Searching for Harold Roberts

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The letter to CGS didn’t use these words but the message was clear:
find Corporal Harold W. Roberts.

Periodically the California Genealogical Society and Library receives a research request that morphs into a group project. In this case the letter came from Gary McMaster, director and curator of the Camp Roberts Historical Museum. He was looking for Harold Roberts, the World War I soldier posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, for whom the camp is named.

Camp Roberts is a one-time Army base, now National Guard training facility, off U.S. 101 about half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Originally called Camp Nacimiento, the name was changed even before it became operational during World War II. It is the only U.S. facility named in honor of an enlisted man.

Gary McMaster, Retired Army Sergeant First Class, has been on a mission to find out all he can about Roberts. He first contacted CGS last summer with the letter that said in part:

“We would like to find out about any of his family and try to find out whatever happened to his parents and his Medal of Honor. We also would like to find any photographs of him, as we have none. The large painting we have in his exhibit in the Museum… is an artist’s impression. We would like to know what he actually looked like.”

The Paso Robles Gazette did a story about McMasters and the planned exhibit on Roberts, but no mention was made of the efforts of the research team at the California Genealogical Society. I thought I should set the record straight.

Read the entire series:

  • Part 2 — Roberts: What We Found
  • Part 3 — Roberts’ Battlefield Letter
  • Part 4 — A Face for Harold Roberts
  • Part 5 — A Hero’s Final Resting Place



  1. Anonymous  April 29, 2008

    Projects like this one bring our members together to solve a problem but the best part is that we have so much fun in the process…one of the main reasons I belong to the California Genealogical Society!
    jane lindsey (CGS president with no ancestors west of New York!)

  2. Sam Morgan  July 25, 2009

    Corporal Roberts saved my great grandfather, Virgil Morgan. I am eternally greatful for his bravery and self-sacrifice. – Sam Morgan