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World War I History Commission Questionnaires

Military Service Record and Nurses' Questionnaires submitted by WWI military and civilian personnel. Also includes content submitted by counties and cities such as draft board records, solider biographies, and military unit histories.

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World War I History Commission Questionnaires

Overview

On January 7, 1919, Governor Westmoreland Davis created the Virginia War History Commission. The Commission was tasked with completing a history of Virginia’s military, economic, and political participation in the World War. As part of this work, the Commission conducted a survey of Virginia veterans through the use of two questionnaires. The questionnaires were titled Military Service Record and Nurses' Questionnaire. This collection contains more than 14,000 records, each of which is linked to digitized images of the questionnaires and accompanying materials, such as photographs or other papers, submitted by the respondents. The photographs were scanned from the microfilm. Higher quality photographic prints or digital files may be obtained from the original photograph for a fee. Contact Archives Reference Services for more information.

The collection also includes content submitted by counties and cities, such as biographical sketches of soldiers, draft board records, and military unit histories. These catalog entries have the title "Miscellaneous Records" followed by the name of the county or city. Each entry provides a description of the content and lists the microfilm reel number and frames. The questionnaires and these additional materials were scanned from 60 reels of microfilm (Acc. 35156) held by the Library of Virginia. Further information regarding the Commission is available in the finding aid: A Guide to the Virginia War History Commission, 1915–1931.

Removed Questionnaires

In preparation for the publication of Virginians of Distinguished Service of the World War, the Commission removed all questionnaires from the collection for soldiers who had received citations, decorations, or other honors. A reference file was created that included these questionnaires, in addition to photographs; letters from the soldiers, family members, or next-of-kin; newspaper clippings; and certified copies of citations. This reference file has been microfilmed (Miscellaneous Reels, 4694–4701) and is available at the Library of Virginia or through interlibrary loan. The removed questionnaires are not included in the online collection.  Questionnaires do not exist for every soldier in the reference file, and in a few cases the only record is a copy of the soldier’s citation. 

Search Tips

  • Entries are searchable by name, city or county of residence, and race.
    • First names are listed as they appeared in the original documents and may be abbreviated (e.g., Wm. or Jos.).  
    • The index includes 3 options for race: "White,"  "Non-White," and "Not given". To limit search results to entries that list race as "White," enter "race: white" in quotation marks. 
  • The nurse questionnaires can be retrieved by using the word "nurse" as a search term.
  • Add the word "photograph" to limit results to records that include a photograph. 
  • Using quotes around phrases may return fewer, more relevant results.
  • Boolean operators OR, NOT and AND written in ALL CAPS may be used. By default, all search terms will be combined with the AND operator. To exclude terms, use the NOT operator before a term.
  • Wildcards can be used to find variant spellings or words. The question mark (?) will match any one character. For instance, "Ols?n" will match "Olsen" or "Olson". The asterisk (*) will match any number of characters (including zero). "Ch*ter" will match "Charter", "Character", and "Chapter", and "Temp*" will match "Temptation", "Temple", and "Temporary".

Revised February 2021