The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

March 10, 2013

Booklet advises WWII servicemen in Britain


Any researcher who has/had a relative who spent time in England during World War II would probably enjoy reading an old book, “Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain.” Perhaps a grandfather read this book when he arrived in England. Dick Eastman’s online genealogy newsletter (Feb. 23) reviewed this book, and told that it can be found on the Internet at

The booklet was created by the U.S. War Department in 1942, “for all members of American Expeditionary Forces in Great Britain,” advising them on the “peculiarities of the British, their country, and their ways.” For example, it includes the interesting comment, “The British don’t know how to make a good cup of coffee. You don’t know how to make a good cup of tea. It’s an even swap.”

Many bits of advice are relevant today, and the guide even includes several differences in speech. “For instance, instead of railroads, automobiles, and radios, the British will talk about railways, motorcars, and wireless sets. ... A streetcar is a tram … Gas is petrol—if there is any.” This booklet is an important part of history.

Crawfordsville team

Free Photo Archives of more than 26,000 vintage photographs has at least one photo of interest to Indiana researchers — a group picture of Crawfordsville (Ind.) High School’s 1935 football team at Taken from that year’s Athenian Yearbook, it identifies each of the young men on the team. With such familiar surnames as Brown, Bushong, Morris, Delp, Ross, Surface, Friend, Cook, Caldwell, Frees, etc., researchers may be surprised to find this “treasure” available online.

Be aware that although the site itself is free, some of the links may lead to subscription sites such as Nevertheless, many clues (and photos) may be found at this free website.

Biographies project

In 1997, the U.S. Biographies Project was organized by Jeff Murphy, using the established Kentucky Biographies Project as a model. State coordinators were sought to set up their own state project. The project provides indexes to thousands of biographies that had been published in county history books from the mid-1800s. Deb Murray is the U.S. Biographies Project coordinator and volunteers are still sought for states not covered at this time.

The home page at enables one to select from any of these states: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. For example, if Indiana is chosen, it is mentioned, “there are now over 20.745 biographies on this site!!” One can then click on a specific county (e.g., Fountain County — which has more than 400 biographies now online) and then choose from several links to biographies. It should be noted that the book from which the Fountain County biographies were taken is “History of Fountain County, Indiana” by H. W. Beckwith, published by H. H. Hill and N. Iddings, Chicago, in 1881.

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing