My tribute to all the military horses, mules, and donkeys that “served” or lost their lives in Wars

My tribute to all the military horses, mules, and donkeys that “served” or lost their lives in Wars

by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

(SGS) Stateline Genealogy Sorter

May 31, 2017

Vicki’s note- Photo posted by on I wrote this Posting based on information found at,,, and, and excerpts of commentators’ information.  This is an addition to Memorial Day tributes to all the human war veterans:

army horse tribute

American soldiers paying tribute to all the horses that lost their life in World War I.

The photograph was taken in 1917 at Camp Cody, New Mexico. The men kept fainting from the heat that day, so it took 8 hours to take the picture.  This shows a Cavalry unit – 650 officers and enlisted men of Auxiliary Remount Depot No 326.

The photo taken in 1918 was officers and recruits standing in the shape of the Liberty bell.

Horse, mules, and donkeys were “drafted; they did not volunteer. They acted against their nature by running toward guns shelling fire.  They suffered horribly in the U.S. Civil War, and World Wars.  The Allied forces had millions of horses, and countless mules and donkeys, which died from gunfire, wounds, starvation, thirst, exhaustion, disease, bad weather, miserable conditions, and exposure.

Army Horses

WWII German pack horses – similar conditions for pack mules and all wars.

Hugh Lofting fought in the trenches during World War I.  He created the idea for “The Story of Doctor Dolittle” (published in 1920) when he observed the lack of compassion shown to the horses on the battlefields. While he served, Lofting wrote stories about Dr Dolittle in his letters home to entertain his children.

Pack mules made the U.S. Army (and other countries’ armies) mobile. Mules had tremendous stamina, and carried food, supplies and ammunition to battles, returning with wounded soldiers.


WWII U.S. pack mule

Mules were critical in the Civil War. The Union Army had (purchased) about one million mules. The South only had about half as many mules, most of which the soldiers brought from their farms. The Southern farms then did not have mules to do plowing. Some historians suggest that the shortage of mules might have contributed to the South ultimately losing.

Mules were used in World War I and (less in) World War II.  They could go where rough terrains were not usable by motorized vehicles. About 8,000 mules died in those wars. Enemy submarines targeted supply ships carrying mules to destroy supplies and the means of transportation.

Six Mules hauled 2,000-pound wagons that were loaded with 3,000 pounds of cargo (including mule’s feed). In mountainous areas a train of 50 (plus) mules (in single file), carried 250 pounds each, and traveled 60 miles a day.

“War Horse” is a novel by Michael Morpurgo, made into a Broadway play, and a movie. The story, based on true events, is a tribute to all the horses that died in WW I. The horses in the play were puppets operated by three puppeteers.

“Animals in War”, by Jilly Cooper, has many true stories about the devotion and loyalty of horses, mules and donkeys to their military masters during war.

At the ends of the Wars, cavalry soldiers could not bring their horses home and officers ordered them to shoot them.

The army kept its horses and mules into the late 50s.

Did any of your military (cavalry) ancestors have the care of horses, mules, or donkeys? 1/2 sale today only until midnight! 1/2 sale today Veteran’s Day Nov. 11 only until midnight!


Vicki’s note – I just saw this sale.  New subscribers only and 6 months only.  Great deal if you can use it.  This is thru Thomas MacEntee’s website Abundant Genealogy –

Save 50% on All Subscriptions at Ancestry! TODAY ONLY, Sunday, November 11th, new subscribers can save 50% at Ancestry on 1-month and 6-month subscriptions during the Ancestry Veterans Day Flash Sale. This is the perfect way to "try out" Ancestry if you've not used their site.

Save 50% on All Subscriptions at Ancestry! TODAY ONLY, Sunday, November 11th, new subscribers can save 50% at Ancestry on 1-month and 6-month subscriptions during the Ancestry Veterans Day Flash Sale. This is the perfect way to “try out” Ancestry if you’ve not used their site.

Fold3 Free Access to Native American Records – November 1 -15, 2019

  Fold3 Free Access to Native American Records                                               – November 1 -15, 2019


Vicki’s note – a notice from Fold3 of an free opportunity for those who have Native American ancestors to do research on:

Fold3 Free Access to Native American Records – November 1 -15, 2019

Free access to Native American Records*

November is National Native American Heritage month. To celebrate, we’re offering free access* to our Native American collection November 1-15. Titles in this collection include:

  • Ratified Indian Treaties (1722-1869)
  • Indian Census Rolls (1885-1940)
  • Eastern Cherokee Applications (1906-1909)
  • Dawes Packets and Enrollment Cards

Plus several more titles—many found only on Fold3.

Search Native American Records
*Access to the records in the featured collections will be free until Nov 15, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. MT. Free access requires registration for a free Fold3 account. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using a paid Fold3 membership.

