WWI Photo – Wounded 32nd Division Captain Poses in Paris Studio on Christmas 1918

Wounded soldier photos are some of the hardest photos to find in the collecting field.  Often times a collector will come across a photo of a veteran wearing a wound chevron, or occasionally a shot of a soldier with a cane.  In this case, I was able to pick up a grouping of photos taken at a Paris photo studio showing an assortment of wounded vets who recently were treated at a local Paris hospital.  They hobbled over to a studio on Christmas day of 1918 to have their photos taken.  These shots were some of the most expensive I’ve ever purchased, but they were well worth the investment.  This is the more subdued of the four photos, but took me a long time to research and I wanted to post it for the internet community.

Albert E. Haan poses on Christmas Day 1918

Albert E. Haan poses on Christmas Day 1918

I was tipped off by a Dutch friend of mine (thanks Rogier!) that his photo may be of a Dutch-American given his last name of Haan.  Starting with the basic ancestry.com search of a name and hometown I was able to find a few bits of info.  His name was Albert Haan and was born in 1893.  I had to search a bit to find the census records for him, as they were listed under a misinterpreted/transcribed name of Hoan.  Anyway it appears that Albert became an Army informant for the Veterans Association after the war.  He is listed in a 1922 court case where he (and another veteran from my photo grouping) is listed as an informant.  Anway, he is listed as being employed by the US Army in the 1920 Census and is shown as having a wife named Frances L and a daughter named Frances L.  His daughter was only 2 months old at the time of the census.  His wife appear to have been born around the turn of the century.  He is listed as having been born in Holland in his earlier census entry, but mysteriously switched his place of birth to Michigan in the 1910 and 1920 census.  He must’ve been able to hide his accent!

His Veterans Affairs death file lists the following:

Name: Albert Haan
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 12 Mar 1893
Death Date: 30 Nov 1986
SSN: 234014340
Enlistment Date 1: 13 May 1910
Release Date 1: 12 Mar 1914
Enlistment Date 2: 15 Jul 1917
Release Date 2: 24 May 1920

Sounds like he served early in 1910 and was released in 1914.  He likely served with the Michigan National Guard at this point.  He re-enlisted in 1917 and served until may of 1920 with the Army.

He had one daughter named Frances who was born in Washington D.C. in 1920.  Albert was shipped back to the States in 1919 and was busy rehabilitating at Walter Reed Hospital between 1919 and 1920.  Sounds like he had at least one “special visit”.  He also had a son named Carl in 1922 while living in Washington D.C.

At some point the family moved from Washington D.C. to West Virgina where they apparently spent the rest of their lives.  The daughter, Frances Louise Haan appears in the 1939 and  1940 University of West Virginia yearbooks and can be seen below. Quite the stunner for 1940!

1940 UWV Morgantown

1940 UWV Morgantown

Frances Haan 1939

Frances Haan 1939

Frances Haan

Frances Haan 1940


I wonder if Frances is still alive?  I can’t find any info on her past 1941.  Ancestry.com has no information regarding her marriage or future life. She may still be alive and may be able to shed some light onto her father’s war service.  I hope a family member finds this post!

Carl J Haan is harder to track down.  I do know he enlisted for the US Army in July of 1942.  He was surprisingly listed as an actor as a profession!  This is the first time I’ve seen this!

Name: Carl J Haan
Birth Year: 1922
Race: White, citizen (White)
Nativity State or Country: Dist of Columbia
State of Residence: West Virginia
County or City: Kanawha
Enlistment Date: 1 Jul 1942
Enlistment State: Kentucky
Enlistment City: Fort Thomas Newport
Branch: Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA
Branch Code: Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA
Grade: Private
Grade Code: Private
Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
Component: Army of the United States – includes the following: Voluntary enlistments effective December 8, 1941 and thereafter; One year enlistments of National Guardsman whose State enlistment expires while in the Federal Service; Officers appointed in the Army of
Source: Civil Life
Education: 2 years of college
Civil Occupation: Actors and actresses
Marital Status: Single, without dependents
Height: 70
Weight: 168


Amazingly he served in the US Army Air Force in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam!  Quite the lineage!  This family continues to surprise me.  Sadly he passed away on March 22nd, 2000 and is buried in Cameron Memory Gardens in Cameron, MO.  His wife Eleanor passed away in 2002.

