EXPLORING THE DEATH RECORDS FOR WORLD WAR I
It has been more than 100 years since the U.S. entered World War I. Because of this anniversary, many people are beginning to investigate their World War I soldier’s history. A lot of people think all the records burned, as was the case with many World War II personnel files. While the fire did destroy some World War I files, there are still so many other records you can obtain.
Did you know that all soldiers, sailors, and Marines who died or are still considered Missing In Action (MIA) in World War I have a death record called a Burial File? This is the World War I equivalent of the World War II Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF). This is one file you want if your soldier, sailor, or Marine died during the war.
A couple of years ago on my WWII site, I wrote an article about U.S. Army Transports. These USAT transported both living soldiers and the dead. My great grand uncle, Michael Kokoska was one such soldier.
The Burial File contains information on a soldier’s death, temporary burial overseas, correspondence from the family, and final burial details. Michael Kokoska’s contains a lot of handwritten letters from his parents begging for word on his burial location and return of his remains. The letters are heart breaking.
There is also a document, written a year after Michael died, about the cause of his death. Is this really what happened? Perhaps. For now it is all I have to go on about the cause of his death. While Michael’s file was difficult and sad to read, it provided a lot of information on his service.
Would you like to know more about Michael and his life? In my book, Stories of the Lost, you can read Michael’s full story.
© 2019 Jennifer Holik
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