By Eric Durr, New York State Division of Military and Naval AffairsMay 28, 2014
NEW YORK - The names of more than 37,000 New Yorkers who gave their lives during World War II can now be searched online thanks to the New York State Military Museum and a dedicated cadre of volunteers.
The information can be viewed online here:
It can also be downloaded into a searchable Excel spreadsheet.
A typical entry includes the servicemembers name, service number, branch of service, how they died--killed in action, non-battle death or died of wounds-- the date they died, where they are buried and in some instances next-of-kin information. There are no service numbers available for Navy and Marine Corps deaths.
A researcher seeking to find New Yorkers who died on D-Day, June 6, 1944, for example, can identify servicemembers who died on that date to begin their search.
The two source books for information on World War II deaths - the Army's World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing and the Navy's State Summary of War Casualties-can be viewed online as a PDF at the National Archives website. But those documents are not searchable and the names are not available in a digital format, said Jim Gandy, the Assistant Librarian and Archivist at the New York State Military Museum.
Both lists of missing and dead Soldiers and Sailors were compiled and printed by the government in 1946. The Army's book includes names for members of the United States Army Air Force, which later became the Air Force. The Navy book includes names of Marine Corps dead as well as Coast Guardsmen.
The 31,215 New Yorkers who died while serving in the Army and the Army Air Forces accounted for 10.10 percent of all Army casualties. During World War II New York contained 10.4 percent of the American population.
Of the New Yorkers who served in the Army and Army Air Forces, 2.81 percent were killed, died in a combat zone or went missing.
There were 6,270 New Yorkers who served in the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard who died during World War II. The Navy casualty list also includes 6,786 sailors who were wounded and 135 who were taken prisoner.
Because the books were in a PDF format it takes people doing family research more time to find the information they want, Gandy said. Plus, the Army's list of war dead is organized by New York counties. If a researcher doesn't know the county the Soldier was from it takes much longer to find the information, he explained.
To use this data base, a researcher only needs the last name of the Soldier or Sailor they are seeking.
As a librarian and archivist at the Military Museum he spends a lot of time helping people track down data for family histories and genealogy research, Gandy said.
By putting this data on line, the museum makes it easier for people to find what they are looking for, he said.
In May 2013 a team of nine volunteers started going through the Army and Navy casualty books and inputting the information contained there on the 43,254 New Yorkers who are listed in the Army and Navy casualty counts..
They also used cross indexed this information with the American Battle Monuments Commission website to include data on where the servicemember was buried.
Taking part in the project were:
• Mia Bango, Siena College, New York ;
• Rick Bennett, Stokesdale, North Carolina;
• Dawn Farrar, Malta, NY;
• Greta Hamilton, Indiana;
• Col. Jack Kennedy (USA Ret.), Elfers, Florida;
• Mike Mansir, Ballston Spa, NY;
• John McCarty, Waterford, NY;
• Bruce Scott, Selkirk, NY;
and Sean Sullivan, Queensbury, NY.
Many of these volunteers participated in earlier projects in which information was published on the Military Museum website.
In 2010 volunteers scanned 17 books published by New York between 1893 and 1906 to create a PDF listing of basic information of the 360,000 New Yorkers who served in the Civil War.
Volunteers also digitized the names of 13,025 New York State Militia officers who served prior to 1858. The Militia was the precursor to the New York National Guard, which was the first state militia in the country to use that name.
Another group of volunteers produced a database of 23,315 New York National Guard members who were awarded the New York National Guard Long and Faithful Service Medal between 1894 and 1963.
Finally the data contained on 28,969 index cards - one for every member of the New York National Guard who was mobilized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940-has also been turned into a digital and downloadable file. To prepare the United States for a possible war with Nazi Germany the president called National Guardsman across the country to a year of active duty as a quick way to double the size of the United States Army.
This kind of information is used by amateur genealogists to help build complete family histories, or by anybody trying to do historical research, Gandy said.
The New York State Military Museum, located in Saratoga Springs, is administered by the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs. The museum holds New York military artifacts dating back to the Civil War as well as books , photographs and historic weapons.