Name: Carl J. Haan
SSN: 232-24-6283
Last Residence: 64469  Maysville, Dekalb, Missouri, United States of America
Born: 4 Apr 1922
Died: 22 Mar 2000
State (Year) SSN issued: North Carolina or West Virginia (Before 1951)


WWI RPPC Photo – African-American Infantry Doughboy William M. Richardson of Washington, D.C. Posed in France


Reverse Side

Reverse Side

The hidden treasures of the eBay world still turn up genealogical treasures with a bit of background research.  A recent auction listing provided me with a solid base for some in-depth research.  I actually timed myself on this one – it took me exactly 1 hour and 32 minutes to research this piece from beginning to end.

Mr. William Maccihammer Richardson of 814 Michigan Ave, Washington D.C. enlisted for the draft on June 5th, 1917 at the age of 24.  He had a dependent mother and presumably a deceased /absent father.  William, according to his draft registration card, was already in the service of the War Department and was likely added to the roster of the 93rd Division.  The 93rd was comprised of National Guard units from New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and Massachusetts.  I’m assuming he was in the 93rd Division given the presence of his infantry regiment crossed rifle cap insignia and his military service in D.C.  He was a messenger before the war while working for the War Department in Washington, so it’s an easy jump assume he served in a similar role with an infantry regiment of the 93rd.  William was one of over 1,000,000 African-American men to register for the draft and one of only 370,000 to be inducted into the army.


CSI Style Signature Comparison

Those familiar with WWI draft cards will notice the clipped corners.  This was required of men of color in order to easily pick them out during draft board review.  It was apparently  a common practice that I was not aware of until researching this image.

Richardson Draft Card

1917 Draft Card

The next definite genealogical entry I found for William puts him in District 221 of Washington, D.C. in the census of 1930.  His entry is easily misread as a William N. Richardson.  He is shown as being married to a Mary E. Richardson.  His profession is listed as being a Chauffeur with the U.S. Government – another link to his prewar position.

1930 Census Record

1930 Census Record

In the 1940 census record, William is listed as being a chauffeur for a private family.  His yearly income is $1,700 – almost exactly the average annual income of $1,900 in 1940.  He lived in an apartment building in Block No. 18 of Washington and had two “lodgers” living with him and his wife.  June and Cleo Adams were sisters to Mary E. Richardson.


The last and final genealogical reference to Mr. Richardson comes in the form of a death registration.  William died at the ripe age of 81 on June 3rd, 1973.  The trail ends with his death, but the possibilities for future research lay wide open.  Which unit did he serve with?  Did he see direct combat?  How did he meet Ms. Adams?


WWI Wounded 78th Division Soldier – Exciting Research Update!

I’ve been recently turned on to the magic of ancestry.com, one of the best tools for researching WWI images I’ve yet to discover. I decided to start a search for one of the names written on the back of one of my better WWI images. Alex Lindell poses in his WWI French portrait photo showing off his missing finger – likely a battle wound received on October 18th, 1918 while he was with the 309th Infantry Regiment (78th Division) during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. After a search of draft cards through the National Archives, I came across a pair of WWI and WWII draft cards with the presumed identity of Alex Lindell. After comparing the signatures on both my photo and the draft cards, I realized I had a match! Success! His ASN was 2451963.


Alex served in Company H, 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Division and was originally born in Oeland, Finland but eventually ended up in Brooklyn, NY. He was born on May 5th, 1889 and passed away just shy of the age of 61 on April 11th. 1950 where he was buried in Long Island National Cemetery. He was listed as being severely wounded in action on October 18th, 1918 where he presumably lost his finger as seen in the below photo.



Photo Colorized by the Photo Alchemist

Signature on Obverse

WWI Draft Card

WWII Draft Card

Signatures Compared


Alexander’s WWI Veterans Burial Card
Footage of the 78th Division during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive