Unknown Soldiers

Unknown Soldiers

I owe a big thank-you to readers who sent pictures of the military men in their family. My in box has quite of few images of men in mystery uniforms, so I thought focusing on military pictures for another week was warranted. Pay attention to the details such as these...

I owe a big thank-you to readers who sent pictures of the military men in their family. My in box has quite of few images of men in mystery uniforms, so I thought focusing on military pictures for another week was warranted.

editUnknow soldiers WW1.jpg

Pay attention to the details such as these in a uniform, to help identify when it was worn.

  • During the Civil War, belt buckles often bore state abbreviations or CSA for the Confederate States of America.

  • Hats are key. The shape and design of the hat can specify a time frame while insignia can help you identify the unit in which the soldier served.
  • Cloth chevrons on the sleeves and shoulders of a uniform and insignia on the collar or headgear signified rank.
  • Not all uniforms are military in origin. Fraternal groups costumes and occupational attire is often confused with military uniforms.

Unfortunately, there’s no single source that shows all the uniforms worn by soldiers or sailors. In the 19th century, there was quite a diversity of uniforms, with each unit having its own. Colorful attire such as the Turkish pants worn by the Zouaves were just one recognizable variation.

If you don’t know who’s depicted in photograph of a soldier or a sailor, try finding evidence of military service in documents—pension records, enlistment papers and other genealogical materials.

Keep in mind that not all the military photos in your photo collection depict relatives—they could be friends of the family. One of the emails I received was from Connie L. Huntling. Her grandmother worked at a Veterans Administration hospital in Plattsburg, NY, during World War I. In her papers were many photographs of men who were patients at the hospital. Connie sent me the two in this post two with the hope that someone will recognize these men.

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Please take a look at and click Comment below to tell me if you have any ideas about who the men might be. I’m going to ask Huntling to post the pictures to the photo-reunion site DeadFred as well.

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  1. I just read this article…I was wondering…I have a few photos that my Grandfather took during World War 2 that are of young men that I assume were his buddies but their names are not listed to identify them. I thought somewhere, someone may like to see these photos…or even someone interested in snapshots from this era. Are there websites somewhere to post these to?
    Thanks

  2. I just read this article…I was wondering…I have a few photos that my Grandfather took during World War 2 that are of young men that I assume were his buddies but their names are not listed to identify them. I thought somewhere, someone may like to see these photos…or even someone interested in snapshots from this era. Are there websites somewhere to post these to?
    Thanks

  3. As to the two men standing in the photo, I would think that they are either English or Canadian. While I can’t see the "brass" on the hats or lapels, it appears to conform with the insignia of those armies. Also, look at the sleeves down by the cuffs. That is also English looking.