Western Michigan Genealogical Society
General Information about the Index
Department of Military Affairs
Shortly after the U.S. entry into World War I, the Daughters of the American Revolution in Michigan established a Homes Ties and War Records Committee. The purpose of this group was to preserve materials documenting the contributions that men from this state made overseas in defense of liberty. The chairwoman of the Committee, Mrs. Mable Colgrove Stebbins, suggested that her own D.A.R. chapter honor the soldiers from Barry County by preparing a permanent record of their personal and military histories. This proposal was so well received, and its execution so successful, that Mrs. Stebbins decided to try it on a state-wide scale. Accordingly, in November of 1918 she approached Governor Sleeper and asked him to support her plan. The Governor was receptive to the idea and, as chairman of the state's War Preparedness Board, he appointed Mrs. Stebbins director of an effort to compile a census of Michigan Veterans. A sum of $10,000 was allocated for the project, and administrators were appointed in each county to supervise the canvass of their respective areas. The state supplied the necessary forms, and these were distributed by churches, clubs, patriotic organizations, and other groups to all known participants in the War. In some instances enumerators even visited the homes in selected districts in an effort to find all individuals who had served with U.S. or Allied forces. The provided or gathered information was returned to the county offices, where the facts were typed in duplicate on cards and the forms arranged alphabetically by name. These data were kept in files and supplemented until around 1921, when the collections assembled by all counties were bound and distributed. One set of records was sent to Lansing for safekeeping, and the other kept at the local level. The volumes in this collection are the comprehensive series that was deposited with the state, Additional facts relating to the history of this enterprise can be found in RG57-24, boxes 16 and 17.
CENSUS OF WORLD WAR I VETERANS, 1917 - 1919, 87 feet. (373 volumes)
Records typically are two pages - a front and sometimes further information on the back giving information about the soldier, his date and place of birth, parents' names, and some details of his service. Samples of a record can be seen by clicking these links - front page - back page.
Copies of a record can be ordered for $5. Details are on the database search results page.
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Last modified by Roger on: March 05 2015 10:22 AM
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