Using WWI Morning Reports on Fold3

Using WWI Morning Reports on Fold3

Those who have seen my lectures, read my books or visited my WWI Facebook pages know that Morning Reports have proven to be one of my favorite resources for researching an individual who served in the Army in WWI. The 1,748 reels of 35mm microfilm containing the Morning Reports for 1912-19 have been digitized and are now available on Fold3.

There reports are created by a company or detachment and contain the important details of the daily status of in the life of an Army company: where and how they traveled; names of those who joined or left the company; who was transferred to a hospital or sick in quarters;  names of those wounded or casualties; disciplinary actions; and promotions. Additionally you can the statistical information about the company for each day, including how many horses and mules attached to the company, both serviceable and unserviceable. This data was used to build other summary reports like the company histories that appear regimental histories. The rosters include the individual’s presence in a company. Individuals’ data would appear in their personnel file, but for those whose research soldiers whose files were burned, these are reports can assist in reconstructing those files.

Having these records online is a huge advantage for researchers. A trip to STL to view the reels in person was wonderful, but had to be planned in advance to be sure that the records and the equipment used to view them would be available. Most of our time had been spent in photographing and photocopying the records. Because of the viewing equipment, the photographs were not good representations of the cards, and the cost of photocopies was significant. Because of time limits, we had focused on Company B’s Morning Reports and other companies in the regiment only for September 1918 when members of the regiment participated in the Saint-Mihiel Offensive. Still, the records and the trip had been amazing. Now, from home or a local library, these records can be viewed and images of them can be downloaded without prior planning.

As I examined these records it was clear that a researcher might want to go beyond looking at the records of one company. The records of other companies of a regiment might fill in gaps left by other companies’ records. One example is how the 51st Pioneer Infantry Regiment ended the war. They traveled home on two different ships, and while the Morning Reports of Company B for July 1919 were not available at NPRC (and so cannot be found on Fold3), Company C’s Morning Reports  described how the other companies of the regiment that sailed on the USS Wilhelmina finished their service:

3 July Debarked from U.S.S. Wilhelmina at Pier 8 Hoboken N.J. About 11 AM. Boarded Ferry at Pier 3 arrived L.I. entrained at L.I. for Camp Mills, N.Y. Arrived Camp Mills about 3 PM.

4 – 5 July Camp Mills, N.Y.

6. July Marched from Camp Mills, N.Y. to Clinton Road Station about 5 A.M. entrained at station for Camp Upton, N.Y. arrived Camp Upton about 10.30 AM Turned in Equipment

Although you can search US World War I records for the term “morning reports” it is easier to access The U.S. Morning Reports Publication Page directly.

U.S, Morning Reports search page

Knowledge of using the index to find the reel numbers would be import if your plan is to browse the records. I did know the reel number for the 51st Pioneer Infantry, so I could browsed Category: Morning Reports, 1912-1939 then selecting Roll 0402. (Other detachments appear on other reels.)

Browse the records

This was cumbersome. Since this Fold3 Publication is 99% Complete at the time this blog post was written, I recommend using the search.

Search Results for 51st Pioneer Infantry Regiment

With over 2 thousand results this would be tedious to search. As you can see, each page of the Morning Reports is returned as a result. There will be several pages per month.

51st Pioneer Infantry Regiment Company B Search

There were only 634 Results, but many were not from the 51st Pioneer Infantry Regiment. They may have referenced the 51st Pioneer Infantry. (Putting the term “Company B” within quotation marks was ignored in the search box.)

51st Pioneer Infantry Regiment Company B Search

Whether searching for the Regiment or Company, click on a record for the organization you want to search to open it.

51st Pioneer Infantry Regiment Company B Results Image

Then click in the box with the navigation bread crumb trail (or just click on the down arrow at the end of the path). This opens the image in an image browser.

Image Viewer Breadcrumb Trail Window

This opens a pane to navigate to any of the Morning Reports for Company A.

Browse the collections

I was interested in Company B’s Morning Reports, so I select Company B, 51st Pioneer Infantry.

Browse to Company B, 51st Pioneer Infantry

This took me to where I could navigate to all the available Company B Morning Reports.

navigate to all the available Company B Morning Reports

I clicked on “Feb 1918” and can now see the images for this month’s Morning Report. There is usually a card inserted at the beginning of the Morning Reports for each Company’s that was used as a visual divider. (See Page 1 below.)

