Using Search Tips for WWI Draft Registrations

Community Veterans' Memorial, Munster, Indiana (WWI Memorial)Searching World War I draft cards is significantly easier than before thanks to the online index at This is particularly true for those whose ancestors were urban dwellers or in cases where the residence is not known.

There were three separate registrations for the draft (with slightly different cards and questions) and all three are included in this database. More information on the various registrations, who they included, and what questions were asked can be found towards the bottom of the database search page.

Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at some search options. Continue reading

Kids and Family History, by Juliana Smith

Community Veterans' Memorial, Munster, Indiana (WWII Memorial)My daughter is out of school this week for spring break and one day when we took my husband to his physical therapy, I decided that rather than wait in the office doing my Sudoku puzzles while my daughter fidgeted, I would take her to a Veterans’ Memorial that is nearby. I had visited it the week prior and was taken with the displays and the vivid history that they depicted. Since it was a beautiful day, we got a nice walk and I got to sneak in a history lesson–and a little family history.

The memorial, located in Munster, Indiana, begins with the years leading to WWI and as you follow the path, year and event markers pave a timeline of the various conflicts. With each conflict, there are plaques with narratives, and for more information, you can push a button and listen to information about that conflict. The narrative explains the symbolism of each monument and gives more history.

I was very pleasantly surprised by her interest in each piece of history and as we visited each section, we talked about family members who were in or affected by each conflict. She was surprised to learn just how many members of our family had served. She didn’t remember that the Edwin Dyer (from the photograph of the Dyer children) died from the residual effects of gas poisoning in World War I; that my uncles served in Korea and that one of them, whom she has met, was shot in that conflict; and that her grandfather served as a Navy Seal in Vietnam. This gave her a greater understanding of these facts.

Of course, it also made me greedy for more experiences like it. With time flying by and summer vacation looming (yes, it’s only a month and a half away!), I thought I’d look at some other activities that might help to both keep her occupied, and develop her interest in history and in our family history. Maybe there’s a child in your family (big or little) who may enjoy some of these ideas. Continue reading

Your Quick Tips

Making a Game of It
For fun, I used to recite my ancestors, starting with the immigrant ancestor Thomas Porteous (he came to Vermont then Montreal circa 1785-1790), and name the subsequent direct-line, male descendants down to me. I would then ask one of the children on the spur of the moment who their great-great-grandfather was, and they would tell me. Then I would ask who his father was and his father too. I’m sure you get the idea. My children are now ages 28, 23, 22, and 16, and they know their Porteous direct-line ancestry as far back as we have been able to go. When children are young, make it a game and it becomes fun.

Glen Porteous
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Continue reading

New Way to Find What’s New at has posted a newly revised What’s New page to keep members apprised of recent and upcoming data and service updates on the site. The page can be found at or by clicking on the recent website additions link in the lower right corner of the home page (once you’re logged in).

Here you’ll find highlights of recently added data (and a link to a complete list of new or updated databases), upcoming databases, and links to new site tools and information on “Tools on the Horizon.” The page also includes links to articles with tips on getting the most from the site.  Bookmark this page and check back often so you can dive right in as new tools become available to help you in your family history quest.

Book and Movie Club: Schoolwomen of the Prairies and Plains

Here’s today’s book review. If you have a book that you think other family historians would appreciate knowing about, send it to: and we’ll add it to the collection.

The name of the book is Schoolwomen of the Prairies and Plains, by Mary Hurlbut Cordier, published 1992 by the University of New Mexico Press.  My mother went from Missouri to Montana as a school teacher in about 1916.  She was not mentioned in this book but I felt that it described her experience.  It was very interesting.

Ann Meisburger

Photo Corner: From Fell Family, Southam, Warwickshire, England

Schoolroom in Southam, Warwickshire,EnglandHere’s today’s photographs with a request for help: 

I have attached these two photographs which came from from my late grandfather, Bernard Reginald Fell, after he had died. One is of a Schoolroom in Southam, Warwickshire, England. The other one, a Wedding, just has Fell, Southam written on the back of it. I am tracing my Fell family tree and would love to be able to identify the photographs and date them etc. Please could you put them in the Photo Corner and ask if anyone can help.

Many thanks!Fell wedding in Southam, Warwickshire,England

Sheila Fearon,

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Telling a Tale, by Maureen Taylor

Got a story to tell? That’s what the StoryCorps wants to hear. It’s a national oral history project started by award winning radio producer Dave Isay.  Almost three years ago, Isay built a booth in Grand Central Terminal in New York with the aim to interview anyone and everyone. Now you can stop being nervous about interviewing Great-Grandma Ethel. The StoryCorps will help you. It’s a great way to keep those kids from driving you crazy on school vacation. What are you waiting for?

If you live near a StoryCorp booth or one of their mobile trailers is in your area then make a reservation and stop by with your Granny to see how easy it is. Go to their website, click on Participate, followed by Record an Interview and set up an appointment. In February StoryCorps began a six month 10 city tour. A list of cities being visited by their mobile studio is on their website. More than 5, 000 people have participated in the tour thus far. That’s a lot of tales. Continue reading