You may well have had relatives who served in the ‘Great War’, the war to end all wars as they referred to it one hundred years ago. Little would those who lived then realize that it would become known as World War One, because in 1939 would come the second world-wide war.
If you had relatives still in Europe they were involved first, since the war started in 1914. Even many Americans joined European armies or even the Canadian Army long before the United States joined the war effort in 1917.
Using the Library of Congress database for veterans, they have collected and placed online a series of true stories of real American’s experience with World War One, known as Veteran’s History Project. Collected mostly from relatives of veterans are accounts in letters, diaries, and memoirs, as well as precious collections of photographs. This is a true treasure of those veterans’ life during those difficult times.
As you scroll down you see ‘View Stories A to Z’. This is by surnames of those veterans with items online, but this search is for all veterans of any time period. You can also search by military branches, states where the veteran came from or by a keyword. To get just those veterans of World War One go to ‘War and Military Branch’ and narrow down to WW I (1914-1920). Note even with the war ended in November 1918, many soldiers were still in service until 1920.
Once narrowed to WW I and a military branch you can search alphabetically. If there are any photos that will be listed, along with any journal, letters or papers. When items are handwritten there is also a transcription of the paper or document.
An example of a real great find would be a whole book or journal written by the veteran. One by John Joseph Brennan titled “My Own True Story of my Experience in the Army” is available and be so important in a family research project.
Not ever World War One veteran from the United States in on this project, again it is usually family members who have submitted the photos and documents. So here would be your opportunity to submit your great grandfather’s photo and any and all info of their military service. Here is the link for Veterans History Project to submit your ancestor (of any military service) to the Library of Congress.
Quincy C. Ayres- information card and Portrait of John Joseph Brennan.< Return To Blog