Navigate to Feb 1918 Morning Report

At the beginning of each month is a cover sheet. Pay attention to this, as it lists the company, regiment, month and year of the report. The information on this page tells us that prior to this month, the organization was 10th NY Inf NG (Infantry, National Guard).

Cover sheet for Company's Morning Reports

Some issues I encountered:

Some months were missing (They might be missing from the original reels.)

Some months that were missing were filed with a different year’s records. For example, one company’s Morning Reports for Jan 1918 also contained the Morning Reports for Jan 1919

Suggested strategy:

Navigate to the company of the individual you are researching using the search feature.

Find an image for the regiment, or best for the company and click on it

Use the bread crumb to open the navigation pane to select the company and month of the first Morning Report you want to view

Download the Morning Reports for each month the individual was with the company (I used a separate folder for each month)

Transcribe the entries relating to the individual you are researching, as well as the significant movements and events for the company to put together their story

Searching can be awkward, but by using a combination of searching, using the bread trails and the arrows in the image viewer, you can relive the events of a company (or other organization) during WWI.

For help with Fold3 features, such as downloading records, see the Fold3 Training Center.

Book Review: “History for Genealogists”

Book Review "History for Genealogists"
"History for Genealogists" book cover

When I envision a commercial for this book, it would have to be a full infomercial rather than a short spot between segments of a favorite program. Timelines are well known tools for genealogy, and are my go-to tool for unraveling mysteries. This book contains historical timelines and so much more. Ms. Jacobson gives context to the timelines, which in turn add context to the genealogical research of individuals and families.

Using history in our genealogy is that extra step to bring our research to a higher level by understanding our ancestors’ lives in the context of the world around them. It is common to hear others suggest going out on the web to find events to add to our timelines. How do you choose what to add? What timeline do you look at? Our ancestors made changes for a reason, and this book provides us with matter and timelines about the reasons motivating those changes.

Among the many things discussed in the book was the role of Europeans coming to the US to farm. Since my ancestors lived in cities, I had not previously investigated this topic in depth. Railroads received large grants of land from the federal government, and so set up a system for Europeans to purchase land and then travel to occupy it. More than transporting people, they had actually streamlined the process of coming to the United States.

The chapter about oral histories impressed me. It was a succinct but rich outline of how to conduct them. The author’s motivating words say it best: “Oral history can put the soul and flesh on the skeleton of a pedigree chart.” This quote applies to the intent of the whole book.

This book is a good starting place with historical timelines relevant to genealogical research. This book contains a timeline for the history of each state and the District of Columbia, from its first beginnings to the 1940s for most locations. The book expands to discuss other geographical regions around the world.

The chapters “Why Did They Leave,” “How Did They Go” and “Coming To America” were thought provoking. Brief case studies show the role of timelines in interpreting an ancestor’s life when viewing it in the context of a bigger history, or if too many events have been attributed to one individual. At all times we are reminded of the interconnection between different counties, and the fluid borders between countries, states and counties.

The 2016 Addendum by Denise Larsen is a separate part of the book, positioned after the original book’s timeline, bibliography and index. The Addendum covers the context and events of the early 20th century in the US up to post-WWII, followed by a timeline about fashion and entertainment.

I read this book cover-to-cover, and can recommend that approach to open a reader’s horizons. However, this book is structured so that it can be used by the chapter applicable to your current research question.

My recommendation is to have maps nearby when reading or using this book. Online maps would be a perfect accompaniment to use when comprehending the interactions between locations and their populations.

“History for Genealogists” provides key historical context and usable information for your research. It also lives up to its subtitle of “Using Chronological Time Lines to Find and Understand Your Ancestors.” As well as being a resource to support your research, it is a solid foundation to jump off from to dig deeper into the more detailed history of a place and time that you are researching. I can see this book being used to complement locality research, by introducing time and events to your research.

The book is available at Genealogical.com and other booksellers.

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher

This blog post is copyright ©2022 by Margaret M. McMahon, Teaching & Training Co., LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this post may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. All copyrights and trademarks mentioned herein are the possession of their respective owners and the author makes no claims of ownership by mention of the products that contain these marks.

New Offering: Member Survey plus Class

Blog Header - “Creating an Individualized Genealogical Educational Plan.”

We offer a new service!

Have you wanted to learn more about your society members current interests? We can help.

When booking the presentation “Creating an Individualized Genealogical Educational Plan,” We can work with your society to help you learn more about your members’ current interests.

