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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mathew Ben Rivers - World War I Hero

Genealogy can be a very rewarding hobby but, until the advent of the Internet, the research needed to find information, beyond what was stored in the family's attic, was a long and slow process. If the ancestor's you were researching happened to have lived in a far away place it was even slower and more limited unless you had the time and money necessary to travel to those places and spend days going through files in libraries, courthouses and other records depositories.

However, with the Internet the process is becoming much easier since much of it can be done from your computer.

While not an ancestor of mine, I became interested in Mathew Juan after seeing the following inscription on a monument dedicated to him in Sacaton, Arizona:

Dedicated to the Memory of
Co, K 28th Infantry
First Arizonan
Killed in the
World War
Battle of Cantingy
May 28, 1918

Prior to seeing this inscription, I had never heard of him. But my curiosity was aroused and, following about twenty hours of research on my computer over a three day weekend I came up with sufficient information to publish the following article on HubPages:

Mathew B. Juan – Native American Hero of World War I

Of course, I also came up with a mystery which I have yet to solve and that is why did he choose to enlist and serve under the name of Mathew B. Rivers? The answer given in all the information I found about him was that he was below the minimum age to enlist so he used a different last name when he enlisted. However, as I pointed out in my article, that argument does not make sense for a number of reasons which I explain in the article.

In the course of my research I came across the following sites for genealogical research:

Funeral Records from Fisher Funeral Home in Casa Grande, Arizona 1920 - 1929

Passenger Lists and other information for Cunard Lines

World War I Casualty List of soldiers from Oklahoma who died when SS Tuscania was sunk by a German U Boat on Feb 5, 1918

U.S. National Archives site for accessing and ordering military records. an online archive of genealogical records

Casa Grande, Arizona Library Newspaper Archive - free access to archive of Casa Grande, Arizona newspapers from early part of 20th century.

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