Free Database of the Week: Virginia WWI Veterans Surveys

By Allison Dolan

In 1919, as part of an effort to preserve the stories of Virginians in the Great War, a governor-appointed Historical Commission sent questionnaires to the state’s returning WWI soldiers and nurses.

A full narrative of the completed questionnaires was never published, and the records ended up with the Library of Virginia.

Now they’re in a database of more than 14,900 records, one for each respondent, linked to digitized images of each questionnaire page plus any accompanying photographs or other material.

The completed questionnaires hold a wealth of data, including names, dates, places, educational and religious background, and military service details. Soldiers also answered questions about their wartime experiences and how war affected their personal values. See the library Web site for more on this collection.

You can search on a keyword (such as a name or hometown) or phrase, or enter a word to browse alphabetically adjacent records.

Search results come in table form; click the number on the far left to bring up the catalog entry. Next, click the URL next to the document icon, then click the link to a page of the questionnaire.