Sources in your home may contain clues for family & military research. Have you explored every possibility?”

SUBHEADING

EXPLORING HOME SOURCES

A home source is a document, photograph, piece of memorabilia, or ephemera that provides clues to the puzzle you are attempting to solve. Search not only your home, but ask relatives to search theirs for clues.

Have you explored all the possible home sources that could provide clues to your military research?

As you search, look for information to help you add structure and details to your soldier’s story.

POSSIBLE HOME SOURCES

Bibles. Within family Bibles, we often find names of family members with dates of birth, marriage, death, and other significant dates like military service.

Company Records. Check with the businesses and companies for which the soldiers worked prior to the war.

Diaries, Letters and Postcards. Did the soldier keep a diary or send letters (V-Mail) home? Were there postcards sent home? The military censored a lot of material in letters and postcards sent home. While these letters will not have some key information we would wish they would, they give us an idea of life as a soldier. Check the envelopes of letters for service numbers and unit information.

MORE HOME SOURCES

Funeral and Cemetery Records. Did you check with the funeral home that handled your ancestor’s burial? If there was a military burial ceremony, proof of service had to be shown. The funeral home’s records may contain proof of military service or a copy of the discharge paperwork.

Home Movies. Did your family take home movies? Do you have any with your soldier in uniform? Are there any taken of parades or war gatherings in the U.S.? What clues do these movies provide?

Military Unit Newsletters or Newspapers. Some units created newsletters or newspapers while overseas as a way to keep the company updated on events or news from home. Often these will provide a date and general location of service which can help you complete a timeline of service.

Pension Records. Pension records from the military or an employer may provide clues to military service, addresses, and work and military history.

Probate Records. Probate records may seem more like a genealogical record to pursue, but depending on what assets the deceased had and to whom these assets were left, you may discover military information. Probate records usually contain Heir Testimony or lists of heirs, which will help you establish family histories. There also might be clues regarding the gravestone.

State-Level War Participation Certificate. It was common for a soldier to return to his home after the war ended before possibly moving elsewhere.

World War II Bonus Applications. After World War II, the government provided a bonus payment for service overseas. These bonus applications are often found within state archival holdings. Some, for states like Pennsylvania, have been digitized and placed online. The Bonus Application would have been filed in the state in which the soldier lived after service. Check with your State Archives regarding holdings and access. In some states, these records are open and available. In other states, like Illinois, laws restrict access for many more years.

Would You Like More?

Download our Military Home Source Checklist and start searching today!

Schedule a Free Research Consult Today!

Email Jennifer!

  • Military Quick Guides
  • Genealogy Books
  • Military Writing Books
  • In-depth Military Research Books

MILITARY RESEARCH BOOKS

Have you researched the service of your World War II Soldier, Airman, Sailor, Marine, or Civilian? If not, why? What’s stopping you from learning what your soldier did in the war? The 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis? If that is what is holding you back, you should know there are many resources to reconstruct your soldier’s service history.

No matter what branch of service or war your family member served in, there are resources to help you learn how to do the research step-by-step and also write the story. Everything taught in these books, while WWII based – applies to WWI, Korea, and Vietnam also.

This month start working on your research and writing with three great resources. You will not find books that walk you through the steps of your WWI, WWII, Korea or Vietnam service member military research anywhere else. I have written and published more than 20 books to help guide your genealogy and military research and writing.

Pick your copies up today and explore my website for full examples of military documents and files, and additional free resources for research and writing. Feel free to share your favorite website resource in the comments!

Our books are available on bol.com in Europe and also Amazon around the world.

Explore all 20+ of our books on the website.

Stories from the World War II Battlefield Volume 1: Reconstructing Army, Air Corps, and National Guard Service Records

Stories from the World War II Battlefield Volume 2: Navigating Service Records for the Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Merchant Marines

Stories from the World War II Battlefield Volume 3: Writing the Stories of War

Faces of War: Researching Your Adopted Soldier A book specifically for the ABMC grave adopters in Europe!


HIRE US TO RESEARCH YOUR VETERAN

Contact us for information and to set up your free phone consultation today!

© 2020 Research A Veteran

Today, 75 years ago, my cousin James Privoznik was Killed In Action during the Battle of the Bulge.

James Privoznik, right

James entered my life in 2012 after I moved out and was preparing to get a divorce. Raising my boys, creating my business into something more than it was, he was there to help guide me, bring people (both living and dead) into my life to help me shift from a genealogy business to create the military business I run today. He brought some trials into my life to see how strong I was. He brought adventure and travel into my life to walk with me where he served, fought, and died. And he brought love into my life – my now husband Johan arrived in Chicago on the anniversary of James’ death to meet me. The rest is history which you can read in my memoir, I Bring Dead Guys Home.

In the spring of 2015 I went to Europe the first time to walk in James’ footsteps. To fly his final burial flag over the Luxembourg Cemetery where he’s buried. And, to walk in the woods where he was killed. I questioned then, as I do now, how can you love someone so much you never met? I feel that way about James. He had such an impact on my life, long after his death. He remained with me until 2017 before I got married, and asked to be sent to the Light. I did as he requested and helped him cross over. It was a beautiful moment. He does appear now and then, but not like he used to. Our primary journey was complete and we helped each other heal on so many levels.

Jennifer Holik at Luxembourg Cemetery after flying James’ flag

I remember James often and talk about him when I teach, but today especially, I light a candle for him and thank him again for entering my life. For loving me so fully. For bringing me all the people and opportunities that I needed to create what the world required. To help me heal and grow. To help me learn lessons that are still helping me create what the world needs even today. James is a gift that keeps on giving in big and small ways.

Would you like to know more? You can read James’ story in my book Stories of the Lost.

Disclaimer – the book link is an affiliate link. It does not affect the price you pay.

© 2020 Research A Veteran

Seize Your Training!


In 2020 I am teaching my military research webinars one final time. I have chosen to focus on other areas of the military and family story this year.

The webinar registration links for the final military research webinars I’m teaching are now live. If you are interested in learning how to do WWI, WWII, Korea or Vietnam War research, I encourage you to register for Part 1 and Part 2 today. Everything I teach applies to all four wars.

If you have someone from any war who is still MIA or died while in service, you will also want to register for the Prisoners, The Missing and The Dead.

This is the final time I am teaching these classes. I’m soon to release the webinar registration for the family secrets and ancestral healing classes.

Please feel free to share this with your genealogy groups as no one else in the country is teaching military research in this way. I created the research strategies and process and give you a clear path to finding the answers.

Webinar: Researching Individual Military Service 11 January (Part 1 of the research process) https://www.wwiieducation.com/explore-indservice-jan2020

Webinar: Military Service in Context 1 February (Part 2 of the research process – you need to take part 1 as that info will not be repeated and is necessary.) https://www.wwiieducation.com/finding-the-answers-wwii-serv…

Webinar: The Prisoners, The Missing & The Dead 15 February https://www.wwiieducation.com/prisoners-missing-dead-webinar

 

Can I Help You?

 
 

You can also sign-up for our free newsletter and receive the Start Writing Your Military Story Today free!

 

Can I help you with your research?

Are you ready to learn the bigger picture of your family member’s military service? Email us at info@wwiirwc.com to set up your free phone consultation today to discuss project options, fees, and time.

© 2020 Jennifer Holik

 
 
 
 

I am excited to announce that registration is open for my new 2020 short story writing groups! These groups began in January 2020 and will have a rolling enrollment as space is available.

A 6-month commitment is required. Be sure to watch the video in the registration page to learn more about why writing is transformational for your research, life, and family.

Roots and War Writers Group

Two exclusive writing groups limited to 8 people.

Two date/time options for participation.

Roots and War Writers Group will help participants take their stories, articles, and blog posts, to a deeper level by exploring topics beyond the basics of genealogy or military history.

View additional details and register here.

 

© 2020 World War II Research and Writing Center

“The most common question I get from people is, “Why aren’t all the records and resources I need to research my military service member, free and online?”

MOST COMMONLY USED SITES

Additional Resources

  • U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center
  • Pritzker Military Museum & Library.
  • Internet Archive
  • Library of Congress
  • University Library Special Collections. Search special collections in the cities and states where your soldier lived after the war.
  • Research libraries.  Many have finding aids to help researchers locate information.
  • Genealogical and historical societies. Most towns, counties, and states have societies that hold some information.
  • Local libraries. There are many small libraries around the country that do not have the staff or money to digitize their collections. Are you communicating with this resource?
  • European and PTO researchers. Did you know there are many hobbyist researchers in Europe and the Pacific Theater who have amassed a large amount of information? 

THE MYTH & CHANGING THE DISCUSSION


Military research is a combination of online and offline research, which allows us to tell a more complete story about a soldier, sailor, or Marine’s service. The most common thought from most people we encounter at the World War II Research and Writing Center, is that all the records and resources you need are all free and online.

This is not reality.

Read my article, Why WWII Research Is Not Free to learn more.

