As I was entering information into my tree on ancestry.com I started searching for a census that I knew existed (I had seen it before but didn’t have a copy of it saved) but my search led me to a result that I had not expected. What showed was a result on my great great grandfather (Benson Samuel Harris). It was his death certificate.

Death Certificate for Benson Samuel Harris
Death Certificate for S. Benson Harris

This one document that I had never seen before held many of the answers that I’ve been searching for.  It was the PROOF that I needed (other than hearsay) of my great great great grandmothers maiden name as well as the name of my great great great grandfather (Samuel A. Harris). It gave me new reasons to be curious about the “Benson” that I had came to know as on his death certificate his first name is listed as simply an “S”…. S. Benson Harris…. So now I know that this whole time his name has been changing back and forth depending on the document. (Marriage, Death, Census) I learned something new about him, his death certification says that he was NEVER in the US armed forces: this leads me to re-investigate the WWI Draft Registration Card. All of the details are the same (Name, Location, and DOB with the exception of the birth year ~1891 instead of 1891 instead of 1889).

WWI - Draft Registration for Samuel Benson Harris  (Possible Connection)
WWI – Draft Registration for Samuel Benson Harris (Registration State: Pennsylvania; Registration County: York; Roll: 1927083; Draft Board: 2)

*Research Completed*

According to the National Archives website. (link listed below) “It is important to note that not all of the men who registered for the draft actually served in the military and not all men who served in the military registered for the draft.”

“During World War I there were three registrations. The first, on June 5, 1917, was for all men between the ages of 21 and 31.”

If this is my great great grandfather (Samuel Benson Harris) and I truly believe that it is; he would have been among the first to register for the WWI draft.



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