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We Need YOU to Help Transcribe World War I Service Records! 

April 25, 2018 

Alabama History DIY

The Alabama Department of Archives and History has launched its first crowdsourced transcription project, and we want YOU to join the effort. 

Earlier this month, as part of its commemoration of the World War I Centennial, the Archives launched the Alabama History DIY: World War I Service Records initiative. Archives staff, volunteers, and student workers spent eighteen months digitizing more than 100,000 index cards with information about the men and women who served in the war. Details ranging from biographical (age, residence, race) to military (enlistment date, branch of service, engagements) make the records a boon to both genealogists and historians. Users of the Archives’ World War I Gold Star Database will find this an excellent supplement, as it also includes survivors of the war.

Now that the cards have been scanned, we are seeking volunteers to help us transcribe the information and create a new, searchable resource for our patrons. Anyone with an Internet connection can contribute, anytime, anywhere, as “virtual volunteers.” The steps are simple, the software (from Ben and Sara Brumfield, creators of FromThePage) is user-friendly, and the work is addictive—try to stop after one card. No special technical skill or subject knowledge is required. When you sign up, you’ll be given login information and a project guide with thorough instructions. Just read the guide, sign in, pick a county, and get started. 

The project was made possible through the generous support of the Friends of the Alabama Archives and the Alabama Genealogical Society, along with the state archives of Virginia, Indiana, and Missouri, who saw the benefit of the new features that we commissioned.

Though we have not set an official target date for completion, everyone has an eye toward November 2018. What better way to celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day than to present this collection as a tribute to Alabamians who served? 

To join the effort, contact Meredith McDonough at or visit 

Alabama History DIY is a program of the Alabama Department of Archives and History that provides do-it-yourself museum exhibits, virtual volunteer projects, and other resources to local organizations and individuals.