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

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
17 June 2004

Finding that Needle!

You never know where you'll find a clue!

Last week's column included a tip for The John P. McGovern Historical Collections & Research Center at the Houston Academy of Medicine - Texas Medical Center Library on-line at: http://mcgovern.library.tmc.edu/. The website has several on-line books and databases.

One of my long-time readers, Sharloyn of Houston, wrote, "Thank you so much for the Dr. McGovern Library source. We have always considered our family member, Dr. John Hassell of Elkhart to have been a medical doctor; yet there was no documentation other than his headstone and our family information. And at the McGovern library they had the Polk directory on-line with clearly lists him. Thanks for the help."

What a great success story! Sharolyn thank you for sharing and inspiring others to reach out and try different or obscure resources. One of my favorite tricks when I'm have a dry-hole research day at the library is just to go to the bookshelves and just pull books off and look at the indexes and read the table of contents to see if there might be a clue or an interesting fact that I may have overlooked.

I can't tell you the number of times I've just randomly pulled a book off the shelf, without a clue that I'd find something about one of my families or research projects and hit a gold mine! Don't practice tunnel vision, think outside the box, look where you'd never think or consider looking.

Let me hear about your success stories! They can inspire other would be researchers!

WWII Army Service Numbers

The U.S. National Archives & Records Adm. (NARA) has placed on-line the "File Unit Title: Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938 - 1946" that contains information about nine million men and women who served in the Army and Army Air Corps (Air Force) in World War II. Sorry, no Navy or Marine Corps members are included in databases!

The databases are located at: http://aad.archives.gov/aad/series_description.jsp?series_id=3360&coll_id=null

This database contains the records of men and women who enlisted in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Air Corps (Air Force), including the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Although incomplete, the records contain data for a majority of the enlistments in the U.S. Army during World War II. There are some gaps in the information included. For a detailed explanation of the gaps, read the General Notes.

In general, the records contain the serial number, name, state and county of residence, place of enlistment, date of enlistment, grade, Army branch, term of enlistment, longevity, nativity (place of birth), year of birth, race, education, civilian occupation, marital status, height and weight (before 1943), military occupational specialty (1945 and later), component, and box and reel number of the microfilmed punch cards.

There are databases for regular service as well as reserves. One of the interesting inclusions in the database are the individuals who filed for Conscientious Objector.

First click on the RED SELECT button and then click on the RED SELECT button for the component, regular or reserve database. Then to find the various categories for each state, click on "Select from Code List" option on the right-hand side of the search box for "Residence State." Hint, do not put state name for example, Texas, Tex. or TX, the search engine is only looking for an alphanumeric number. The same goes for the Residence County field.

For example, the code for Texas is 85, the code for Texas Conscientious Objector is H5 and the code for Texas Limited Service is Q5.

You will need to search both databases, regular and reserves to locate your family members. This is a great tool to help us find these elusive military service numbers that are required to order military service records, military gravemarkers, etc.

One of the best features of this website is that once you have completed your search parameters, i.e., county and state or surname, you can download the file. The downloaded files can be easily opened using MS EXCESS software into a spreadsheet format that you can manipulate the information into various printouts or convert to place on-line.

I have abstracted all of the names for the men and women from Milam County, Texas and will have them shortly placed on-line on the Milam County TXGenWeb site. What a great addition to our county resources to have more information available to help individuals research our World War II veterans!


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 24 Sept 2004 and was last revised on __________

Copyright 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604