If you’ve been lucky enough to find military records connected to your ancestors or collateral family members, then you have realized what a find these records can be. Information generally available include vital statistics (height, weight, color of hair, eyes, complexion), an address, nearest relative, occupation and place of employment, date and place of birth, and more.
Most of these questions on these records were answered by the person in question so it is generally thought to be a Primary source, as opposed to a death record which is filled out by someone else about the person.
Part 1 of this series on “Gleaning Information from Military Records” concerns characteristics and the spelling of names about my paternal ancestors – the Amore family. Further articles will delve into occupations, addresses, places of birth, and other information that I was able to ascertain from these records.
Over the years, I’ve seen my paternal grandfather’s name as William Lloyd and Lloyd William. I know he always went by “Lloyd.”
I’ve also seen it spelled as “Loyd”. So when I ran across my grandfather’s WWI and WWII military draft cards, I realized what a find these particular type of records are. In his own signature, he writes his name: William Lloyd Amore or W. Lloyd Amore.
Signature on WWI Registration Card
Signature on WWII Draft Card
There – end of mystery. Why then did my grandmother (his wife) sign her name as “Mrs. Loyd Amore” on most things?
Did she not realize how her husband’s name was spelled? Maybe it wasn’t that important to her or to him that she get it right. To me it’s a sign not only of respect, but love, that you at least know how to spell your spouse’s first name. But that was a different time then. There were a lot of other things to worry about, I suppose.
From the military records I learned that my Grandpa Amore was short in stature (5’5″) and his eyes were blue. My father is a little taller than that. As I checked my grandfather’s brothers’ records I discovered striking similarities:
Clarence Amore (youngest of the 6 Amore brothers) was 5 ft. 6 1/2 inches tall and also had blue eyes.
Herbert (next to the youngest) was 5’8″ and blue eyes.
Roy (second oldest brother) was 5’7″ and had blue eyes.
Rollo (third youngest and next in line after my grandfather) was 5’6″ and had blue eyes.
Isaiah “Zade” (oldest brother) was listed as “tall” on his WWI Registration card (he was much taller than his brothers) and had blue eyes.
So I went back to look at my grandfather’s cousins’ military records.
Charles Cleveland Amore (Grandpa’s 1st cousin) was listed on his WWII Draft Card as 5’10″ and had gray eyes. However, on his WWI registration card his eyes were listed as brown.
Grover Amore (1st cousin) was 5’6″ and had blue eyes.
Leonard Studor Amore (half 1st cousin) was 5’9″ with blue eyes.
My conclusion was that most of the Amore men were of medium stature (under 5’9″) and blue eyes were predominant. They were all also listed as slender build (even the couple who were tall) and almost all of them had light complexion.
Charles Cleveland Amore didn’t write his name on his WWI Registration card. Instead, at the age of 34, he put his “mark”. Someone else signed his name.
On his WWII Draft Card at age 57, he did sign his name – although it is really difficult to read as it looks more like a child’s scrawl.
The deduction I make is that over the years, Charles (or Charley – as his signature seems to read), learned how to at least sign his name probably for business purposes or other personal reasons.
Can you get a clearer picture on similar characteristics of your ancestors that trickle down to you? What about a name that you’ve had difficulty determining exactly how it was spelled?
Stay tuned for Part 2!