Ancestry Search Leads to Correction at Arlington

ARLINGTON, Va. (EYT) – In 1922, Roy L. Reinsel was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, but the stone on his grave had an engraver’s error that would take nearly a century to be corrected.

(Pictured above: Roy Reinsel’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery. Submitted by the family.)

Born in 1893, Reinsel grew up in Strattanville. During World War I, Private Reinsel served in France with the 15th Engineer Battalion, but was killed in 1918 and buried in Chaumont, France. In 1922, some soldiers buried overseas were brought back to the United States, and Private Reinsel was re-interred at Arlington. However, an error led to his name being spelled Reinset. The information was correct on all his other forms.

This error remained unchanged until a distant relative stumbled upon the grave doing an internet search into his family’s history.

Dylan Reinsel wanted to know more about his family, and a list of Reinsels buried with military honors led him to the discovery.

“My great-grandpa, who I was able to meet, died when I was nine,” Dylan Reinsel recalled. “He was a World War II veteran, and that’s how I came across the list. I was going through the list and saw ‘Arlington.’”

Reinsel did some research on Ancestry.com. That great-grandfather, Chippy, as Reinsel called him, was Roy’s cousin. Looking up the grave on Arlington’s website, Reinsel noticed the spelling error.

“There’s a certificate of internment, which shows all his information, and it was all correct on the card,” Reinsel said. “All the numbers match, but whoever engraved the stone made the mistake.”

The modern Reinsel contacted Arlington. With a little back-and-forth, he was able to get the correction in the works.

“It takes four to six weeks,” he said. “They were very helpful. As the pinnacle of honor, they wanted to make the fix. They’ll get a whole new stone with the right name. My biggest concern is that he was remembered properly. It’s one letter off, but we can get the letter right.”

Chippy’s grandfather and Roy’s grandfather were brothers. When Roy died at 25, his parents, Guy and Agnes, had already passed away. A brother, Ralph, is listed on Roy’s documents. This branch of Reinsels is hoping to go visit the grave once COVID-19 restrictions lift.

“My dad, grandpa, and I want to go see it when COVID is over,” Dylan Reinsel said. “My primary focus is to make people aware of him. He was a hero from Clarion.”

The picture of the headstone from the Arlington website.

The picture of the headstone from the Arlington website.

Arlington National Cemetery’s website has the ability to search for those buried there. Anyone interested in finding where relatives are buried can use that search function to locate the graves and even see a picture.

As for Private Roy Reinsel’s grave, the picture still has “Reinset” on the stone. But in a few weeks, a 98-year-old error will finally be corrected.


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