Here’s what is included with the speaker’s fee:

  • Work with your designated society member to create a customized survey
  • Provide a link for society members to use
  • Provide a brief report, with suggestions about how to use the results

Here is a review from the Baltimore County Genealogical Society:

As always, our society meeting attendance is higher with any of Dr. McMahon’s presentations.  It is a reflection of how valuable the information she has to offer is in expanding ancestral research. Her latest guide, Creating an Individualized Genealogical Education Plan provides an introspective approach to research that is deeper than the traditional “to do” list.  With many societies and genealogy groups stepping up their outreach with more online content and lectures via zoom, the Educational Plan presentation is practical and essential for targeting your research goals. 

Contact us to book your society’s survey and talk!

The Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland

Blog Post - the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland

100 years ago at the start of the Irish Civil War, a fire at the Public Record Office of Ireland (PROI) in the Four Courts complex destroyed the Record Treasury, a repository holding seven hundred years of records.

Trinity University began the Beyond 2022 project to bring together historians and computer scientists to reconstruct the library in a virtual format. The project identified replacement documents then built a virtual archive using digitized images of the records that survived, duplicates of documents that survived in other locations and record substitutes. They used a database of what was stored on each shelf, bay and floor in the PROI in 1922. The records’ metadata, images and transcriptions are linked. Five years later, on the centenary, the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland (VTRI).

At the core of this effort is the National Archives Ireland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, The National Archives (UK), the Irish Manuscripts Commission, and Trinity College Dublin Library, and 70 other participating institutions from around the world.

VRTI officially launched on 27 June 2022. After five years of work, the project launched the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland.

Dublin Library (from Pixabay)

Visit the VRTI and search or scroll down to learn more. This is a free resource that will be available online permanently.

To learn more:

Visit the Virtual Record Treasury of Ireland

Virtual Reality Visit

“Seven centuries of public records brought back to life 100 years after Four Courts fire”

Beyond 2022 at The National Archives. What is it?

The Public Record Office of Ireland fire and the Beyond 2022 project

Biological Anthropology and Genealogy

Blog Banner Biological Anthropology and Genealogy

This past semester I decide to follow the archaeology course by studying more about anthropology. I took a course about Biological Anthropology (also known as Physical Anthropology). As a reminder, there are four branches of Anthropology, with the other three being Archaeology, Cultural Anthropology and Linguistic Anthropology. (See my blog post about Archaeology and Genealogy.)

Biological Anthropology is a course for gaining a deeper understanding of how humans came to be. It is also a course that provides a strong foundation for understanding DNA. Most genealogists have incorporated the use of DNA to some extent, and this was a major selling point of the class for me. The understanding of evolution taught during this course may be more than the average genealogists who use DNA as a tool need, but it was interesting to learn about our species’ ancestors and our recent hominin cousins. I found that understanding how ancient DNA relates to our DNA gave a deeper context. It was informative to learn the newer findings about Neanderthals and their culture, as well as Denisovans, and both of their contributions to our DNA.

Using DNA in our genealogy is complemented by learning about mutations, genetic drift, gene flow, population bottlenecks and founder effects build a strong background for understanding DNA in populations. Epigenetics covers the changes we make to our DNA over our lives, and how that might be passed on to future generations. These topics help us move forward in understanding more of the what is recorded in our DNA test results and comparisons with others. This is also the hardcore science when you are viewing mutations in YDNA or mtDNA. For people who like to understand the internal workings of nuclear DNA, how it forms proteins, and how the mitochondria work, this course sheds light on those topics as well.

For my final project, the Professor encouraged me to create a final project that was not in a report format. It was an interactive project that I created in about the Bioethical Issue: Use of Genetic Information. It is included case studies of biobanks, law enforcement use of consumer DNA testing and medical studies where consumers upload DNA. The additional step was to show the contribution of anthropologists to understanding and communicating the bioethical issues.

Cover Page for Bioethical Issue Project

The textbook we used was “EXPLORATIONS: An Open Invitation To Biological  Anthropology.” It is available for free online at https://explorations.americananthro.org   You can choose read the book online or download chapters. Chapter 3 discusses molecular biology and genetics, including genotypes and traits, DNA replication and the cell cycle, transcription and translation during protein synthesis. Chapter 4 discusses population genetics. A video for each chapter can be found at this YouTube playlist.

Biological Anthropology can help us to know and understand more about genetics as well as about our deepest ancestry.

What’s next for me? Hopefully I will be taking Cultural Anthropology in the Fall.

