New World War I Records Online: Dead Rosters

Rae Gifford Digital Archives, History, Research

Archives Month is here again and this year we are focusing on the centenary anniversary of the end of the First World War. With that in mind, we will be posting weekly blogs discussing the war related records in our collections that we have digitized for online access. (Previous Posts: 145th Field Artillery Scrapbook, WWI Service Questionnaires, & Draft Board Registers)

Guest post by Archives and Records Service archival technician Avalon Snell.  

The task of creating an all-encompassing history of the World War in Utah was started by the State Council of Defense in 1916. After the Council was dissolved at the end of the war, that task was assigned to the Utah State Historical Society. Those records consist of everything from draft to death, and now make up our “WWI Records” series. One portion of this series is a group of documents which we have nicknamed the “dead rosters.” These documents are a complete record of Utah deaths during service. Organized by military branch, these rosters contain a wealth of knowledge not just of a soldier’s death, but also their life. Listing information such as full name, place of birth, cause of death, and next of kin, the dead rosters are great genealogical records as well as military records. Also listed are a soldier’s rank, assignment, and enlistment dates.

A list identifying navy soldiers who died during the conflict, their home towns, date of death,  location of death.

Roster of Navy Death Locations, Utah State Historical Society, World War I Records, Utah State Archives and Records Service, Series 6307

Processing such documents may seem routine or mundane to some, but to others it may be an emotional experience. While indexing the death registers of Utah veterans, we came across a mother who lost not one but two sons in the same week. Nettie Lockhart’s sons, George and Dan, entered the Marine Corps together on August 8, 1917. They sadly came home together as well after both died in combat. Dan was killed June 3, 1918, and George just a week later on June 11. Their story is just one of the many stories that can be garnered from these rosters. View these rosters online now.

Also, our LAST Archives Month Brown Bag Lunch will be held next Wednesday at noon! Join us on October 31 for “Sugar Panic Saturday: Sugar rations and sugar hoarding in Utah during World War I” with Steve Thain. It is also the Archives Halloween Party, so feel free to come in costume and bring your favorite candy to share!

We hope to see you next week!