We observe conversations on social media that insist all the records are available online and if they aren’t, you don’t need them. The same handful of websites are referred to again and again. People get stuck because the information isn’t online, they get frustrated, and often quit. Instead, why not consider working with a researcher (yes you will pay for this service) and using a variety of sources?

Why don’t we also change the discussion? What would it take for those die hard folks who insist it is all free and online to step back and see there are many ways to conduct research? And for the research community as a whole, why not recognize there are many more resources available than the ones commonly suggested?

Changing the Discussion

Did you know there are many more websites available where people can locate pieces of their soldier, sailor, or Marine’s service history?

Each website you visit, each book you pick up, each record you analyze, each story you hear or photo you view that belongs to your family, adds a piece to the entire puzzle. Each piece allows you to view that soldier’s history in historical context. Only exploring the limited information online does not allow for the fuller picture to emerge. So where can we find more information that no one is talking about? Start thinking outside the box of where to locate information.

Additional Resources

The resources presented here will hopefully start you thinking along a new path for research. Need more suggestions?  Books to help you learn how to research online and offline. Visit our book section to see all the military research books Jennifer has written. While WWII based – the strategies, records, and tips also apply to WWI, Korea and Vietnam.

We are industry leaders.

Are you ready to learn the bigger picture of your family member’s military service?

Check out our Researching WWII Online webinar. This webinar gives you the tools to research any 20th century war.

Email us at info@wwiirwc.com to set up your free phone consultation today to discuss project options, fees, and time.

You can also sign-up for our free newsletter and receive the Start Writing Your Military Story Today free!

© 2020 Jennifer Holik

 

Many of the clients who work with me over the last few years have sought deeper answers. They come to the research consultation with family stories, secrets, perhaps lies they discovered. They come with questions wondering who really was my father or mother? Sometimes the research itself provides secrets that were hidden for decades, or answers that change the perception a client has on their family member or even, themselves. This can cause grief, a sense of loss, sense of abandonment, trigger PTSD, and many other things.

Research Services

We offer many research and writing services. Each project is customized for the client because each client has different needs.

  • Locate, analyze, and interpret World War I, World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam records across all branches for military personnel, including individual soldier records, company records, and unit records.
  • Reconstruct service history, placing pieces of your service member’s puzzle together, even when the records burned! We find the answers where other firms do not.
  • Help you locate information you didn’t realize you had and sort out your family stories.
  • Help you process the emotions that rise through your family stories, the research, and final results.
  • Help you plan a trip to Europe to walk in your soldier’s footsteps.
    • Connect you with researchers and tour guides in Europe to learn more about your soldier’s story or visit the battlefields.
    • Can’t visit Europe? We can go where you soldier was to document the journey.
  • Write and publish a book about your family or soldier or assist you with the project.

So What is Upgraded?

Many of our clients discover things through the research they did not know or that changes what they knew. We now offer resources to clients from the start of the project, to help them process what they learn.

First, not every client receives news from the research that changes their world or shatters the image of their family member. I am seeing a rise in what clients require for support over the last two years and feel resources are necessary. To learn more about this, you can read two articles I recently wrote. More details from the Zoom professionals calls will be coming as new resources are developed within the group.

Each new client will receive an intake type of worksheet asking them to write notes about their project, their family member and themselves. I encourage this at the start of the project. Some clients will learn things they were not expecting, so having a baseline to refer to later is helpful in processing their emotions and the new information.

Additionally, each client will receive an exit worksheet asking similar and different questions to help them to continue processing the information learned. Where necessary, additional resources will be provided.

For clients who would like a more personalized approach to understanding and working through the research, I offer one-one facilitation sessions where we focus on your research, the results, your stories, what it brought up for you, and we move through this in various ways. Explore our Facilitation Services to learn more.

Disclaimer: I am not a therapist and that is not my role in the facilitation. I can provide resources but they should not be taken as medical advice. Some clients with disturbing and life altering results may need to seek professional help to work through things.

Can I help you with your research?

Are you ready to learn the bigger picture of your family member’s military service? Email us at info@wwiirwc.com to set up your free phone consultation today to discuss project options, fees, and time. You can also sign-up for our free newsletter and receive the Start Writing Your Military Story Today free!

© 2019 Jennifer Holik

Why Use Themes?

  • They help you organize thoughts.
  • Secondly, they help you create interview questions.
  • Thirdly, they may guide a family gathering and conversation.
  • Fourth, they create an outline for a story or book.

