Discovering Stored Treasures

Discovering Genealogy, One Ancestor at a Time.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Learning about Ancestors from the Connecticut Military Questionnaire

Louis Harold Kranowitz
On Friday, we met Louis Harold Kranowitz. As promised, there is much more to the Louis Kranowitz story. The photo featured on Friday's Face from the Past post, is one of two photos of his photos my great-grandmother kept the album. Interestingly, the second photo is also from his service days. In this dreamy cloud portrait he looks even more handsome.

These two portraits, taken most likely before Louis left for war, sparked my curiosity about this family member. Military records seemed like a good place to start. Not many records survived from WWI, so I wasn't sure how much luck I would have.

Draft Registration

The draft registration card pulled up immediately and was surprisingly easy to read. The card provided the following information:

Name: Louis Harold Kranowitz
Address: 218 North Street, New Britain, CT
Birth: July 25, 1892 New York, NY
Age: 25
Citizenship: Natural Born Citizen
Occupation: Assistant Pharmacist
Employer: Clark and Brainerd, New Britain, CT
Dependents: Mother
Marital Status: Single
Race: Caucasian
Medium Hight, Slender, Brown Eyes, Black Hair. No disabilities.

Louis Harold Kranowitz, WWI Draft Registration Card.
(Click to Enlarge). Source: Ancestry.Com
Connecticut MIlitary Census

Louis Harold Kranowitz
Connecticut Military Census Feb 27, 1919
(click to enlarge).
Source: UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012
Original data: Connecticut Military Census of 1917. 
Hartford, Connecticut: Connecticut State Library.

Next, I recalled the Connecticut Military Census of 1917. In February of this year, I discovered and shared Max Crane's Military Census record. All men of 16 year of age  and older, filled these out. I had a little trouble finding Louis's Military Census since for some reason it was not indexed. Eventually, by scanning all the New Britain Kp-Kz records, I found it!
The document provides a few new facts about Louis:
  • He had no other trade than Pharmacy. 
  • He was 5'7'' tall and weighed 135 pounds (slim indeed).
  • Here he reported he supports two people, but doesn't disclose who. 
  • No prior military service.
  • He can ride a horse and handle a team, but can not drive an automobile or a motorcycle. 
  • He can not understand telegraphy or operate a wireless. 
  • He has no experience with steam engines, electrical machines or boats (power or sail). 
  • No experience with simple coastwise navigation or high speed marine gasoline engines.
  • Is not a good swimmer. 

Connecticut Military Questionnaire
Louis Harold Kranowitz (pages 1/4)

What I didn't expect to find was the following amazing document. A Connecticut Military Questionnaire 1919-1920. Now, if you haven't seen one of these documents, I highly recommend you take a look, especially if you have ancestors or family members from Connecticut who served in WWI. They are absolutely fabulous! It's a four page questionnaire handwritten by the veteran. In many cases if the soldier died on duty, the form was filled out for that person and a photo if available was attached.

In these questionnaire the veterans were asked to fill out many details about their service in the war. The information is very detailed and include among other information: draft date, unit, rank, military number, where and when they served, travel, injury and discharge.

Here is a summary of Louis Harold Kranowitz military service and other new facts about him:

Connecticut Military Questionnaire
Louis Harold Kranowitz (pages 2/4)
Click to enlarge:
Source: Connecticut,
Military Questionnaires, 1919-1920 
Provo, UT, USA: 
Original data: Connecticut State Library,
Hartford, Connecticut.

  • Mother's maiden name: Gross.
  • Drafted and inducted into the army on Oct 4, 1917, about 8 months after he first filled out the Connecticut Military Census. 
  • Reported to Camp Devens in Massachusetts.
  • Rank: Private
  • Unit: Medical Corps of the National Army (If you look closely at his photo, Louis is wearing a Medical Corps pin).
  • Identification #: 1690365
  • Trained at Camp Devens for about seven month until May 30, 1918.
  • While at Camp Devens he was promoted to Sergeant on April 4, 1918.
  • Embarked from Newport News, Virginia on Jun 20, 1918 on the USS Tenadores. 
  • The USS Tenadores arrived at Brest, France on July 13, 1918.
  • From Brest he proceeded to Cosne, France. The journey lasted 9 days and he arrived on July 22, 1918. 
  • Stationed in Cosne for five months until Dec 22, 1918.
  • Continued to Treves Germany where he remained for the remainder of the war, until August 30, 1919. 
  • Returned to the US aboard the USS Kroonland which arrived in Hoboken on Sep 10, 1919. 
  • Discharged from service at Camp Devens on Sep 16, 1919 and return to his civilian life as a pharmacist. 
(Note: Armistice day was Nov 1, 1918, but the war did not officially end until a series of treaties were signed in 1919 and as late as 1920).

Unfortunately, Louis chose not to elaborate much when asked to respond to his experience in the military (last two pages of the survey). He reported that he was in favor of serving and that his state of mind was good. According to him, the effect of his experience both in the US and abroad on his state of mind were good.

As you can see, this type of record is a gold mine of information. Armed with the wealth of details from this questionnaire I should be able to learn much more about his experience. I've also found similar records for his brother William Carl Kranowitz who served in Naval Intelligence, as well as Minnie's brother, their cousin William James Crane.

If you think you may have had a relative who died during WWI and was from Connecticut, be sure to check these records. While browsing the New Britain records, I also found many young men who died of influenza while still in training in the US. Often their photograph was included as well.


  1. Are you sure he was born in 1982?, maybe 1892

    1. Good catch Bill! That was a typo! Glad to know you are reading closely! Thanks for catching the mistake and letting me know!


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