Over twenty-five hundred service people from Philadelphia lost their lives in the Great War, and each of them had a story. Some of their stories live on in the memories of their descendants, many of whom still live in the Philadelphia area today. But many left no descendants, having died young—often in their late teens or early twenties—before they had the opportunity to start a family. As a result, there was no one left to remember and share the story of their lives.
Now, a project is underway to identify and document the lives of those who fell. Inspired by a list of names and addresses discovered in the Pennsylvania State Archives, volunteers from the academic and genealogical communities have come together to create an online database, “The Fallen of the Great War.” Drawing on the energy and expertise of experienced volunteers, the project will produce a biographical encyclopedia, a social science dataset, and an interactive map of Philadelphia, displaying where the service people lived before they left for the Great War.
Learn more about the origins and future of the Fallen of the Great War project. Joyce Homan of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania and Ruth Martin of Heritage Reports will share some of the stories the volunteer researchers have uncovered so far and also discuss the perils and rewards of undertaking such a venture.
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is a proud partner of Archives Month Philly, an annual celebration of archives, special collections libraries, and cultural institutions. For a full calendar of events, please visit archivesmonthphilly.com.