One Person’s DNA Ancestry Test Results from Many Sites

One Person’s DNA Ancestry Test Results from Many Sites


Vicki’s note – An article I found on Reddit (which I don’t use) about one person’s experiences and preferences for DNA testing companies. That person’s preferred companies are from first to last in order of the title of their article.  The person seems to be part of an on-line group named r/AncestryDNA – “A place to share your heritage, genetic ancestry, and explore the amazing family stories people have to share!” run by

Remember to take any DNA test results ethnicity with a grain of salt – and companies update your results with increased testing participants affecting the algorithms.  There is also the privacy issue, but DNA tests a great way  to get more clues about your ancestry and help find adopted/unknown family members.

To read the entire article, and the person’s comments on each DNA company – click here

“My DNA Ancestry Test Results from Many Sites (Ancestry, 23andMe, The Genographic Project, Living DNA, Ethnogene, MyHeritage, FTDNA, Insitome, GEDMatch, DNALand, Helix)

Hello all. Like many you, I am a fan of DNA tests that show our ancestral breakdowns. I have tested with every major site, and some more minor ones, too, and wanted to share my results. For reference, I am ethnically 50% Greek, 25% Austrian, and 25% German. I have some other ethnicity mixed into the German quarter from many, many generations back, including English, French, Dutch, Swedish and Welsh (if I built my family tree correctly on Ancestry…), but those only equal roughly 0.5% of my ethnicity combined, and so do not really factor much into my sense of identity.

The title of my post lists the tests more or less in order of how I liked them and considered them to be accurate or not, for me, anyway.

  • In short, I am a fan of Ancestry and 23andMe and would recommend those two above all else….”


Veterans Headstones and Markers

Veterans Headstones and Markers


By Vicki Ruthe Hahn

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) provides free headstones or markers, and some financial reimbursement for veteran’s burial costs.  The current selections may help you to identify your military ancestor’s headstone information and understand more about their military service.  The exact availability and amount of aid is dependent on the veteran’s dates and length of service, and their situation.  The military discharge form DD214 is needed to prove each service re-up period.

For example, my veteran father-in-law did not qualify because he was not in a VA nursing home, and did not have a military pension or compensation (= a monthly disability reimbursement).  My veteran sister will quality because she has a small compensation.

It is easiest to take the military papers to a VA armory Veteran Affairs specialist. As a POA Power of Attorney, I have found the VA bureaucracy paperwork and forms to be very daunting.  The Veteran Affairs staff are very helpful in interpreting the maze to help one  find out how much burial reimbursement a current veteran is entitled to, (etc!)  The amount is minimal – in the hundreds.

Getting into a VA nursing home is very restricted.  There are not many of them, and there are very few rooms.  For at least the one in Madison WI, a veteran has to be within a month or two of dying to be able to be admitted, if there is an opening.  So one will not find many recent ancestors dying in a VA nursing home.  Location of death will be noted on a death certificate.

A veteran may have an additional metal “niche” veteran marker (in the ground) or set onto a private headstone, or they may have a government issued headstone.

“Cleaning and Caring for Government Headstones and Markers

The National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training completed a study in 2011 to evaluate general cleaning needs of marble government-issued headstones. The findings are found in”  Best Practice Recommendations for Cleaning Government-Issued Headstones

Even earlier military ancestors may have a headstone or marker that is more modern, installed later by a descendant.  The VA offers historic headstones (prior to World War I) in addition to the ones pictured  above:

“…two special styles of upright headstones are available for those who served with Union Forces during the Civil War or for those who served in the Spanish-American War.  Another style headstone is available for those who served with the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

…Inscriptions on these headstone types are intentionally limited to assure historic accuracy.  For example, only rank above ‘Private’ was historically authorized; emblems of belief and the words ‘Civil War’ are not authorized.”  Department of Veterans Affairs, National Cemetery Administration, Memorial Products Service.

More information on VA religious emblems can be found on Wikipedia :

“The religious symbols are rendered as simple inscriptions without sculptural relief or coloring other than black. The emblem of belief is an optional feature.[1]

Generally the VA adds a new symbol a few months after receiving a petition from a faith group.[2] However, the Wiccan symbol was only added in 2007 to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of several families by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in November 2006.[2][3][4]

Many of these emblems will not have been available on earlier historic headstones, and more may be available in future years.

“No graphics (logos, symbols, etc.) are permitted on Government-furnished headstones or markers other than the available emblems of belief, the Civil War Union Shield, the Civil War Confederate Southern Cross of Honor, and the Medal of Honor insignias.”  

“The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) furnishes upon request, at no charge to the applicant, a Government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible Veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death.

A Government-furnished headstone or marker may be provided for eligible Veterans who died on or after Nov. 1, 1990 and whose grave is marked with a privately purchased headstone. A Government-furnished medallion may be provided for eligible Veterans who served on or after Apr. 6, 1917 and whose grave is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker.

