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Eye On Olympia

Have a relative who fought in World War I? Here’s how to find out more…

Washington’s Secretary of State’s office has been pretty innovative in bring yellowed-paper archives out of their boxes in cool storage and into the digital age. The state’s Digital Archives has scanned in — and hand-indexed — years of territorial newspapers, old marriage and other personal records, and photographs, among many other things.

A new feature: a searchable online database to find records of World War I veterans. The paperworks lists training, battles, wounds, birthplaces, and race (Welcome to 1919: “Race: White or colored”, with that capitalization.)

The information cards don’t provide many details, but they give a glimpse into a life. Here, for example, is the March 12, 1920 record for a Pfc. Alexander D. Munro, a Spokane man who was born in British Columbia and enlisted at age 32 for a tour that saw him overseas in the final months of the war. He served in the “QMC,” which I’m guessing was the Quartermaster’s Corps — the Army’s supply arm — and was overseas from July 1918 to April 1919.

Here’s the link to search for someone by name. (Scroll down to bottom of the page and you’ll see where to type in the info.)


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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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