Documenting the stories of service and family relationships of those who served in World War I
Almost five million American families sent their fathers or mothers or sons or daughters to serve in the Armed Forces during World War One. Countless other families had members who supported the war effort in industry, farming, shipping, and many other fields. All those who served then are gone now, but the Commemoration of the Centennial of World War One is the nation's opportunity to make a permanent and comprehensive record of how and where those family members served, and what they did for the country, before the succeeding generations' memories of that service are lost forever.
The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission calls on the families of those who served to help tell the Stories of Service of their forbears and relatives one hundred years ago in our Stories of Service section. Click the "Stories of Service" menu button at left to see the many stories already submitted.
Many Americans are still alive who listened to their fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers, or mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers, tell the story of their service in World War One. This first-person knowledge will vanish with the passing of those individuals who heard those stories, so the time is now for family members to capture that precious but endangered information. Other family members will have knowledge of their forbears' service from letters, diaries, or other records, or from family stories regarding artifacts from the war. Click the "Submit a Story" menu button at left to use our Submit Stories of Service function to add this family history to the permanent record of the World War One Centennial Commission.
The Documenting Doughboys section and the WWI Genealogical Research Resources section of the Family Ties area of the WW1CC web site offer a wide range of resources to help you start your research on your ancestor or relative. Our free genealogy guide download is an excellent orientation on the many resources available to discover World War I service. You may also find our “Finding Your WWI Ancestors” webinar useful to view before starting your research.
For many men and women who served in World War One, there are no surviving family members to report their Stories of Service. So that their stories are not lost through this circumstance, the Commission asks other Americans to help discover those names and record that knowledge in the Commission's permanent record. School classes, scout troops, veterans groups, genealogical organizations, and other groups can research the names found on their community World War One memorials, or in their own records, discover what they can about those individuals, and use our Submit Stories of Service function to add that information to the permanent record. Organizations and institutions providing care for the elderly can be extremely important in this effort. Many retirement facilities and homes will have residents who have no families to record their memories of their forbears who served in the Great War. Interviewing such residents and entering that information in our Submit a Story of Service function will help rescue that soon-to-be-lost first-person data, and makes a great community project. Click the "Submit a Story" menu button at left to get started.
Those who served in World War One have left behind many artifacts and souvenirs of their experiences a century ago. Americans who no longer have a place to store or display these artifacts from their predecessors, but who want to preserve them as part of the historical record and the nation's public memory, will find a broad range of opportunities for and resources about finding new homes for old memories in our "Donate an Artifact" function. Click the "Donate an Artifact" menu button at left to use our Donate an Artifact function to find a permanent home for World War I artifacts.
The United States Navy Memorial's Navy Log is a lasting legacy of honor that tells the story of America's Sea Service veterans. Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine veterans from World War One are eligible to be listed in the Navy Log, but they are no longer with us to enter their information. If you know of a person who served in the Sea Services in World War One, click the "Navy Log" menu button at left to access the Navy Memorial site.
Families and others who need help or want information on how to get started on researching family history and World War One service can find links to extensive genealogical research resources, and "how to" information on our "Genealogical Resources" page. Click the "Genealogical Resources" menu button at left to get started.