The Great War: A Guide To The Service Records Of All The World’s Fighting Men And Volunteers

Those born at the outbreak of World War I are now nearly 100 years old. There are only a handful of people left in the world who would have been old enough to have a solid recollection of the time. Those who fought, served, and volunteered during this time have become our past. They are no longer the parents and grandparents we can interview. Now, they are like most of our ancestors, whose stories come from records, from family tales, and from all the details that can be extracted through research. For those who served in the war, as soldier, as nurse, or in any other armed or volunteer service position, records are available, their story awaits to be uncovered.

The Great War: A Guide to the Service Records of All the World’s Fighting Men and Volunteers was produced to help us, the descendents, find out fighting participant ancestors, regardless of which side or country they fought for. These records, like the war, span the world. Some two dozen countries were involved in the fight, but nearly every country in the world felt the effects of war. The records covered in this guide are often missed or neglected by researchers.

“With help from dozens of individuals and institutions throughout the world, in particular from libraries such as the Army Pentagon Library, the Navy Department Library, the Library of Congress, the Family History Library, the Hoover Institute (Stanford University), the Public Record Office (England), and the national archives of at least a dozen countries, the author (Christina K. Schaefer) has managed to compile a guide to WWI service records that is not only unique but totally comprehensive. She has taken a mountain of material and cut it down to size, transforming an unwieldy body of sources into a streamlined archive. Her pioneering efforts will save researchers untold hours of toil, adding limbs to family trees and providing opportunities for further research.”

The book is broken into three parts. First, a general history providing background information on military organization in 1914, along with a time line of significant events between 1914 and 1918. The second part of the book takes a country by country look into each country’s initial involvement in the war, the available military records, and where the records are located. The final section covers casualties and prisoner-of-war records. The author notes, that more recent country boundary and name changes means researchers may need to examine the archives of several countries to find the records they seek. There is also and appendix with a glossary of abbreviations, Internet addresses, and bibliography.



Table of maps and illustrations


The History

  • Research tips
  • Time line

The Countries

  • Australia and New Zealand
  • Austria-Hungary
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada and Newfoundland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • Greece
  • India
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • The Ottoman Empire
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • The Russian Empire
  • Serbia and Montenegro
  • South Africa
  • The United States
  • The Neutral Countries
  • Aftermath
  • Casualties and prisoners of war
  • New countries

4. Appendix

  • Information on the Internet
  • Glossary and abbreviations
  • Selected bibliography



The Great War: A Guide to the Service Records of All the World’s Fighting Men and Volunteers is available Family Roots Publishing.

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