Family History Research

Losing a Son – day 2

This is the text from the telegram received by Michael’s parents telling of his death. Until I received the Burial File we had no idea how he actually died.

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Treasure Chest Thursday – The Pain of Losing a Son in World War I

In a past post, I wrote about World War I Burial Files and researching the story of my great grand uncle, Michael Kokoska. I also posted about a book called Soldier Dead How We Recover, Identify, Bury, & Honor our Military Fallen by Michael Sledge. This book is available on Google Books via a preview only.  I received the book through inter-library loan yesterday and after reading only part of the introduction, will now purchase the book so it remains part of my library.

Today I would like to share with you a piece of the Burial File for Michael. This is one of a few letters written by his father, Joseph Kokoska, to the Quartermaster, asking about his son’s body. I share this one letter with you today because part of a paragraph in Sledge’s book brought tears to my eyes, as did reading Michael’s Burial File, especially the letters from his parents. I have never lost a child and can only imagine the pain they must have felt.  From Michael’s book when discussing with friends if the “end” to searching for our fall should happen due to all the money the government spends on the searches, “And in those times when I shared my research and thoughts with friends of a more gentle persuasion, often the mother of a young man or woman, I observed the faraway look that came over the face of a parent envisioning, if for only a moment, the horror of losing a child and, even worse, not even having a body to grieve over and lay to rest.” (Sledge, Michael. Soldier Dead How We Recover, Identify, Bury, & Honor our Military Fallen. NY: Columbia University Press, 2005. Page 4.

The letter below is two pages.  Watch my blog for more posts about Sledge’s book and more pieces of Michael’s Burial File. If you have a World War I ancestor who died, I highly recommend you read the post about how to acquire those records.

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Need some help

I am trying to find a resource online regarding the burial process of World War I soldiers in France so I can finish the life story of my Michael Kokoska and submit it for publication. I have Googled lots of search options and am not finding what I want. Has anyone come across a resource I can use?

I put in a request for a book through Interlibrary Loan called Soldier Dead so I will have that resource, but if I am able to find something sooner, that would be great. I’m feeling the momentum to get this finished.


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