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How do I find out if my ancestor served in WWI?

How do I find out if my ancestor served in WWI?

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 3:41AM GMT
Classification: Query
Surnames: Robertson
My g-grandfather was Leo Golden Robertson, born 25 Sep 1897 in Georgia. I was just going through the 1940 census and found him and his family. He was one of the two people to have more information taken from them on the bottom of the census form. On this line, he (as the informant) stated that he was a wartime veteran with 1 year of service. On the 1930 census, he is NOT listed as a veteran. I would like to know if there is any way I can find out for sure if he served. His draft registration card is from Sep 1918, and he was single with no children at that time. I asked some of his surviving children, and they've never heard whether he served or not (they were a very private family). It seems odd to me that he would tell the census taker that he was a veteran if, in fact, he was not. Is there anything I can do?
Thank you.

Re: How do I find out if my ancestor served in WWI?

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 8:22AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 16 Jul 2012 6:03PM GMT
It could have been messed up by the enumerator in 1930 when the Census was being taken. The easiest way is to do a military search right here. More info you provide. The more you might get back. He might have served only one year. We were not in the mix very long.

You should also check with NARA on line and see what kind of info you can get from them. They also have local offices in some areas. A lot of the records were destroyed in a fire in 1967 or 1970. It was very true of WW1.

You should also give your local VA a call. They are generally listed with the county for smaller areas. You are generally talking to a veteran and they generally as a rule are very helpful. You could also go down and visit them personally. A face to face personal appointment is always better than a telephone if you can.

In ref. to WW1 we were only in it for a couple of years and that is overstating it. Some people went over and they were back in a year. It did not mean that it was not costly. We lost a lot of men and like war always is. Even if you come back. What kind of shape are you in when you come back. Do you have all of your bodily functions and limbs to make it functional or is your mind still in tact to think with. Did the mustard gas stay with you for the next twenty years or did it kill you later with cancer.

Your relatives might not know; because it is according to what he saw and if he didn't live it every moment after he got out.It is especially true when you try to asleep and when he was awake also. No one generally wants to talk about it; because it is too painful and the memory of the faces To see your buddies lower half no longer there. No war is short. It is according to what you saw and lived every day. That is why no ones knows about his service. He probably just didn't talk about it.

The English and the French and other European countries were in it since 1914. Some of our men served time in Russia after the war was officially over along with a few other countries. Most all the allies contributed in Russia after the war was officially over.

Re: How do I find out if my ancestor served in WWI?

Posted: 22 Jul 2012 3:05AM GMT
Classification: Query
A death certificate for 1961 should have a box asking if Veteran. I have seen Yes, No, or Branch typed in.
He filed WWI Card in Onocee County but he was not in their list of the Soldiers Discharges Index 1914 to 2001.

To look at other counties for sources of records:

Try local newspapers where lived 1918 to 1919 as they had lists of men that enlisted and returned home.

You also might try the GA National Guard, could be he enlisted with them and the war ended before unit was "Federalized" and never left the states. If the National Guard Unit was not Federalized then there will be no records at the NARA only at the State Archives or GA Guard records storage. Also 1930 does ask if serves in U.S. Armed or Naval Forces and NG was not considered "U.S." but a State Militia, unless "Federalized"
By 1940 NG service could then have been considered "United States". So box 39 has "yes". What is in box 41? Should be an W or S or SW or R or Ot.

Great WWI Site:

The 1973 Fire at the NARA did destroy about 80% of Army/Army Air Corp/Air Force records from Spanish American War to early 1960's. Navy, Marine and Coast Guard were not affected as they were not stored there then.

Re: How do I find out if my ancestor served in WWI?

Posted: 22 Jul 2012 3:49AM GMT
Classification: Query
Box 39 = yes
Box 41 = W
Box 42 = either a 1 or an I.

He's listed on the census for Africa, Spalding, Georgia, ED# 126-18 page 12 of 20. His name was transcribed as "Les G. Roberson". I tried to edit the names, but the incorrect still shows up without my corrections.

I just sent an email to the History Office of the GA National Guard. Hopefully, they'll be able to tell me something.
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