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October 14, 2023

Honoring Our Veterans

By Ann Grilliot, Genealogy and Local History Coordinator

US Marines 1918 (Collection of Ann Grilliot)

The older I get, the more I appreciate those who make the commitment to serve in the military and protect our nation and communities. My own research in genealogy has brought this home to me! Veterans Day, November 11, is set aside to honor all those who have served in the United States’ military.

I was an exchange student in Soissons, France when I was in high school. Soissons’ rich history goes back to medieval times, but what caught my attention was the history and memorials from WWI in that region. The sacrifices and hardships those soldiers endured were made real to me when we visited the battlefields there. To see the graffiti that these soldiers left in the caves beneath the battlefield was haunting. I didn’t know much about that period from my high school history classes but have since made up for it with help from the library! I highly recommend John Keegan’s book An Illustrated History of the First World War and the DVD They Shall Not Grow Old to get started.

Another source for information on WWI is Fold3.com. This database is available in the library. You can, of course, search for specific veterans (from many conflicts, not just WWI or the U.S.), but Fold3 also has original reports and records made at or shortly after different military campaigns! It also has unit histories that provide so many details.

You can learn more about Hamilton County connections to the Great War on Saturday, November 11 from 2-3pm here at the Noblesville Library with County Historian, David Heighway. We’ll discuss the sacrifices made by both those overseas and on the home front.  Plus, get a special look at our Adolph Mueller collection, including diaries and photos from a Noblesville resident and WWI veteran. For more detail, check out the collection on Indiana Memory.

Leo Grilliot, US Marine, 1918 (collection of Ann Grilliot)

Interested in learning more details about a relative’s service record? Visit us in the Rotary Room on the first floor of the Noblesville Library, the temporary site of the Indiana Room Crossroads Discovery Center. Our databases, Fold3, Ancestry.com and Newspapers.com, can enrich your genealogy research, and you can get to know more about the lives of your ancestors.

Grave of Daniel Williams, Veteran, War of 1812 (collection of Ann Grilliot)

A deep dive into the War of 1812 is my next step in researching my own family. I happened to visit an old family cemetery in Pennsylvania. It was May, and I noticed a medallion and flag on my ancestor’s grave. I had had no idea my 4th great grandfather, Daniel Williams, had fought in the War of 1812. Other than Dolly Madison and the burning of the White House, I have little knowledge of that conflict. I never made the connection to its impact on our region here in Indiana, Ohio, and western Pennsylvania.

Join me Thursday, November 9th at 2:30pm in the Noblesville Library for the Genealogy Advisory Board. We will share tips and help to solve our research roadblocks in military records.

The library has so many resources to learn more about the military and those that serve! Personal memoirs and biographies, histories of conflicts and military units, and documentaries are available. Check out Our Service, Our Stories: Indiana Veterans Recall Their WWII Experiences by Ronald P. May, here in our collection.

If you served in the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, or Navy, please accept my sincere thanks and gratitude!