This blog post is copyright ©2022 by Margaret M. McMahon, Teaching & Training Co., LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this post may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. All copyrights and trademarks mentioned herein are the possession of their respective owners and the author makes no claims of ownership by mention of the products that contain these marks.

Book Review: “DNA for Native American Genealogy”

DNA for Native American Genealogy - Genealogical.com

When the esteemed Roberta Estes of the DNAeXplained Blog writes a book about DNA, there is a justifiable expectation that the work will be accurate, informative and definitive. Among Ms. Estes many accomplishments are launching the Million Mito Project and being a National Geographic Society Genographic Project affiliate scientific researcher. This is a very thoughtful book, intended to put actionable information in the hands of readers that will guide them through the process of learning about Native American genealogical research.

Determining Native American ancestry from DNA testing is not necessarily the easiest task. Ms. Estes takes the reader through comprehensive steps to examine how to work with ethnicity estimates, autosomal (atDNA) matching, mitochondrial (mtDNA) and Y DNA in identifying Native American DNA.

Part 1 is informative, containing an overview of the concept of tribal membership and asks readers to consider their goals for determining membership. Ms. Estes’ thoughts about cultural appropriation are well advised, and challenge each reader pursuing this research to think about the topic.

In Part 2 readers experience topics in ethnicity and population genetics. As both a professional scientist and genealogist the author is able to take readers as deep into genetic topics as they want to go. Her goal is for readers to understand the topics at a comfortable level, and she provides examples with clear illustrations.

Part 3 gives specifics about how to use the autosomal tools at major vendors in the search. The mitochondrial DNA portion of the book (Part 4) and the Y DNA portion of the book (Part 5) discuss the relevant ancient and modern haplogroups, sharing in detail which occur in Native American populations, and their tribal affiliations. These parts include maps of where the haplogroups are found. Part 6 is a roadmap and checklist which guides readers through the journey of investigating Native American ancestors through the use of DNA.

As with every book I review, I read this book from cover to cover. Given that my ancestors’ paper trails and our family’s genetic results show no indication of a Native American ancestor, a friend stepped in to help. His family history contains a story about an ancestor who was a member of a specific tribe, without any evidence. The story of this ancestor is currently unknown prior to a marriage that took place in Colonial America. He was willing to let me use his test results to see if any information could be found in his DNA that might potentially shed light on this family story, with his goal being genealogical information. The ancestor was not in his direct matrilineal or patrilineal line, so I turned to Part 3 of the book. Given how many generations back this ancestor had lived, the existence of identifiable regions of Native American DNA was doubtful. The history of the area suggests that the ancestor may have been a descendant of a tribal member rather than a tribal member, which lessened the chances of uncovering a segment.

My friend had tested on Ancestry, and then transferred his test results to FamilyTreeDNA, then had unlocked his autosomal transfer in order to use the ethnicity tools. First, I used the FamilyTree DNA myOrigins® (version 3) as shown in the book. As we had anticipated, his results showed 0% origin in the Americas. (His results also showed 0% Asian origins.) Opting in to Compare myOrigins® showed some interesting information for him to consider with his other matches. Part 3 also clearly walked me through the options within the Chromosome Painter to see a visual representation as well as how to view the locations of the chromosome segments. Next, the book took me through the features of using ethnicity information on Ancestry, with explanations about the Genetic Communities. Ancestry provided European matches, but no other traces of matching other parts of the world. Had Native American DNA segments been identified in my friend’s DNA, I would have known what to do next and how to do it. Although DNA may end up a part of the solution to my friend’s question about his ancestor, this family story will take more time and effort to prove or disprove.

Even though this particular case was not successful, there is clear value of this book to educate readers and  guide them through identifying the appropriate steps they need to take to research known and potential Native American ancestors through the use of DNA.

This book picks up where the theories end and your work begins. The book contains references to source material, including Ms. Estes’ DNAeXplained blog, for those who want to go deeper into learning about the topics that are presented. For those who want to incorporate genetic genealogy into their Native American genealogical research, this book will be a complete introduction and will also serve as a reference during the research process. Readers will find the haplogroup references to be very useful in their research. The completeness of this book truly is, as Ms. Estes describes it, a labor of love.

The book is available at Genealogical.com and other booksellers.

This blog post is copyright ©2022 by Margaret M. McMahon, Teaching & Training Co., LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this post may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. All copyrights and trademarks mentioned herein are the possession of their respective owners and the author makes no claims of ownership by mention of the products that contain these marks.