by Delia

December 7, 1941, termed by Franklin Roosevelt as “a day that will live in infamy,” saw the deaths of 2500 Americans and the injury of 1200 others. The events of that day resulted in the United States participation in the war that was already raging in Europe. There is a great deal written about the events of that day, in books, in periodicals and, now, online, with many opinions concerning what actions led up to the attack, and the results that followed.

As a genealogist, I am more interested in the toll on the people who were serving in the military and endured the attack. First-hand accounts abound, many owned by The Genealogy Center for those researching or just interested. One interesting source for Pearl Harbor research is the “Pearl Harbor Muster Rolls” on Fold3. Each ship and section is divided by year, then by date of muster. Before the war, muster was usually taken quarterly, an alphabetical list providing name, service number, date of enlistment, rank and when the service man had arrived. The Report of Changes provided name, service number, date and place of enlistment and any changes to the service man’s status, including reassignment, illness or death. The September 30, 1941 Muster Roll for the USS Arizona is 38 pages of names, from to Hubert Aaron to Loyd M. Zimmerman. The December 31st Muster Roll has only one page, with the Report of Changes for December 7th and December 31st which contains a total of 83 pages, with most of the changes listed as: “Missing since action against enemy, Dec, 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor; next of Kin not notified,” including Hubert Aaron and Loyd M. Zimmerman.

Of course, these rolls and changes are not solely about the attack. Muster rolls from the 1930s and throughout the war are included. If you have a serviceman in the South Pacific during World War II, this is an excellent source of information. But all of us should think about the many lives lost that day. Each had a name. On this anniversary, get to know a few.