29 Digitized Books to Research Your WWI Ancestor’s Combat Unit

During World War I (1917-1919), forty-three numbered divisions saw service with the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe, with 1st-8th Divisions composed of Regular Army units, 26th-42d composed of state National Guard units, and 76th-93d composed of National Army units. The National Army constituted units organized by the federal government for the war. Additional divisions (9th-20th and 94th-102d) were raised for the AEF, but did not see overseas service.

Of the 43 A.E.F. divisions that reached Europe, 29 of them participated in active combat.

To help the American public better understand the successes, contributions, and sacrifices of American combat divisions during WWI, the American Battle Monuments Commission published two excellent reference works:

American Battle Monuments Commission, American Armies and Battlefields in Europe (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1938).

American Armies and Battlefields in Europe - CoverThis book is an enlargement of ABMC’s earlier publication in 1927. This is an excellent presentation of the AEF’s role on the battlefield as it evolved during the course of the war.  The three principal areas in which American troops in large numbers engaged in battle are presented. Each chapter consists of a short general story; a detailed itinerary which takes the reader / tourist to the most interesting points of the terrain and describes the American operations which occurred there; a summary of the services of the American divisions; and, a map to help understand combat operations. The book is designed not only as a desktop historical reference, but as a motor touring guide.

American Battle Monuments Commission, Summary of Operations in the World War, 28 vols. (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1944).

42nd Division Summary of Operations in the World War
When researching the tactical movements of AEF combat divisions, there is simply nothing in print as detailed, thorough and accurate.  These volumes describe in accurate detail all the dates, locations, activities and operations of the AEF combat divisions. When originally published, a dedicated volume was bundled with several large maps, all enclosed in a jacket, one set for each combat division. Included in the series are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, 30th, 32nd, 33rd, 35th, 36th, 37th, 42nd, 77th, 78th, 79th, 80th, 81st, 82nd, 89th, 90th, 91st, 92nd, and 93rd Divisions, AEF.

A list of direct links to each of these digitized volumes is available here at PatriotGenealogy.com.  Each publication has been digitized by Google and all are accessible online for non-commercial purposes at the HathiTrust.org website. Please visit HathiTrust Terms of Access and Use.

For your convenience, click on this link for access the collection:  Division Summaries of Operations in the World War