.
Saving World War I and II Media through Digitization and Crowdsourcing
Thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous donor, the National Archives embarked on a three-year project to digitize and create public engagement with World War I and II motion pictures and photographs. The project’s original goal was to digitize 70 films and 75,000 photos, and foster engagement on the new digital platform, but by the end of the project, the National Archives had digitized 164 films (337 reels) for more than 65 hours’ worth of content, in addition to more than 100,000 photographs. This is the first time that many of these photos and films will be viewed by the public. All scans are available through the National Archives Catalog or on our YouTube page.
Special WWI-related Exhibits
Featured Document Display: Making the World Safe for Democracy: U.S. Enters WWI East Rotunda Gallery, National Archives Museum, through May 3, 2017
To commemorate this centennial, the National Archives presents a special display of the Joint Resolution declaring war against the Imperial German Government, April 6, 1917. President Woodrow Wilson signed this declaration of war on April 6, 1917, ending America’s neutral stance on the World War conflict and formally declaring war against Germany. The National Archives Museum’s “Featured Document” exhibit is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of Ford Motor Company Fund.
Traveling Exhibit: Over Here: Americans at Home in World War I
Over Here: Americans at Home in World War I draws on the unparalleled holdings of the National Archives to capture the patriotic fervor of draft registration, the emotional good-byes of men leaving for training camps, the “hoopla” of Liberty Loan drives, the craze for volunteerism, and the violence of vigilantism. The exhibit is divided into three themes: Mobilizing the Nation, Stirring Patriotic Passions, and Policing Enemies at Home. Over Here is organized by the National Archives, and traveled by the National Archives Traveling Exhibits Service (NATES).
Traveling Exhibit: Over There: Americans Abroad in World War I
After the United States entered World War I, 1917, millions of American men joined or were drafted into the armed services. Some 2 million served in Europe with the American Expeditionary Forces. Over There: Americans Abroad in World War I showcases World War I overseas military photography from the immense photographic holdings of the National Archives. The exhibition includes photographs from the fronts, behind the lines, and the consequences of the war and how it was remembered. Over There is organized by the National Archives, and traveled by the National Archives Traveling Exhibits Service (NATES).
World War I Social Media Day Events in DC, nationwide, and online!
Tuesday, April 11, 2017 Join the National Archives to participate in World War I Social Media Day, hosted by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Museums, archives, and other educational institutions around the world will share a day of social media activity focused on #WorldWar1 history.
Facebook: World War I in Photos: A Peek inside the Special Media Research Room 10:30 a.m.—Military historian and archivist Mitchell Yockelson showcases his favorite photographs from the war and answers your questions. National Archives on Facebook
Facebook Live with the National Archives at NYC: Online resources for WWI Military Records 2 p.m.—Tune in to Facebook Live for a recap of our Finding Family Genealogy Series, which will be discussing online resources for veterans and military records related to World War I. National Archives at New York City on Facebook
Digital Catalog: Tagging mission: World War I posters All day—Become a citizen archivist and join us to help “tag” World War I posters. By adding keywords of details and features found on the poster in our catalog, you can help make them more accessible to researchers, students, and the public. Educators and classroom teachers, this is a great way to get students involved in doing American history! New to tagging? Get started!
Transcription mission: Fire and Orientation notes by Harry S. Truman All day—Calling all military history buffs! Help us to transcribe Harry S. Truman’s handwritten notes that he took during his training to learn to fire the French 75 millimeter guns that his artillery unit used while in France. Learn about the future President’s experience during the war. Get started!
This week in new and updated genealogical collections, enlistment books for five disbanded Irish regiments of the British Army are now available online. Additional collections include records for the Scots Guard, English parish records, Australian funeral notices, New Zealand passenger lists, and Pennsylvania church records.
After the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922, the five regiments of the British Army recruited in southern Ireland – the Royal Irish Regiment, the Connaught Rangers, the Leinster Regiment, the Royal Munster Fusiliers and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers – were disbanded.
