Saturday, November 28, 2020

AEF - WWI Burial Sites

 In my 4 May 20 blog titled: Facebook and Genealogy, I mentioned the AEF Resources Map by Weldon Hoppe. Weldon has plotted the WWI Burial Plats on a GIS system that was helpful in finding my Louis Radlof's initial burial site during WWI.

 Well, Weldon has excelled again.

 But first a quick rundown on what the AEF Resources Map is about.  AEF stands for American Expeditionary Forces and this series of maps and locations are overlaid on the a GIS (Geographic Information System) owned by Initially when I found this site, from the Meuse-Argonne FB page, it contained the:

  • Initial Burial Plats for WWI American soldiers
  • Lists of Cemeteries
  • Griffin Group Photos 
  • Tench lines
  • Areas of operations for US units
  • Front Lines over time

I was lucky because my Louis was buried at a site that was recorded in the Initial Burial Plats survey completed by the Grave Registration Service (GRS) in 1919. 

However, many U.S. soldiers were buried in isolated graves, 1 to 10 graves, which were not mapped. The location of these burials were recorded on the individuals burial card, so given the right map with the right grid, you could find the burial location.

Now Weldon to the rescue to make life easier. He has plotted most of these individual grave sites, labeled them and given them the tag of Isolated Burial on his map. 

Even more, he has created a searchable database, American WWI Burial Cards, where you can look up the solider and find an extract from the burial card and a hyperlink to the burial card. 

Unfortunately there is no link to the AEF Resource Map (yet), but all is not lost.  If you look at the top right corner of the map you'll see 4 search icons. Selecting the right one will take you the location of the grave site as in the example shown below. You can search by Name, Organization, Cemetery Number, or Plat Number depending on what data you have and it should take you to where your solider was initially buried.

 Finally, BIG THANKS to Weldon and all the volunteers for making this happen.