Flat markers in granite, marble, and bronze and upright headstones in granite and marble are available. Bronze niche markers are also available to mark columbaria used for inurnment of cremated remains. The style chosen must be permitted by the officials in charge of the private cemetery where it will be placed.”

See the entire list of available religious emblems  here – 

“A VA Form 40-1330, Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker must be submitted to request a burial or memorial headstone or marker.”


MANDATORY ITEMS- Legal Name, Branch of Service, Year of Birth, Year of Death, and for State Veterans and National Cemeteries only, the section and grave number. Branches of Service are: U.S. Army (USA), U.S. Navy (USN), U.S. Air Force (USAF), U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF), and other parent organizations authorized for certain periods of time; and special units such as Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), Women’s Air Force Service Pilots (WASP), U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), and National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). …More than one branch of service is permitted, subject to space availability.

OPTIONAL ITEMS – month and day of birth,… month and day of death…, highest rank attained…, awards …, war service…, and emblem of belief …. War service includes active duty service during a recognized period of war and the individual does not have to serve in the actual place of war, e.g., Vietnam may be inscribed if the Veteran served during the Vietnam War period, even though the individual never served in the country. …

ADDITIONAL ITEMS -… appropriate terms of endearment, nicknames (in expressions such as “OUR BELOVED POPPY”), military or civilian credentials or accomplishments such as DOCTOR, REVEREND, etc., and special unit designations such as WOMEN’S ARMY CORPS, ARMY AIR CORPS, ARMY NURSE CORPS or SEABEES. …No graphics, emblems or pictures are permitted except authorized emblems of belief, the Medal of Honor, and the Southern Cross of Honor for Civil War Confederates.”


“Reminiscing – Life Writing Your Story for Posterity to Share With Your Family” AND “Soda Fountains to Robots” Program Oct. 11

“Reminiscing – Life Writing Your Story for Posterity to Share With Your Family” AND “Soda Fountains to Robots” Program Oct. 11


by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

A special Stateline genealogy Club at the Beloit Public Library double program on Friday October 11, 2019 from 10 a.m. – noon.

“Reminiscing – Life Writing Your Story for Posterity to Share With Your Family”, by Vicki Ruthe Hahn

Hands on exercises and suggestions on how to reflect your own life through words, photos, and mapping.  Bring a memento, photo or picture from your past that you want to write about.

Part 2 – AND “Soda Fountains to Robots” – how to create a Family History book, by the author Connie Sveum.

Amusing stories and vignettes of local personalities in local (Beloit WI) family-owned pharmacies with the author.

Books available for purchase and signing.

Opening of MKI Exhibit “Neighbors Past and Present” in MADISON, Oct. 29, Lecture & RECEPTION


Opening of MKI Exhibit “Neighbors Past and          Present” in MADISON,                                                    Oct. 29, Lecture & RECEPTION


Vicki’s note – program announcement forwarded to me by (GIG) German Interest Group, Wisconsin:


Opening ceremony for MKI’s traveling exhibit “Neighbors Past and Present: The Wisconsin German Experience” in Madison. The exhibit will be displayed at the University Club Restaurant, first floor. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Lecture by MKI Director Mark L. Louden on “The German Presence” in Wisconsin at 6:00 p.m. Reception and cash bar.

For more information go to 

or contact Antje Petty:

Cosponsored by the Friends of the Max Kade Institute.

“How DNA Testing Can Help Your Genealogy Research” (WBCGS) Program Oct. 5

“How DNA Testing Can Help Your Genealogy Research”

(WBCGS) Program Oct. 5




Vicki’s Note – an up-coming (WBCGS) Winnebago & Boone Counties Genealogical Society program.

WBCGS Meeting Program –
Saturday, October 5, 2019 – 2:00 – 3:30 pm
“How DNA Testing Can Help Your Genealogy Research”
by Steve Szabados
The Winnebago & Boone Counties Genealogical Society will hold its meeting at RPS Nordlof Center,Medium Multipurpose Room, 118 North Main Street, Rockford, IL, from 2:00 – 3:30 PM on Saturday, October 5, 2019.
Genealogist Steve Szabadoswill explain how DNA research works with traditional genealogical research and how DNA testing has become a popular topic at genealogy meetings. If you have brick walls, DNA testing may give you clues to unlock these secrets. This program should answer some of your questions.
He has given numerous presentations to genealogical groups and libraries in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. His goal is to share his passion for Family History.
Steve is the author of six print books – Basic Genealogy, Write Your Family History, Finding Grandma’s European Ancestors, Polish Genealogy, Memories of Dziadka, Quick Reference to U.S. Census
Records, and Deciphering the 1790-1840 U.S. Census Records. He has also published five eBooks on genealogy.
All interested persons are welcome!
Refreshments will be served.
There is no cost to attend.
For more information, call Wendy at (779) 203-3511.
Visit us on the Web at:
Find us on Facebook:
Thank You,
Kathy Burfield – President, WBCGS
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