Researchers can see the original scans of each soldier’s entry and may find the recruit’s age and trade on enlistment, names of his next of kin, date of marriage, and the birth date of any children.
The entries also include his address and his rank and character upon discharge.
Britain – Military – Service Records
Over 4,000 records of personnel files and enlistment registers pertaining to the Scots Guards have been added to the British Army Service Records – Scots Guards 1799-1939 at Findmypast. The Scots Guards were one of the Foot Guard regiments of the British Army. They were originally formed to be the personal bodyguards of King Charles I of England and Scotland.
Each record includes a transcript and most include several black and white images of the actual records. The detail within each record may vary, but likely include:
First and last name
Birth year and birth place
Service number (i.e. regimental number)
Rank, Regiment, and Unit/Battalion
England – Cornwall – Church Records
This week at FamilySearch, more records have been added to the England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538-2010 collection. This collection contains church records from the counties of Devon and Cornwall, covering the years of 1538-2010. The collection also includes some material for nonconformist chapels which were filmed at the Cornwall Record Office at the time of filming Church of England registers. There are also some typed transcripts of Society of Friends marriages included for certain areas of the county.
Minister’s recorded all the baptisms (officially termed “christenings”), marriages, and burials which took place in his parish each year. These records are wonderful substitutes when the civil records can not be located.
The amount of information found on these christenings, marriages, and burials will vary over time, however, you might expect to find:
Names and ages of the recorded person
Parent’s names and residences
Witnesses names and information
England – Warwickshire – Church Records
Also at FamilySearch, new records have been added to the collection titled England, Warwickshire, Parish Registers, 1535-1984. This collection contains baptismal, banns, marriage, and burial records. Banns and marriage record entries appearing together are the most common in this collection. Approximately half the records in this collection are after 1837 entries, and less than twenty percent are pre-1753.
Australia – Queensland – Funeral Notices
Also at Findmypast, a new collection titled Queensland, Mackay, Funeral notices and funeral director records is now available. In this collection, you will find over 44,000 transcripts of records kept by the local firms Melrose & Fenwick and Mackay Funerals, as well as other funeral notices published in the Daily Mercury. Some of these funeral record indexes may provide your ancestor’s age at death and funeral date. The notices posted in the Daily Mercury cover the years of 1955-2012. These notices may also contain the birth year, burial date, and place of the deceased. These records may be particularly helpful if you have been unable to find a death record for your targeted ancestor.
New Zealand – Passenger Lists
New Zealand, Archives New Zealand, Passenger Lists, 1839-1973 is a helpful collection you will find at FamilySearch. This collection contains immigrant registers from New Zealand, covering the years of 1839 to 1973. The collection contains primarily New Zealand immigration passenger lists, although crew lists make up a significant portion as well. Approximately ten percent of the collection is a mixture of other travel-related documents, including goods manifests.
Some of these record images may be difficult to make out due to ink bleeding through or poor handwriting.
If you are able to find your ancestor listed on one of these passenger lists, you may also find the following information:
Full name of each passenger
Adult or child
Male or female
Country of emigration
Port of entry and date of arrival
Total cost of passage and how paid
Name of ship and port of embarkation
United States – Pennsylvania – Baptisms, Burials, & Marriages
Pennsylvania baptisms 1709-1760 at Findmypast contain over 4,500 transcripts of original baptismal records kept by Christ Church in Philadelphia. Each record will likely list a name, birth year, baptism date and location, and the names of both parents, including the mother’s maiden name. Rembmer, baptismal records are a great substitute for a birth record.
If Pennsylvania is your targeted research area, you might also be interested in the collection titled Pennsylvania burials 1816-1849. This group of transcripts number over 1,000 and are the transcripts of the original death records from Susquehanna County. Most records will contain your ancestors name, date of death, and place of burial. They may also include important biographical details such as birth years, occupation, residence, names of parents, and name of spouse.
