Coast Guard Enlistments April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918
By Constance Potter
"It is well to consider the advantages of a coast guard from a strictly military standpoint."-- Representative William C. Adamson of Georgia, 1915
Among the records of the Coast Guard (Records of the United States Coast Guard [USCG], Record Group 26) are two files that list men were in the Coast Guard from April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918. Both lists are in entry 82A, General Correspondence, 1910-41, Correspondence, 1910-35, 701. Compliments. One list is by state and the other alphabetically by the first letter of the last name.
The State-by-State Lists
The state list, the more complete of the two, lists the men by name only. It lists the men by the state of their home address (which may be found on the alphabetical list), not the state from which they enlisted. The names are in general alphabetical order by the first letter of the last name. There appear to be no enlistments from Arizona, Arkansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, or the territories of Alaska or Hawaii.
The Alphabetical List
The alphabetical list gives the man’s name; the state where he enlisted, and sometimes the town, or country; where he was born; and his home address. The home address includes the home town and state, and may also give the street address. If a man’s home address is another country, he will be on this list only. There are also men who enlisted from other countries; for example, Hidimiten Toyota, who enlisted in Seattle, was born in Japan and his home address is Japan.
Members of what appear to be the same family are listed together. The Lawrences were all from Neebish. Michigan:
The spelling between the two lists may not always agree. The Delaware list notes John Kambarn, but on the alphabetical list, he is down at John Kambern.
Requesting Copies of the Records
These records are not available online, but are held at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. To request a search of the records, either send an email to email@example.com or write to Archives1 Reference Section (RDT1R), National Archives, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20408. Include the name of the enlistee and the state where he lived when he entered the war. If known, please include the middle name or middle initial.
With this information, it may be easier to request copies of the Coast Guard World War I service records from the National Personnel Records Center (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138-1002 or go online at www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records.
Next article: Army service numbers
Constance Potter is a retired reference archivist. She worked at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC for more than 30 years.