02 July 2014

Red Cross Service in World War I

If your relative served in the American Red Cross in the early 20th century, Ancestry.com has a gem of a database: American Red Cross Nurse Files, 1916-1959." These employment files contain a variety of personal information on individuals (mostly women) who served in the Red Cross (as nurses) during this time period.

I discovered over a year ago that one of my relatives appeared in this set of records. Veta Blanche Markley was a rural Illinois native whose career path was significantly different than that of her immediate family. Veta worked for the Red Cross in World War I, serving in Italy. She later worked for the Veteran's Administration in various US military hospitals through the close of World War II.

Her file (which we've written about briefly before) contains over fifty pages, including several letters she wrote and the original handwritten essay that was a part of her original application..

The image in this post indicates she was headed to Italy in 1918 for an indefinite period of time and would be paid $50.00 per month. Additional paperwork in the file indicated that this money was to be sent to her mother.

Original data: Historical Nurse Files, Compiled ca. 1916–ca. 1959. Series number A1 27140, textual materials, 101 boxes. Records of the American National Red Cross, 1881–2008. National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland.

Veta was the daughter of Laura (Rampley) Markley. Laura was a sister of my great-grandmother, Fannie (Rampley) Neill.

As we approach the 100th anniversary of events that precipitated World War I, don't forget those female relatives who may have been involved in the war as well--either directly or indirectly.