Lastly, over 17,000 new marriage records for Pennsylvania have been added to the United States Marriages at Findmypast. The entire collection now contains over 140 million records. Each record includes a transcript and an image of the original document that lists the marriage date, the names of the bride and groom, birthplace, birth date, age, residence as well as fathers’ and mothers’ names.
Ireland – Newspapers
Two new titles have been added to the over 177,000 articles in the Irish Newspaperscollections at Findmypast. The Tyrone Courier and the Mayo Constitution, are now availabe to search. You will be amazed at the wonderful detail found when using newspapers for genealogy!
More Gems on Military Research
How to Find Ancestor Military Records, OnDemand Webinar, by Nancy Hendrickson is a 1 hour presentation that will discuss the best collections and research methods for finding military records for your ancestors. With tips on pensions, county histories, and an overview of the available information from the Revolutionary War onward, you’ll get valuable insight and hidden resources to further your research.
Also read the following helpful articles from our Genealogy Gems blog:
Throughout time, there have been military veterans all around the world. Military records created during their time of service and subsequent years provide researchers with a wealth of detail. This week in our new and updated genealogical collections, we highlight U.S. military records for the Navy, U.S. Revolutionary War pensioners, New Zealand military veterans, and a variety of Irish military records.
Happy Veteran’s Day! Thank you to all the brave men and women of the United States who have fought in our armed forces. We salute you and remember those who are living today, those who have passed, and those that gave their lives in the service of our country.
Findmypast is offering free access to their entire military collection between November 10-13, 2016. Not only does Findmypast cover US and Canadian military records, but their records also cover the UK, Ireland, and Australian military.
United States – WWII Military Records
Check out the Findmypast.com collection titled Duty Locations, Naval Group China, World War II, 1942-1945. More than 33,000 records contain the details of military personnel who served overseas with the US Naval Group China. This group was the US Navy’s intelligence unit in China during WWII.
The records are mostly muster roll reports that record names, duty locations and changes made to ranks and rates of pay for naval personnel.
United States – Revolutionary War Military Records
Also at Findmypast, the 1840 U.S. Census, Revolutionary War Veterans database containing over 21,000 records of servicemen and their families may help you in your genealogy search. These records include those who were receiving pensions in 1840 for service in the Revolutionary War.
On the back of the population schedules for the 1840 census, enumerators recorded the living pensioners of the Revolutionary War and other military service. The list also noted an individual’s age and the name of the head-of-household in which the individual lived.
Though this is just a transcript, you can go to Ancestry or FamilySearch to see the digital image.
New Zealand – Military Records
New Zealand Wars, officers and men killed 1860-1870 from Findmypast consists of 193 transcripts of nominal returns of colonial officers and men who were killed in action while fighting in the Maori Wars. Each transcript will list your ancestor’s date of death, rank and corps.
New Zealand, military pensions 1900-1902, also from Findmypast, is a collection of records detailing those eligible for military pensions. This collection is only in transcription form, but may shed further light on your ancestors next of kin. In particular, these records often include your name, rank, service number, name and address of their next of kin, and relationship.
Ireland – Military Records
The Ireland, Royal Hibernian Military School History from Findmypast is a 168 page document regarding the history of the Royal Hibernian Military School in Dublin. This collection includes transcriptions from memorial inscriptions, a roll of honor from the First World War, and transcripts from both the 1901 and 1911 census.
The Royal Hibernian Military School was founded in 1765 in Phoenix Park, Dublin. Today, it is the site of St Mary’s Hospital. When the school closed in 1924, all the registers and minute books were taken to Walworth, London. During the World War II, these documents were destroyed in the Blitz. The Ireland, Royal Hibernian Military school history provides a valuable substitute for the records that were lost.
Ireland Military Records is the title collection from Findmypast that contains 8 different military publications and over 2,700 records. Among the records, you will find memorial inscriptions and army lists from the 17th and 19th centuries.
