There is a valuable resource that was recently added to Ancestry.com. The U.S. Hospital Admission Card Files, 1942-1954. The information contained may help you piece together some of your family member’s puzzle. However, there is a catch……

This database describes itself in part,

The files contain records pertaining to some 5.3 million patients, mostly U.S. Army personnel wounded in battle during World War II and the Korean War. The World War II records include only Army personnel treated at Army facilities, but the Korean War records include a few records (approximately 5 percent) for non-Army personnel and non-Army treatment facilities (approximately 4 percent).

Here’s the issue……the database only contains, as it states, those who were in a hospital. The full data set at NPRC in St. Louis also contains those who were not treated in a hospital and those who died in military service.

When you use this new Ancestry database, you may still be missing part of the information you need to tell your story. Additionally, not every field seems to be indexed for every entry, so you see different fields for different people. This may be because the information wasn’t on the original Hospital Index Sheet or it just wasn’t transcribed.
No matter which direction you start research in  – online or at NPRC – check the database but be sure to follow-up with research at NPRC yourself or with a researcher. The image below is from my cousin James Privoznik who was Killed In Action. You won’t find him or this information in the database.

Do you need help telling your family member’s story and locating records? Ask me to schedule your free phone consult today and let’s get started with research.

© 2020 Research A Veteran

Are you wasting Time and Money on World War II research that may not pertain to your soldier?

I’ve spent a lot of time on social media and email answering the same/similar questions or commenting on posts to clear up misinformation. A lot of people have been posting that their family member served in a specific unit they got off a Discharge Paper without doing the research necessary to confirm there were no other units. It’s been my experience the last 10 years of research that in 95% of cases, service members were in more than one unit.

When you attempt to chase down the unit history of that discharge unit you are wasting time and money. It is vital you get the service file (OMPF) and do the appropriate branch research at NPRC or online to determine the correct units someone was in. Only then should you start pursuing unit records.

In an attempt to help researchers to stop wasting their time and money on World War II research, here are a few tips.

Do your homework and make sure your soldier/airmen/sailor/Marine was in the unit you think he was or he told you he was.

Why is this important? A lot of researchers (family members) have vague information or a few stories with which to begin research. They hear their father/grandfather/uncle (whomever) was in the 82nd Airborne or 1st Infantry Division and they go looking for all the history they can about that Division from a high level. They look for books hoping to catch a glimpse of their family member’s name. Some even go so far as to order unit records from College Park to get the big picture. Yet, they still have no real idea of when and how long their family member was actually in that unit.

Researchers need to start at the beginning – with their soldier and the “small” picture.

For example, I’ve had many clients come to me and tell me their father was in a particular unit and fought in several European Theater Campaigns. Once I conducted research into where they were, what units, and when, the story was not always what the family thought it was. Sometimes a soldier was in a Replacement Depot or Hospital part of the war and missed a lot of campaigns. You cannot assume just because his unit participated in a list of campaigns, that he was present.

How do you find out which units he was actually part of?

Start the research with the “small” picture of the soldier’s service history. You can start this on your own by reading my books, Stories from the World War II BattlefieldThese are the ONLY books on the market that teach you how to do the research, even if the records burned.

I give a step-by-step account of how to dig into the records. Volume 1 covers Army, Air Corps, and National Guard Records in 300+ pages. Volume 2 covers Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Merchant Marines in 400+ pages. I hold a researcher’s hand and guide them through searching for basic information at home, provide checklists of where to look for information, and then guide them through the record retrieval process and analysis of information. Want to know how to organize your materials and write the stories? Volume 3 is coming out soon!

Another option is to request the service file from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. If it didn’t burn and you have a unit down to the company level, you can make an appointment to visit and and search Army Morning Reports (Army, Air Corps, National Guard.) Other service branches have records online at Ancestry.com – Navy or Marine Corps Muster Rolls.

Where can you learn more about World War II research? Have you tried collaboration?

Talk to other researchers, especially professionals, or those who have been working on a particular unit for many years. Contact military museums and libraries and research institutions that hold military records.

