Family Tree Friday: Digitized World War II casualties lists on ARC
In the immediate aftermath of World War II, the Department of War and the Department of the Navy both published national lists of casualties for the U.S. Army and Army Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The intent was to disseminate the information to the general public in a timely manner, for the benefit of next of kin, and even with an eye towards the needs of veterans and patriotic organizations, who would–to quote the War Department–“find these lists of value in establishing or checking honor rolls in their communities.” The original publications are part of the large holdings of modern military records located at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, but they have also been scanned and can be viewed in digital form on the Archival Research Catalog (ARC).
The Army and Army Air Force casualties are published in World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel (Washington, DC: War Department, 1946). Booklets were prepared for each state, and are now part of the record series “World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel” (ARC ID 305276). The information was compiled by the Strength Accounting Branch of the Administrative Services Division, Adjutant General’s Office, War Department. The records are part of National Archives Record Group 407, Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1905-1981.
The booklets for each state are arranged by county and then alphabetically by name of the deceased. Information provided includes serial number, rank and type of casualty. The specific birthplace or residence of the deceased is not indicated. The booklets contained the latest and most complete data then available on all military personnel who were killed or died, or became and remained missing, between the President’s declaration of unlimited national emergency on May 27, 1941, and January 31, 1946, and included both battle and non-battle dead or missing. The complete work contains about 300,000 names of men and women who gave their lives while serving in the Army of the United States.
Casualties relating to the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard are published in State Summary of War Casualties (Washington, DC: Navy Department, 1946). This publication is part of the record series “State Summaries of War Casualties for the Untied States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard during World War II” (ARC ID 305185) and was created by the Casualty Section of the Office of Public Information, Office of the Secretary, Department of the Navy. The original publication is part of Record Group 80, General Records of the Department of the Navy, 1804-1958.
Also published by state, these lists identify those men on active duty with the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, whose deaths resulted directly from enemy action or from operational activities against the enemy in war zones from December 7, 1941, to the end of World War II. Casualties that occurred in the United States, or as a result of disease, homicide, or suicide anywhere are not included. Although not organized by county, the lists are arranged according to specific types of casualties, including Dead (Combat), Dead (Prison Camp), Missing, Wounded and Released Prisoners, and then alphabetically by name. The lists include the rank of the decedent, and the name, address and relationship of next-of-kin.
To access the digital versions of these lists, search the ARC ID number for the specific series, click on the title to the Archival Description, then select the link to “50 items described in ARC” on the Details tab. That action will load separate links to the publication for each state. Select your state of interest, then click on the Digital Copies tab to bring up the scanned images.