Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tips to Researching WWI War Brides

Did Your WWI Veteran Marry Overseas?
There are plenty of WWII sources for researching war brides, but a WWI search can be challenging in the USA.Over ten thousand American soldiers married overseas during WWI. So how can you find your ancestors' records?

“War bride” is the common term used to define foreign marriages of soldiers. These marriages took place overseas, and since the law stated “women could be American citizens by marriage,” these newlyweds were protected and transported to America by the American Government. Reference Female Ancestor Citizenship Confusion? Part II.

What to expect? 
Passport Application by Wife
An Application by the Wife of a Member of the Naval, or Military Forces of the US for a Certificate to Depart for the United States gives in-depth genealogical information of your ancestor. has digitized a collection of "Applications of Wives of Members of the AEF in Europe, 1919 - 1920. This collection is part of the US Consular Posts.

Emergency Passport Applications issued to brides for US Transport may also assist in learning more. And may even hold a photo of the bride. For more information read Passport Applications.

Emergency Passport Application
Ship Manifests 
You may locate the ship manifests that recorded the bride and even children born overseas. Begin your search with the Ellis Island ship manifests.

Overseas Marriage Licenses
Researchers often bypass the task of looking for an overseas marriage license. But this license holds a wealth of genealogical data on both your veteran and the bride. Be sure to scour your veteran's service record; but it may also be attached to the brides passport or naturalization record. 

For More Information
Be sure to read 12 Resources for Researching WWI Overseas Marriages for more information and a comprehensive list of research tips.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers


  1. Thanks for this post Kathleen. I have a WW1 war bride in my tree. Have found her in a ship manifest for her initial trip to America. But these other resources I will need to research. Thanks for providing the options that I need to consider!

    1. Dear Kenneth Marks, I'm writing a book about WW1 war brides and would be interested to hear about your ancestor. Please get in touch? All best, Gill Paul

  2. I am struggling to find additional information about my GG Grandmother who was a WWI war bride. I have found her ship manifest, but would love to find her marriage license. What other resources should I look thru? Thank you. (She was Jewish and my GG Grandfather a spy)

    1. Ashley, I have you located her emergency passport? Often marriage information is on it. On what document did she travel to the USA? You will also want to check your
      GG Grandfather's military records and govt records. You may find something about him on A copy of his marriage license may be in his military record. Be sure to check all the collections in this post.