Monday, April 17, 2017

Army Transport Passenger Lists

Physicians of Base Hospital 50 sailing on the SS Karmala for France.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the United States' entry in the World War I, Ancestry recently released an important new database, U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939. A devastating fire in 1973 at the National Personnel Records Center  a branch of the National Archives located in St. Louis – destroyed an estimated 80% of Army personnel records. WWI draft registration cards do not provide proof of service and these troop passenger manifests help fill an important gap.

The collection includes 8.4 million records from the Army Transport Service (ATS). The ATS was established in 1899 as part of the Army Quartermaster Department. It was originally created to manage the transport of troops and cargo on Army ships that traveled between U.S. and overseas ports during the Spanish-American War. 

The ATS passenger lists document the movement of troops traveling to and from foreign ports. Civilian support personnel, such as nurses, and family members, war brides for example, may also be listed. The manifests also include deceased US soldiers whose remains were repatriated; invaluable information because this didn't happen until several years after the war ended.

Details recorded in these passenger lists typically include:
  • Ship name 
  • Arrival date and place 
  • Departure date and place 
  • Service member's name, rank, service number, age, residence, next of kin with relationship, and the regiment, company, detachment, or other organization that the service member was attached to.
For non-service members, entries also include their relation to a service member.