My mother is from New Roads, Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, and has subscribed to her hometown newspaper, The Pointe Coupee Banner for many years. Back in September she shared an article that was written by local historian, Brian J. Costello. The article, part of a series, was written in recognition of the Centennial anniversary of World War I ¹. In it, Costello recounts the “rally day” held on August 26, 1917 in New Roads at which time the parish bid farewell to its departing soldiers. The rally, parade, and celebration was sponsored by the Pointe Coupee Chapter of the American Red Cross and other local organizations. The other organizations were the Woodmen of the World Camp 271, the Woodman Circle, and the Knights of the Maccabees. He lists information about parish residents who volunteered or were drafted to serve, where they were from, where they served, and if they were a casualty or survived. Costello, explains how this information was compiled by Simeon “Sim” Parent, the secretary of the local Red Cross chapter and can be found in two volumes compiled during the war and immediately afterward , “World War Record for the Parish of Pointe Coupee and Home Service Section Records of the Pointe Coupee Red Cross Chapter”. Ironically, my grandfather and his future wife and family would go on to live on Parent street which undoubtedly was named after this man’s family.
As I read this article, I was clued into a few new sources of genealogical records- local chapters of the American Red Cross and of course hometown newspapers.
Listed among those from the parish who served in the war effort was my maternal grandfather, Albert Nelson, Wagoner ,Casual Company, 27th Supply Company, 350th, Field Artillery ;Battle of Argonne Forest, France. After a major Army reorganization , Albert Nelson would end up in a support company in the 92nd Division. In his personal diaries he writes about being trained in Camp Upton. He was one of approximately, 370,000 African Americans who participation in World War I.
A few years ago I came upon the application for Albert Nelson’s headstone marker.² I compared the two sources of information They contained pretty much the same information. This made me wonder if the Red Cross records could have been a source of information for headstone application.
So be sure to check with the genealogical and historical societies, libraries, and of course the Red Cross Chapter where your ancestor or relative resided to see if there might be information about veterans that you are researching.
Here are some links for additional information.
I want to thank the men and women who have sacrificially served this country and the staff of the Pointe Coupee Banner for providing me with extra copies. Oh, and by the way, with regard to the soldiers in the featured image on this post, the soldier on the right is my grandfather, Rev. Albert Nelson.
¹Costello, Brian J. “Centennial of World War I: Part One of Two” The Pointe Coupee Banner [New Roads, LA] September 7, 2017
²Ancestry.com. U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1941. Microfilm publication M1916, 134 rolls. ARC ID: 596118. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Record Group 92. National Archives at Washington, D.C.
Applications for Headstones, compiled 01/01/1925 – 06/30/1970, documenting the period ca. 1776 – 1970ARC: 596118. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.