Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Finding WWI Service Among Probate Files

While I was at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois, I requested the book With The Colors From Aurora 1917, 1918, 1919, as I knew there was a reference to a Ferdinand Henry Schwartz (obtained from an index).  I quickly found the reference, but all it said was:  “Pvt. U.S. Army.” 

Since there are a handful of Henry Schwartzes in Aurora during that time period, I wasn’t for sure if this was my great-granduncle or not, even though I know his middle name is Ferdinand (likely named after his grandfather).  I made a note of it and moved on.

Today, I was going through his probate file and noticed a line item for a U.S. Adjusted Service Compensation Certificate (#1768698) among the inventoried items.  A quick search on Wikipedia indicated that there was an Adjusted Service Certificate Law “passed in 1924 that granted veterans of World War I ‘bonus’ certificates the following year that would be redeemable after a maturation period of 20 years for $1 dollar in cash for each day served in the United States and $1.25 dollars for each day served abroad.”

Since the certificate was awarded to WWI veterans, it is quite likely that the reference in that book, is in fact my great-granduncle Henry Ferdinand Schwartz.  More digging is in order to make certain, but who knew I’d find such a clue in a probate file!


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