Each record is displayed as a PDF. The detail found in each record will vary depending on the publication and the subject.
Each week, we scour the web to bring you the best in what’s new for your genealogical research. Be sure to sign-up for our free Genealogy Gems newsletter so you don’t miss it. While you are at it, how about sharing the good news with your genealogy buddies, after all…it’s nice to share!
For those newbies who are looking for how to begin their own genealogy journey or for the genealogist that needs a little brushing up, take a look at the free Family History: Genealogy Made Easy series. Lisa Louise Cooke offers articles, podcasts, and videos to get you started on the right foot and achieve genealogy success!
Bust a genealogy brick wall by learning to speak Google’s language. Proper use of Google’s basic search operators will have you plowing through walls in your research in nothing flat!
Genealogy information is sprinkled across the millions of websites on the web. Whether it’s a digital image of your great-great grandma on a distant cousins website or an out-of-print history book listed in the online card catalog in a library on the other side of the globe. Google can help you find it all.
Gaining access to that information is not as hard as you may think. I’d like to share a question I received recently from a Genealogy Gems Podcast listener, and show you how you can bust a brick wall by speaking Google’s language.
Here’s the email that I received from Ruth last week:
I’m sitting here listening to one of your free podcasts…I’m working, I’m listening, and I’m thinking…about my brick wall James Craig, what I know and what I’m trying to find out!
I know that James Craig was born about 1795-97 in New Jersey and was at Ft. Jesup, Louisiana in 1823, [and] that he was discharged in 1825. I researched New Jersey military records and found a James Craig, from Pittsgrove, Salem, New Jersey, who joined the Army [in] August 1820 for five years [and] he was sent to Fort Scott, Georgia. I read articles that state, when Fort Scott closed sometime around 1822/23, the men were sent to Fort Smith, Arkansas. Do you see the trail I’m following? It’s not hard to make the connection from Fort Smith, Arkansas to Fort Jesup, Louisiana. My problem is that I haven’t found any transfer papers!! So, how do I verify that James Craig from Pittsgrove, New Jersey is my 3rd great-grandfather. Is it possible that there are journals from the commanding officer of each encampment that might shed some light on this?
Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have on this long standing brick wall!
Tips to Bust a Genealogy Brick Wall
Ruth asked “Is it possible that there are journals from the commanding officer of each encampment that might shed some light on this?” I certainly think it is possible! I would suggest using Google to search the web because such items might be digitized online, or they might be listed on a library or archive website as being available at their location. Either way, you would gain valuable information on how to access the items.
Here’s an example of a search I would run:
This search is based on my Google Excellent Method Search Let’s break down the pieces of this search query:
The quotation marks tell Google that the word or phrase must be in every search result (in other words, they are mandatory.) When used around a phrase, that means the phrase must appear exactly as searched.
The asterisk tells Google there might be a word or two between the words in a phrase, such as a middle initial.
By putting OR between two versions of the phrases, such as last name first and first name first, you cover all your bases. Note that the word OR must be capitalized to work as a Google operator.
Finally, two numbers separated by 2 dots is called a “numrange search” and that tells Google a number that falls within that range must appear in each search result. And of course, four digit numbers represent years to genealogists!
Your Genealogy Google Guru
Google packs a powerful punch for genealogists. Let me be your Genealogy Google Guru and watch my video below for even more helpful tips and tricks. Remember to subscribe to my Genealogy Gems YouTube channel so you’ll get all my upcoming Google video tips. Happy searching!
When I’m not at the podcast microphone, you can usually find me on a plane. And on one of those recent flights I had the privilege travelling along side a few of the last of the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII.
The History of the Tuskegee Airmen
The Tuskegee Airmen was the common name given to a group of African-American military pilots who fought in World War II. Before the 1940’s, African-Americans had not been admitted to the U.S. Army Air Corps flight training program. In 1940, this changed with the formation of a segregated unit to train black pilots and ground crews at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
The 996 pilots and more than 15,000 ground crew of the Tuskegee Airmen are credited with over 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses for their service. The Tuskegee Airmen continued flying and fighting until the end of the war in 1945.
