Here's a story I thought some of you might enjoy. Many years ago, I used to relic hunt at the site of Camp Wadsworth in Spartanburg, SC. Among the items I recovered was this old pre-war brass mess spoon. After rinsing off the dirt, I found a serial number stamped into the handle: 1,230,745.
I tried to link a name with the number several times, but without success. The best I could do was place it within the general range issued to the 1st Vermont Infantry (reorganized into the 57th Pioneer Infantry). Just today, I found that Vermont WWI service records are available at archive.org and are fully searchable. Still, no result was found for 1,230,745. I decided to see what searching under 745 would bring up. This led me to one Donald McKenzie, serial number 1,250,745. The fact that this man served in the 57th Pioneers immediately led me to suspect that the number in the book was a typo. After doing some additional checking, I was able to confirm that this beat up old spoon did indeed belong to Sgt. McKenzie.
I suppose it just goes to show that even the most innocuous items can help to recall a life.
On a concluding note, serial number 1,250,745 was issued to Private Theodore Betron of the 107th Field Artillery.