Overheard in GenForum: Looking for Cemetery in Baccarat France
For those with family members who died in World War I, it may be that no one in the family knows where some of them are buried, especially those who were buried in Europe. However, there is the American Battle Monuments Commission, that might hold some answers.
American Battle Monuments Commission
The American Battle Monuments Commission was actually created as an independent agency by an act on 4 March 1923. Prior to this it was known as the Battle Monuments Board and was under the War Department from 1921. However, the first agency was the Graves Registration Service.
The Graves Registration Services was created in August, 1917. And most of their work was done by the Army Quartermaster Corps, which explains how it ended up under the War Department later on.
The purpose of the Commission is to design and maintain permanent U.S. military cemeteries and memorials on foreign soil. The land for these cemeteries has been donated by the host country free of taxes and any other charges. And in exchange, agreements have been reached about who can be buried in these cemeteries.
World War I Cemeteries
To mark the contributions by American soldiers eight cemeteries and eleven battlefield monuments were erected. Each of the eight cemeteries has a memorial chapel.
Not all of those eight cemeteries are located in France. However, that is the country with the most.
Contacting the Commission
For many years, it was necessary to contact the commission only through regular mail. You can still contact them this way by writing them at
American Battle Monuments Commission Operations
20 Massachusetts Ave.
Room 5127 Casmir Pulaski Building
Washington, DC 20314-0001
However, as with many things these days, it is now possible to do some of your research online. The Commission has a web site. This web site includes details about each of the cemeteries and monuments on foreign soil that fall under its responsibility.
Best of all, it contains a searchable database of those interred overseas and those who are missing in action from World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. This would be the best place to begin your search for your relative.
Even if you do not find your relative in their online database, you will want to write to them to request a search of their data. They will supply you with a photograph of the cemetery and your veteran's marker or name on the wall of those Missing in Action.
However, keep in mind that if your soldier was not buried in one of these cemeteries, you may still have to visit specific cemeteries in the town of Baccarat, France.The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, now in its second edition. She is the author of four how-to guides on Family Tree Maker. In late 2001, she wrote The Genealogist's Computer Companion. She is a contributing editor to Biography Magazine with her "Celebrity Roots" column and a contributing writer to The History Channel Magazine. Her latest book is Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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