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World War I, Service Cards

What information can I find in this collection?

This collection consists of index cards to World War I veteran bonus payments, covering the years 1921-1932, for Michigan veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces between 6 April 1917 and 1 August 1919. Each card may include:

  • soldier’s name
  • address
  • army service number
  • race
  • place and date of induction
  • place and date of birth
  • rank
  • training camp
  • assignments and transfers
  • battles and engagements
  • overseas services
  • date of discharge
  • disability

How do I search this collection?

You can search this collection by the family name (last name or surname), given name (first name), birthplace, army serial number, city, county, state, and birth date.


You can search for individuals in this collection by family name, given name, or both.

If the name you are searching for has alternate spellings or if you are unsure of the correct spelling, use a question mark (?) at the exact spot where you are unsure of the spelling. The search results will include all results with all letters available for that single spot. For example, using “sm?the” would return results for both smithe and smythe.

If you want results for different variations of a name, use an asterisk (*) at the end of the term where spelling starts to vary. This type of search is called a truncation search. It will include all results with the exact spelling up to the asterisk (*), and results with any additional letters after the exact spelling. For example, searching for “Smi*” will return results for Smith, Smithe, Smitt, and other words that begin with “Smi”.

Army Serial Numbers

You can search by the army serial number. Only use whole numbers in this field.

The army serial number is an official designation and used to identify service members in all documents. The U.S. Armed Forces began using this system during World War I but discontinued it in favor of social security numbers in 1969. For more information about serial numbers, check out the Identifying Military Personnel: Decoding Serial Numbers article on Fold3’s HQ blog written by Michael Strauss (published February 27, 2023).


You can search for records by birthplace. Entries in this field are not consistent. Entries can be listed as a city, a county, a country, or a combination. Some examples include “Russia” or “Wisconsin” or “Detroit Michigan”.

City, County, or State

You can search for records by city, county, and/or state. Fill in the place name, such as “Barry” or “Detroit” in the appropriate field. On these forms, the city, county, and state refer to the individual’s residence.

Birth Date

You can search by an individual’s birth date. Whether searching for a year or a day, select the day before and after your timeframe. For example, if searching for 1904, select 12/31/1903 and 01/01/1905.

How can I browse this collection?

This collection is primarily organized by branches of the military including army, marines, and navy. Within each branch, cards are grouped alphabetically by family name (surname or last name).

For example, within the “Army” folder you can find a folder entitle “WWI Veterans Personnel Cards, Coleman, A. – Conzett.” The folder title indicates that people whose family names fall alphabetically between Coleman (given names starting with A) through Conzett can be found in this folder.

Once in a folder of family names, individual cards can be found. The family and given names are listed as part of the title for each card. For example, within the “Army” folder, in the “WWI Veterans Personnel Cards, Coleman, A. – Conzett” folder you can find a card entitled “WWI Veterans Personnel Card, Conway, Herbert. By selecting this card, you can view Herbert Conway’s personnel card along with its description.

Please note that folders of family names and individual cards will not currently be listed alphabetically. Staff at the Archives of Michigan are aware of this issue. We are working re-indexing all collections on Michiganology so folder contents and search results can be sorted alphabetically.

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What’s the story behind this collection?

On 15 June 1921, the Michigan Legislature passed an act that provided “for the payment of a bonus to persons who served in the army, navy, or marine forces of the United States during the late war with Germany and Austria.” To qualify, one had to have been a resident of Michigan serving in the military at any time between 6 April 1917 and 1 August 1919. The reward for this service was $15 per month for each month spent in defense of the United States.

Given the near-total loss of the World War I-era federal service records in the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri, state-level collections of World War I material – like this one – are critically important and can serve as an effective substitute or alternative for the missing federal records.

This World War I bonus card project represents a continuation of a Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) of Michigan legacy project. The DAR of Michigan first led the effort to enumerate a census of Michigan veterans in 1923. The resulting Census of World War I Veterans (Archives of Michigan record group 78-92) totals 373 volumes and represents an incredibly significant historical and genealogical resource.

With this World War I bonus card project, the DAR of Michigan saw an opportunity to engage in and continue the proud legacy of their organization with a World War I-era project of their own, nearly one hundred years later. After Archives of Michigan staff scanned all 173 boxes of bonus cards, DAR of Michigan members transcribed key metadata fields. This database is the exciting outcome of the Archives of Michigan and DAR of Michigan’s collaboration and partnership. Because of the DAR’s enthusiasm, diligence, and dedication to the project, researchers will now have online access to these important World War I-era resources.

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