The Soldiers of the Great War (SGW) volumes are a unique source for images of soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. However, there are important limitations to SGW:
The SGW authors acknowledged that they were unable to obtain pictures of all of the fallen soldiers, and since the book is a collection of the images they were able to obtain, soldiers without available photographs did not appear in the collection.
The indexing is SGW is limited. It is very difficult to locate the specific image of any soldier listed. The index groups soldiers by state, then cause of death or injury, and then rank. But the soldiers’ entries are not in the order of the index, and the index does not indicate the page of the soldier’s picture, if there is one. Therefore, several state projects have indexed the pictures separately, as we have done here.
An additional complication is that, since the records are grouped by state, and since the location of residence is the location provided by the soldier at the time of enlistment, a soldier who grew up in a New York State community, and whose name appears on a memorial in that community, may actually be listed in a chapter for another state, if that was the most recent state of residence.
Resources for Further Research
The New York State Archives maintains an online index of Records Relating to World War I. This is a good place to start.
Another resource, which normally requires a paid subscription but which is available at no charge at many libraries, is Ancestry.com. This service has a comprehensive database on World War I soldiers, including an indexed database of Soldiers of the Great War.