I’ve found one of the best ways to search what is available on Fold3 is to search within the records of a particular conflict. I wrote a little about this concept in my WWII article, Combining World War II Research on Fold3 With Your Ancestry Family Tree on this blog in April 2016. The same idea applies whether we look at WWII or WWI or any other conflict on Fold3.
Looking at the available World War I records on Fold3, we see a lot of British records, which include the Canadians and Aussies. There are not as many American records. We were however, only in the war a brief time.
Using the concept of searching within, I discovered resources I didn’t know existed. Rather than searching for a specific name, I look at the various publications available within World War I records. When we explore this way, we may find resources created for other states or soldiers that may apply to our soldier. For example, you will find a publication called Connecticut WWI Service Rosters which are sorted by town. The link here takes you to Avon county which pulls up a sheet of information on men from the town.
What kind of information do we find here that is useful for our research?
- Service number
- Home town
- Induction location
- Units in which served
- Discharge (and whether or not it was honorable)
- Wounds or death
- Campaigns in which they participated
This information is an incredible starting point for anyone with a soldier from Connecticut who had little to no prior information. Have you checked to see if your state created a registry similar to this? If nothing is published online, check with your state archives, state historical society, and state library to start.
Did your family member serve in the Armed Guard? There are Rendezvous Reports Index Cards. You can view the one for Dan Jackson Babb which provides ship and station information with dates.
I wrote an article called U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939, that discusses Ancestry’s passenger lists for both living and dead service members. Fold3 has a publication called U.S., Army WWI Transport Service, Passenger Lists, which do not seem to contain actual lists, but do contain a lot of information about the transports. You can choose incoming or outgoing ships and review their numerous documents. Looking at the USAT Wheaton, the ship my great grand uncle Michael Kokoska was repatriated on after the war, I found some interesting documents. You can combine both document sets and learn a lot about the ship(s) your soldier was on board.
There are many other American World War I Publications on Fold3. Take a look at what’s there. But before I end this article, you might pay particular attention to the publication, WWI Panoramic Photographs. While Michael Kokoska’s 32nd Infantry Division 127th Infantry Regiment photograph was not part of this collection, the 126th Infantry Regiment photo is. Take a look and then search for your soldier’s unit within this collection to see what you can discover.