Course #1: Advanced U.S. Military Records & Research: World War One

Instructor: KB Barcomb
Dates offered: Tuesdays, 18 & 25 Oct, 1 & 8 Nov (15 Nov optional)
Time: 6:00-9:00pm ET, 3:00-6:00pm PT
Cost: $300
Registration: 8 August-14 August

This course focuses on developing a detailed understanding of select WWI military records and applying advanced analytical skills to their collective content. Attendees will learn how information that initially seems confusing or in conflict can actually guide us to a richer understanding of an ancestors’ WWI experience. Attendees will also be introduced to a variety of War Department and Navy resources that can further enhance their research and analysis. A variety of case studies will be used to provide examples of the analytical nuances discussed. Attendees receive hands-on application of the course material via in-class exercises, homework, and additional case studies. 

Records to be discussed include those related to:

∙  the Selective Service process (i.e., draft cards, classification lists, report to military duty rosters)

∙   military training and service (i.e., WWI service cards, VA master index cards, morning reports, muster rolls and rosters, Army Troop Transport Service (ATS) passenger lists)

∙   other records such as naturalization documents, state bonus applications, burial records, & headstone applications.

Skills Based Requirements:
High intermediate to advanced skills in genealogical methods. Basic familiarity with Internet Archive and Hathi Trust. Basic familiarity with accessing U.S. statutes and legislation. (The Library of Congress Law Library presents a free webinar on searching U.S. Federal Statutes several times a year.)

Website Subscriptions:
An account at FamilySearch and access to Ancestry is required.  Having access to Fold3 and various newspapers sites is beneficial, but not required.

Course Outline

Session 1:

  • Introduction and course overview
  • Lecture: “The Value of Understanding the WWI Selective Service Laws & Process”
  • In-class exercise
  • Lecture: “Selective Service: Records Content & Analysis”
  • In-class exercise
  • Homework: Analyze a specified registrant’s records and establish a timeline.

Session 2:

  • Homework review and discussion
  • Lecture: “Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Assembling a Service Outline”
  • In-class exercise
  • Lecture: “Navigating Morning Reports, Muster Rolls, & Rosters”
  • In-class exercise
  • Homework: Analyze select records. Expand timeline. Scavenger hunt.

Session 3:

  • Homework review and discussion
  • Lecture: “Camp Life and Training: Mining a Rich Load of Resources” (Includes discussion of nuances pertaining to immigrants and Black Americans.)
  • In-class exercise
  • Lecture: “Service Over Here & Over There: A Deeper Analysis of the Records” 
  • In-class exercise 
  • Homework: Analyze select records. Expand timeline. Scavenger Hunt.

Session 4:

  • Homework review and discussion
  • Lecture: “Resolving Conflicts and Filling in Gaps” 
  • In-class exercise
  • Lecture: “Life After Service: The VA, State Benefits, and Veteran Legislation”
  • In-class exercise
  • Homework: Optional WWI mini-case study of student’s choosing.

Session 5 (Optional):

  • Sharing of optional mini-case studies.