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Debra M. Dudek has just published a guide for researching an ancestor’s service in World War I “using a mixture of online and physical resources” — a project more attainable now than it was just a few years ago ... and easier than you think.”

Specific goals and a research checklist enable this research process:

Goal 1. Find out if your ancestor served.

Goal 2. Find your veteran’s rank and unit information.

Goal 3. Find dates and details of service.

Goal 4. Brush up on WWI history and geography.

Goal 5. Find service details in veteran’s postwar life.

Goal 6. Share your veteran’s WWI story.

Specific databases (with URLs) are listed for four major sources (, FamilySearch, Fold3 and InternetArchive). Other sources include Honor Roll Books, Hathi Trust, the National WWI Museum, newspapers and camp books. The state-by-state listing of collections and resources includes the Illinois Digital Archives and offline collections of the Illinois State Archives.

Records at the National Archives, Library of Congress, Pritzker Military Museum & Library in Chicago and other locations are resources to be checked. Naturalization and Enemy Alien Records are special for ancestors who became citizens while serving in the military. Records of women’s nonmilitary service are noted. A brief guide to Canadian records is also provided.

“World War I Genealogy Research Guide — Second Edition” is a softcover, 93-page, 6-by-9 book, ISBN 978-1098769307, that can be ordered from the author’s website ( or Amazon.

Dudek is head of adult and teen services at the Fountaindale Public Library District in Bolingbrook. She specializes in British genealogy, WWI research and technology topics. U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, with the support of the Doughboy Foundation and others, is making her book available free at to the first 10,000 who download the PDF.

Fraudulent DNA reports

“The American Society of Human Genetics has not certified any DNA test markers to be associated with a particular Southeastern American Indian tribe (and thus) ... if any commercial DNA lab returns test results that state a percentage of DNA for a particular Southeastern Native American tribe, the report should be considered fraudulent.”

Access Genealogy has a reminder at “There is big money to be had in people who think that their great-grandmother was a Cherokee princess.” No DNA test today can prove such a relationship.

DNA testing profitable

Forbes staffers Biz Carson and Kathleen Chaykowski have posted a revealing article at that should be read by anyone considering having their DNA tested: “Live Long And Prosper: How Anne Wojcicki’s 23andMe Will Mine Its Giant DNA Database For Health And Wealth.”

Wojcicki, the owner of 23andMe (which generated an estimated $475 million in revenue last year for the company, “which has yet to turn a profit”) plans to “get paid on both ends. Customers pay to find out about their heritage and then the company uses that genetic data to one day profit from potential new medicines (since) ... 83% of 23andMe’s customers consent to allow their DNA to be used for biomedical research.”

Judy Russell (“The Legal Genealogist”) and Sunny Jane Morton have warned that DNA testing puts personal information at risk, and the only way to be completely safe online is “DON’T TAKE A DNA TEST.” Read the Family TreeMagazine story at

Queries, genealogical questions from researchers and genealogical materials readers would like to share will be printed in this column free. Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.