COMMENTS on United States—Enlisted and Officer Muster Rolls and Rosters, 1916–1939 [Part J]
United States—Enlisted and Officer Muster Rolls and Rosters, 1916–1939 [Part J]
Main Guiding Principles on Military Dates:
- When multiple dates are present on the image, please choose the military date based on the following hierarchy:
- Enlistment date
- Muster roll or monthly roster date
- Any other applicable military date
If more than one enlistment date was given, use the earliest date.
NOTE by JJE: This does not say, “if more than one military date was given, use the earliest one.” If they mean this, then it should be stated accordingly. I'm interpreting what is written.
Following are two frequently encountered issues and my comments on them. i.e. MY OPINION. MY INTERPRETATION.
1. Where do I find the Military Month, Day, Year to enter for this sheet? It appears to be a continuation page from a multi-page Roster that started on a previous Image.
Answer: The Roll or Roster sheet on your image may not have a date at the top. Often this is because the current sheet is a continuation of a multi-page document. A previous image may contain the full date of that Roll or Roster. But evidently, you may ONLY use the year component of that Roll or Roster date for the Military Date and not the month or day. So you would Ctrl+B the Military Month and Military Day Fields for any soldier that does not have his own enlistment date next to his name.
From the FH (Field Help – Purple ?) for Military Year: "The date at the top of a roster or roll may be used for all entries as the military date if the entries don't contain their own individual enlistment dates. If a year is not given, it may have been recorded on a previous image." This last instruction to look at previous images for Military Date information is not found in the FH for Military Month or Military Day.
2. How do I index the date of a bi-monthly Roster or Roll (and the Military Date for the soldiers within it)? See "How to Index a Muster Roll Example 2." However, I think that the indexing is incorrect in this example – i.e., inconsistent with the instructions and Military Dates Feld Help.
Answer: A bi-monthly Muster Roll shows the soldiers who were in a given military unit during the two-month period specified, often with clarification on when particular soldiers joined or left during that period. In this Example, the bi-monthly period is from 30-April-1917 to 30-June-1917. Also indicated on the sheet is that the date of a bi-monthly Muster Roll is the later of the two dates specified. You will see that 30-April-1917 is characterized right on the form as “the date of the last bi-monthly muster.” So 30-June-1917 is the date of this bi-monthly muster.
However, this Example instructs us (wrongly, I believe) to use the 30-April-1917 date as the Military Date for the soldier indexed from this document “Please note that the earliest date on this record was used since the "When Enlisted" column is blank.”
But I believe that this guidance is incorrect – certainly inconsistent with all the FHs and PIs that pertain. According to the hierarchy of Military Dates, the muster roll date or monthly roster date is second in line only to the actual enlistment date to use as a Military Date for a soldier. Absent an actual enlistment date for a soldier; then the roster date should be used. We are to choose the earliest of multiple enlistment dates if multiple ones are given but absent any enlistment date; we should choose a roster date if available, according to the hierarchy.
I believe that 30-June-1917 should be used as the Military Date for all soldiers on that sheet because it is a valid roster date and they don't have enlistment dates given.
You got right posting the name of the project in your comment, can you please post the batch code or number of the project you are refering?. Thank you.0
Good points, John.
To your first comment: I agree and have always thought the instruction should read: If more than one enlistment date or applicable military date is given, use the earliest one.
On Issue 1: It is truly a disservice to indexers, reviewers, and researchers not to allow indexers to index the month and day of the rosters using the previous and subsequent pages, especially when they are instructed to index the military year from them! It seems like in the past, we were asked to index the month/day/year from the first or last sheet of a roster. Something's changed...I noticed the PI's are saying the completed indexes and images may have restrictions, so maybe researchers are going to have to seek out the images anyway and you can't search on month and day.
One Issue 2: I agree with you that the event date for that roster is the later date. But, I think they are trying to get closer to the enlistment dates and that is why they using the earlier date on this type of form. This kind of lines up with their partial instruction about multiple enlistment dates and brings us full circle to the need change that to military date as you suggest!0
I don’t have a question regarding a specific batch. Or, consider it a comment about the batch containing the Example I cited. These were comments about the instructions for this Project. They apply to all batches that contain the types of situations I discussed.
I’m inviting comments on my interpretations of the instructions and Example I cited, having indexed or reviewed tens of thousands of records from these Muster Roll and Roster Projects. I stand behind my interpretations, but am willing, for example, to Index and Review according to the Example I cited, even though I think it is flawed, if that is what the Project Managers/ FS support decide/ wish.1
Good points yourself Melissa. As I mentioned, if that is what they mean, then I wish that they would just say so. We have gone through this before with recent other Parts of this project, as I’m sure you remember. I noticed that “restrictions” comment too.1
For the sake of discussion, I will share a batch and leave it up until it expires on August 30, 2021. I only am pulling up one batch at time to work on right now, so I have plenty of space in my queue.
If you read farther down in the Field Help you will see that it says if more than one date is given to use the earliest date.1
I see this in the Military Date FH:
“If more than 1 enlistment date was given, use the earliest date.”
That is my point. It doesn't say:
“If more than 1 date was given, use the earliest date.”
An enlistment date is when the soldier was inducted into the armed forces.
A soldier could have more than one enlistment date if he enlisted more than once; maybe with a break in between. If all of these multiple enlistment dates were displayed, they evidently want the earliest one to be used. My father is a perfect example. He enlisted once in 1932, served 4 years, and enlisted again in 1943.1