7 Replies Latest reply on Mar 10, 2021 9:32 AM by Kristie Kissinger

    Seeking military information of great-grandfather

    Kristie Kissinger Newbie

      My great-grandfather was in both WWI & WWII. He was not close to his only child, my grandmother, so the information I have is little. He was born in 1902 Louisiana and as the story goes, he ran away from home, lied about his age and enlisted. I found Army transport passenger lists with him leaving Hoboken, NJ in Sept. 1918 for Brest, France and then another passenger list returning to Hoboken, NJ in Feb. 1919. I know this is the correct person because he listed his brother & mother as emergency contacts. Both passenger lists have the same "serial number". I have never found a draft registration card for him in 1918. He was also in WWII and I was fortunate to find his draft registration for this war. I have no other documentation for WWII other than a few stories that my grandmother told me.  Would he have had the same service number in both WWI & WWII?

        • Re: Seeking military information of great-grandfather
          J. Andrew Scout

          What's his name?  There are a number of databases that might have something about his service, but they require having a name to search for.

            • Re: Seeking military information of great-grandfather
              Kristie Kissinger Newbie

              His name was William George Riley. He is listed as William G. Riley on the documentation I have found for WWI & WWII. His service # on the passenger lists in 1918 & 1919 was 2590842. His birth date was 8 Oct 1902 Hodge, LA and death was 10 Apr 1975 Minden, LA. However, he lied about his age when he enlisted in WWI. His draft registration for WWII was in Buffalo, NY on 16 Feb 1942. Thank you!

            • Re: Seeking military information of great-grandfather
              Elliot Schneider Ranger

              Ms. Kissinger,


              Here is some information, also found where he is buried. If he was born in 1902 that would put him at about 16 yrs if he lied about is age its possible he put down possibly something like 1896-1898 for a DOB when he registered for WW1. So If I were looking for WW1 registers for draft I would look around that date, but here is the kicker would he kept his address from the 1910 census the same as his draft registration versus what was put down for an emergency contact. I've seen like 20 William G. Riley all from LA when i put in a date range of 1896-1898. So if we could narrow down what county he lived in in 1910 then we can try to locate. . Please see census below so did he use this address from WW1 draft register or did he use another family members address like an uncle or aunt?






              1910 Census: (click on image to enlarge)




              Field TitleValueMeaning
              ARMY SERIAL NUMBER0259084202590842
              RESIDENCE: STATE53OHIO
              DATE OF ENLISTMENT DAY2626
              DATE OF ENLISTMENT MONTH0909
              DATE OF ENLISTMENT YEAR4242
              GRADE: CODE8Private
              BRANCH: ALPHA DESIGNATIONBI#Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
              BRANCH: CODE00Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA
              FIELD USE AS DESIRED##
              TERM OF ENLISTMENT5Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
              SOURCE OF ARMY PERSONNEL2Enlisted Man, Regular Army, after 3 months of Discharge
              YEAR OF BIRTH0202
              RACE AND CITIZENSHIP1White, citizen
              EDUCATION62 years of college
              CIVILIAN OCCUPATION685Semiskilled welders and flame cutters
              MARITAL STATUS9Widower or widow, without dependents
              COMPONENT OF THE ARMY6Army of the United States - includes the following: Voluntary enlistments effective December 8, 1941 and thereafter; One year enlistments of National Guardsman whose State enlistment expires while in the Federal Service; Officers appointed in the Army of the United States under Army Regulations 605-10
              CARD NUMBER##
              BOX NUMBER00240024
              FILM REEL NUMBER1.24#1.24#
              2 people found this helpful
                • Re: Seeking military information of great-grandfather
                  Kristie Kissinger Newbie

                  Thank you for your efforts in searching for me. I'm not sure the exact address of the Riley family in 1910 & 1920 other than Minden, LA.  He is listed in the household for both census.  I know later in life they lived in town. I have had some difficulty in finding my William G. Riley, as there are several. I came across the same William G. Riley record from WWII you attached before, but the information doesn't add up, unless he just flat out lied - which is possible. He never went to college and I don't think he even finished high school. Here is the draft registration I found. I know that he did live in New York in the early 1940s from a letter my grandmother received from a family member, so this all makes sense to me. Plus the contact person listed is his mother & the address is the family home that I've known of.  I'll try entering those possible birth dates to see if anything pops up for WWI registrations. But from stories I've heard he was a wanderer and he could have enlisted anywhere. Thank you again for your help!




                    • Re: Seeking military information of great-grandfather
                      Elliot Schneider Ranger



                      The ww2 draft card makes sense if you look it says General Delivery Lydenville, NY probably similar to a P.O. Box in those days. Plus if you look at the top of the information I sent you his service number matches up with what you provided earlier. Please take not you also mentioned October 8 if you look at draft card it actually says October 2 1902.


                      His brother Jack and Mother Bettie were both on his WW1 shipping manifest



                      1920 Census:


                      Name:George Riley
                      Birth Year:abt 1902
                      Home in 1920:Minden, Webster, Louisiana
                      Street:West Minden
                      Residence Date:1920
                      Relation to Head of House:Son
                      Marital Status:Single
                      Father's Name:Fae Riley
                      Father's Birthplace:Ireland
                      Mother's Name:Bettie Riley
                      Mother's Birthplace:Alabama
                      Able to Speak English:Yes
                      Able to read:Yes
                      Able to Write:Yes
                      Household MembersAgeRelationship
                      Fae Riley52Head
                      Bettie Riley48Wife
                      Luther Riley28Son
                      Jack Riley24Son
                      Alfons Riley23Son
                      George Riley18Son
                      William Riley10Daughter
                      John O Riley9Son
                      Mary Helen Riley6Daughter



                      WW2 Hospital Admission Cards



                      Name:William G Riley
                      Race:White, includes Mexican (White)
                      Rank:Enlisted Man
                      Admission Age:42
                      Birth Date:abt 1902
                      Admission Date:Jul 1944
                      Discharge Date:Aug 1944
                      Military Branch:Medical Dept., General or Unspecified incl Enlisted Man
                      Diagnosis:Diagnosis: Bronchitis, chronic; SecondDiagnosis: Bronchiectasis; ThirdDiagnosis: Sinusitis, chronic, Nasal accessory, general
                      Type of Injury:Disease
                      Injured in Line of Duty:Not in line of duty, existed prior to service
                      Type of Discharge:Discharged, Sec. II, AR 615-360 (line of duty, No)
                      Length of service:5
                      Service Number:02590842
                      2 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Seeking military information of great-grandfather
                    Jason Atkinson Ranger

                    Dear Ms. Kissinger,


                    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


                    We suggest that you request a copy of his Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). OMPFs and individual medical reports for enlisted men of the U.S. Army who were separated from the service after October 1912 and before 1959 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. In many cases where personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, proof of service can be provided from other records such as morning reports, payrolls, and military orders, and a certificate of military service will be issued. Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail it to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002. The information that Mr. Schneider located for you indicates that his service number in World War II was also 2590842. Please be sure to include that on the SF-180. If there is any information requested by the form that you do not know, you may omit it or provide estimates (such as for dates), but the more information you provide, the easier it will be to locate the correct file if it survived the fire. For more information see Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Archival Records Requests.


                    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NPRC is closed except for emergencies. Currently, NPRC will continue servicing requests ONLY associated with medical treatments, burials, and homeless veterans seeking admittance to a homeless shelter. If your request is urgent, please see Emergency Requests and Deadlines. Please refrain from submitting non-emergency requests such as replacement medals, administrative corrections, or records research until NPRC returns to pre-COVID staffing levels. Please check archives.gov/veterans for updates to the NPRC operating hours and status. We apologize for any inconvenience.


                    We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


                    1 person found this helpful