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Learning about your local WWI generation



Researching your community 100 years ago

Your local library, archivist or historical society is most likely your best resource.  However, you may be able to find useful sources online.

TIP: When searching for World War I, enter it as "World War I " (with quotes; note the space after the I).  This will help filter out content from World War II.  If searching for early post-war sources, remember that it would have been called "The World War," "The Great War,"  or simply "The War."

  1. The database at includes a large number of county histories. Many of these histories were written in the 1920s, and include information about the county's World War I history as well as what it was like at the turn of the century (1900s).  We have found that using Google to search this resource is more effective than its native search. 

    Using Google, enter the following search terms (including quotation marks):

    site: "your county" 

  2. The Library of Congress has gathered numerous newspapers from communities around the country into its Chronicling America searchable database.  Make sure you set the date range to the appropriate dates:


Finding names and stories of local individuals who served in WWI

If you wish to include individual profiles in your Who They Were narrative (Question/Section #11), the following information may be helpful in identifying individuals and learning about their service.

TIP: Some resources will include or guide you to both individuals' names and service information.   Other resources will only provide a name and very basic information (such as hometown); after you have identified an individual, you will need to use their first and last name to search within other resources.

  1. See if any local World War I memorials list the names of those who served or died in the war.

  2. Many American Legion posts and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts are named after World War I veterans.  See if there are any in your community.

  3. Try searching inside these books, which lists a large number of men (not  complete lists) who served in the war.  (Search for the name of your town, city or county)

  4. Explore the following state and local resources by searching for your community's name (or by searching for names of individuals who served).

    Please note: Some of these resources will have lists of the war dead only, others will include all service members.  Also, some are simply lists of names, while others have more detail about where and how these individuals served. Also, many county histories include rosters and information about local World War I service members .  Refer to the Researching your Community 100 Years Ago section above to learn how to look for these histories at



State, County and Local  WWI Service Records/Rosters/Resources

"Pershing" Donors

$5 Million +

Founding Sponsor
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The Lilly Endowment