Writing Themes

My invitation to you:

Take these writing themes and craft some interview or journaling questions around them. See where each leads you and begin to craft your story.  Download a writing theme worksheet to get you started!


Top 10 U.S. Writing Themes

Prompt Themes for United States Writers

  • Life on the Home Front Before, During & After the War
  • Community Impact
  • Women in the War
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Communication
  • Propaganda
  • War Orphans, War Widows, and Adoptions
  • Remembrance of the Fallen
  • Honoring the Veterans
  • Memories of Post-War Generations

Top 10 European Writing Themes

 

  • Life Before, During & After the War
  • Occupation or Annexation
  • Propaganda
  • Resistance
  • Persecution
  • War Orphans and Adoptions
  • Memories of the Post-War Generations
  • Preserving the Memories
  • Memorials and Monuments
  • Liberation Ceremonies

© 2019 Jennifer Holik

Let Us Help


Are you ready to learn the bigger picture of your family member’s military service?

Email us at  info@wwiirwc.com to set up your free phone consultation today to discuss project options, fees, and time.


 

 

 

 

I’m taking several classes around ancestral lineage healing, grief, loss, boundaries, and embodiment. Some of this is for myself and some of it is for my clients. Family and military history for many people today is not just about names, dates, and places or battles fought. There are deeper issues, lies, secrets, questions, unknowns that my clients seek answers and closure to.

If you would like to know more about my work check out my websites that focus on educational materials, deeper questions, online courses and webinars. Consider joining the email lists to be the first to know about upcoming new programs.

Learn how I can help you

Are you ready to learn the bigger picture of your family member’s military service? There are many ways we can help you with research – we offer full service history research, we can help with evaluating what you have to prepare a research plan for you to do some of it yourself, we can help you write the stories. Just email us at the address below to schedule a free phone consult to discuss options.

Want to travel in your service member’s footsteps? We are a firm with not only hands-on document experience but also travel experience and can connect you with a guide or suggest places to stay and visit. We are taking new clients and can help you find the answers and tell a deeper story about your family member. Email us at info@wwiirwc.com to set up your free phone consultation today to discuss project options, fees, and time.

© 2019 Jennifer Holik

 

 

WHY SEARCH ONLINE?

Many of the records you will need to reconstruct military service are not online, but you may find a lot of puzzle pieces to help you move the research forward and connect some dots. Here are my top 10 techniques to help you.


  1. Use quotes around exact phrases you wish to search. “James Privoznik” is an example.
  2. Search by name and serial/service number. Try James Privoznik 36640529, or just the number. Usually the results will come from the NARA Enlistment Database, if the soldier enlisted in the Army. Sometimes it will come from articles or blog posts, unless records have been indexed.
  3. Use specific and unique terms. Try 90th Infantry Division, 358th Infantry WWII, 90th Division WWII, or any combination.
  4. Try the wildcard using the * symbol. WWII* or Privoznik*
  5. Change your search preferences to search a specific date range of items posted online. For example, maybe you are looking for a person and only articles posted this year or a specific date range of 2012-2014.
  6. Search for the name of a group using different spellings. For example, the 100th Bomb Group was called the Bloody Hundredth or Bloody 100th. Searching all three options may provide different search results.
  7. For Army Air Forces, try searching for the name or number of the plane flown, the name of a pilot, or names of bomb crew members. Search for collaterals – those people your service member served with.
  8. Search for names of bridges taken, battles fought, cities bombed, specific Hills (and their numbers).
  9. Try a specific group and the name of a military report you wish to locate. For example, 100th Bomb Group Mission Report, 90th Division After Action Report, or 327 Engineer Morning Reports.
  10. Creatively search the results that appear in a search. Digitized materials are prepared by Optical Character Recognition (OCR.) OCR picks up approximately 80% of the words in a scanned document, which leaves a lot of room for researchers to miss key records. This happens more in military documents which are blurry, damaged from weather, fire, water, or other reasons, or were not in great condition when they were originally scanned. Not all military records, regardless of archive from which they come, look like they were just printed off a laser printer.

 

 

ARE YOU READY TO START SEARCHING ONLINE?

Websites change every day. Be sure to document what sites you visit and what you discovered or did not discover. Maybe the most important tip I can give you is:

Download every single file you find. It might disappear tomorrow.

 

 

Best in the Industry

Are you ready to learn the bigger picture of your family member’s military service?

Email us at  info@wwiirwc.com to set up your free phone consultation today to discuss project options, fees, and time.

You can also sign-up for our free newsletter and receive the Start Writing Your Military Story Today free!

© 2019 Jennifer Holik

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