"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 19 December 2002


Texas WWI Statement of Service Cards

Recently, I contacted Chris LaPlante, State Archivist, Archives & Information Services Division, Texas State Library & Archives about the storage conditions and access to the Texas World War I (WWI) Statement of Service Cards kept at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas.

During our exchange of e-mails, I requested the Texas State Library undertake to protect and preserve through these records through microfilming. Currently, the Texas Statement of Service Cards are kept at the Texas Military Forces Museum, Camp Mabry, Bldg. 6 in Austin, however, due to current world situations, public access to base is restricted and requires advanced security arrangements to get to the museum and the staff of the library is unable to undertake research to locate cards requested through written request.

Additionally, the WWI Statement of Service Cards are not kept according to archival or preservation conditions and are housed in WWI era rusty filing cabinets.

To show your support of the microfilming of these records and to thank Mr. LaPlate for undertaking to attempt this preservation effort, please write him at: P.O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711 or e-mail him at: laplante@tsl.state.tx.us.

The WWI Statement of Service Cards are very important because of the July 12, 1973 fire at the Military Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO which resulted in the destruction of approximately 16 to 18 million Army and Army Air Corps "Official Military Personnel Files" (also known as 201 files). The records affected are:

There were no duplicate copies nor were there microfilm copies of any of these destroyed military records. Further, there was no master index of individuals created prior to the fire. None of the records related to Navy or Marine Corps personnel were destroyed.

The 100th Anniversary of the beginning of World War I will occur in 2017. What will your great-great-grandchildren know about their family members who served in the "War to End All Wars" if the records were destroyed in the fire?

There are several sources for documentation of World War I military service. The best resource is the Statement of Service Cards, Muster-In Records and Bonus Applications. These two-sided 8" x 5" cards are similar to the information you would find on a compiled Civil War service record cards.

The U.S. Selective Service System, Senate Bill 2922 of the 67th Congress, Second Session, Jan. 16, 1922, authorized the Secretary of War to furnish to the State Adjutant Generals the Statement of Service Cards or Muster-In Records of those Officers, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines who enlisted from their state. Note, these cards were sent to the state of enlistment, not necessarily the state where the individual was living or was born.

These cards contain a wealth of information including the individual's military service number, where and what units of assignment, awards earned, dates of overseas service, injuries or wounds suffered, any disabilities, their declared dependants or next-of-kin, and if they died in service, the date, location and cause of death.

For information on where to write for other states, please see my website for a complete State Contact List http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-042.htm or send a self-address stamped envelope to my address for a photocopy of the list. It is important to remember that over time, these records have been transferred to various other state agencies and may no longer be in the custody of the State Adjutant General's Office.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 26 Dec 2002 and was last revised on __________

Copyright 1999, 2001, 2002 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604