Meeting A Tuskegee Airman
After the flight, I collected my luggage and found a spot on the curb outside to wait for my husband to pick me up. It was then I noticed I was standing next to one of the Tuskegee group who was sitting quietly alone waiting for his ride. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to shake his hand and thank him for his service. A warm, friendly grin greeted me from under the Tuskegee baseball cap and we easily fell into conversation.
He explained that a handful of retired Airmen were returning home from a national conference held each year. I also learned, to my great surprise after looking at the patch on his suit coat, that I was speaking with Brigadier General James T. Boddie! Tim (as he likes to be called) is a retired deputy director for operations J-3 of the National Military Command Center and Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C.
Boddie was born in Baltimore in 1931 and graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1949, just behind the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII. Later in his career (starting in 1961,) Tim served as the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program commandant of cadets at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama. He also taught military aspects of world political geography and international relations to senior cadets.
When I asked him what some of his most cherished memories were, he didn’t hesitate. Although he has a long and decorated history of service, he fondly reminisced about the young men he has met and assisted along the way. “Our country needs good men now more than ever,” he stated emphatically. He said that he has made it his mission since retiring in 1983 to mentor servicemen in their military careers. He pulled out his smartphone and happily whisked through a series of photographs he had taken with young up-and-coming cadets.
Great! He likes pictures, I thought. There was no flinching when I asked the 85-year-old to take a selfie with me. “Absolutely!” he said enthusiastically as he set down his own smartphone.
Boddie’s face radiated with pride and patriotism, wisdom and strength. This brought my thoughts to the United States heroes who bravely faced peril and sacrificed their lives for our country. Wouldn’t it be stunning to be able to see the faces of our ancestors who fought in the American Revolutionary War, The War of 1812, and the wars that followed? Well, it’s not as unlikely as you might think.
The American Revolutionary War
I didn’t think it was possible to find pictures of the faces of American Revolutionary War heroes, but it is! The pictures are exceptionally rare because few of them lived long enough to have their faces captured on film.
A Utah journalist named Joe Bauman spent three years collecting images of the faces of these veterans. To view his collection of these great men, click here.
The last known Patriots of the American Revolutionary War were John Gray, who died in 1868 and Daniel Frederick Bakeman, who died in 1869. 
Sometimes considered the “second war for independence,” the War of 1812 was in part due to the desire for Americans to expand west.
The fighting that originally started between the U.S. and Britain, soon included the American Native tribes. The defeat of the British at the Battle of Tippacanoe convinced many Indians in the Northwest Territory (including the celebrated Shawnee chief Tecumseh) that they needed British support to prevent American settlers from pushing them further out of their lands.
The valiant faces of the this war can be more readily found, perhaps even in your own family history. Many wonderful images can be found by simply Googling War of 1812 Veteran, and then clicking the Images results tab.
Hiram Cronk was the last surviving veteran of the War of 1812 at the time of his death in 1905.He died at the age of 105.
The handsome Frank Buckles born in Bethany, Missouri was the last surviving veteran of WWI, dying at 110 years of age. You can see his name among a list of last surviving WWI veterans by country here.
WWI, also known as the Great War, ravaged the European continent for nearly three years before the United States joined their allies to fight in the war. Many of our young men and women lost their lives to serve and protect in the first of two World Wars.
I hope my story of meeting Brigadier General James T. Boddie has inspired you to look for the faces of your family’s military veterans. Even if you never find a photograph of your veteran hero, it is important to learn their stories of bravery and sacrifice, both on and off the battlefield.
Do you have a special veteran hero in your family history? We would love to hear about them in the comments below. While you are at it, if you have a picture of your veteran, please post it to our Genealogy Gems Facebook page. We love to hear from you. Thanks for reading, friends!