Saturday, July 1, 2017

South Carolina WWI research: a selection of new and old resources.

As the world honors the sacrifices of World War I Richland Library has recently finished indexing a new World War I resource so this is a good time to look at other valuable WWI resources for SC research. 

1. The 19th regiment was an all-black unit formed on July 28, 1918 at Camp Jackson in Columbia, SC. The unit disbanded December 3, 1918 following the Armistice.  History of the 19th regiment Field Artillery Replacement Depot Camp Jackson, S.C. by its officers and men, 1918, includes a roster of about 3000 men and officers.  The roster includes name, rank and hometown of most of the enlistees.  Some of the enlistees do not have their hometown listed and some do not have their rank listed. It’s kind of potluck! Most of the enlistees who do have a hometown listed are from the southeast including Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina but there were some from as far away as Indiana.  We were not able to digitize the complete history as the only copy is in a library in Fort Sill, OK.  The Fort Sill librarian was not willing to loan the book to us for digitization. However, thanks to the Fort Jackson Basic Training Museum we were able to obtain a photocopy that we used to transcribe the names of the men who served in the 19th regiment. It is located in our Indexes of Local History and Genealogy collection.

2. Another important resource for researching South Carolina World War I soldiers is The official roster of South Carolina soldiers, sailors and marines in the World War,1917-18. This resource provides an alphabetical listing of South Carolinians who served in WWI. Volume 1 covers white soldiers and volume 2 documents black soldiers. The published information includes birthdate, hometown, enlistment date, discharge date and rank. Even better, this resource is now available online.  Don’t count on the search field for hits just go directly into the resource and search with your eyes!   

3. Because the service records of WWI soldiers were destroyed in a 1973 fire the Final Payment Vouchers record group has become an important tool for reconstructing those lost files. While researching a southern WWI black serviceman I requested his final statement voucher from the St. Louis regional archive. The file provided me the information that led me to the 19th regiment, info above. It also included the soldiers rank and his hometown, in this case, Florida. This record group is not indexed or digitized but it was a well spent $25.00 for the information I received. 

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