Attend a program or lecture series or watch webinars. I speak in both the U.S. and Europe on how to research World War II service and write the stories. The webinars or NARA Genealogy Fair programs which you can view online, give high level all wars overviews of records. They do not tell you how to do the research step by step.

I am available to speak in other locations than Chicago. Please contact me through to discuss program options.

Read blogs and online articles and magazine articles, on World War II for both a view of the big picture and how others have located information. Everyone has their own way of locating information and everyone has a different starting point. All avenues and starting points provide valuable lessons in research and analysis. Many who blog about their research and findings will tell you what when ‘right’ and what went ‘wrong’ in the process. This is a form of collaboration which is so important in research.

When do you need to hire a researcher?

When you cannot or chose not do do the research yourself. Some people hire me because they have no idea what to do, or do not have the time or desire to do the research themselves. Others hire me because I can obtain records in places that require an in-person visit. World War II records are held all over the U.S., not only in St. Louis or College Park.

Professional researchers know the ins and outs of research in various repositories. Researchers know where the records are, how to get them, how to analyze them and where to go next. They are also able to research and copy record that may require an in-person visit. For example, NPRC will allow you to mail in Form 180 and request a search of the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). They will not then go search Morning Reports and tell you where your soldier was and in which units. Usually, you will receive a letter stating his file burned if he was Army, Air Corps, National Guard.

Professionals are good at connecting the dots and thinking outside the box for research resources. One thing I am VERY good at is piecing together service histories from almost nothing. You can read testimonials here. I also have a vast network of researchers around the world I work with, some of whom are in the Research Collective, others are not listed. No one person knows everything about any topic. Collaboration is key when researching World War II service.

Professional researchers can help clear up misconceptions, questionable photographs and documents a family holds. I had one client provide me with his family story that his father was part of D-Day, and also photographs, one of which stated, ‘June 1944 Normandy, 2nd time around.’  This caption written on the back made no sense because the majority of people who were involved in D-Day kept on fighting and moving out of the area or those who were seriously wounded were shipped to England and didn’t return to France right away.

Upon further research, the only explanation I could give for that photograph was, ‘I have no idea why that caption is there and here is why.’ The explanation was his father was in England with his unit until after the invasion happened. His unit was a new one formed in April 1944 and had no amphibious training. Therefore, they were not part of D-Day. I proved this through several military documents. Also, this unti departed England after D-Day and sat in the Channel for many days because of the bad storm that ripped through there mid-June. This unit disembarked 27 June through Utah and Omaha Beaches. From there, the unit began moving out of Normandy. There was no way, based on the records, he was in Normandy twice in June 1944, as the photo suggested.

I offer fully cited, detailed reports of service with the option to write a book about your soldier. A lot of people have trouble deciphering the military language and abbreviations. Professional researchers are skilled in this and can provide a more detailed accounting of a soldier’s service. All of my reports are fully cited with all the sources from which the information came so anyone can re-create my steps. I also provide copies of all records obtained, a bibliography of other materials and research suggestions.

The other thing I do, which many researchers do not, is write and publish a book about your soldier’s life. My background is in history and genealogy. I have written countless books for clients on their family’s history and military ancestors.

The main point here is to do your homework before investing a lot of time and money in the big picture of the war. Research on your own or with a professional. Both are valuable options to consider.

Additional Resources

Contact me to set up a free phone consult to discuss a research project.

Explore all our webinars and online courses at the following sites:

WWII Education

Finding the Answers Journey

© 2020 Research A Veteran

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. If you would like to learn correct strategies and processes to research WWI, WWII, Korea or Vietnam, this is your last chance for LIVE training you’ll get nowhere else in the country.

Three Offers

Webinar Bundle: Finding the Answers: Exploring 20th Century Military Research Bundle. Purchase this webinar bundle and you can watch the first webinar now and you are automatically registered for the LIVE webinar, part 2 on 1 February 2020.

https://www.wwiieducation.com/store/9xcsQGLG

Webinar: Military Service in Context 1 February – Part 2 of the research process. This is for people who already purchased the 11 January Researching Individual Military Service webinar. 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

© 2020 Research A Veteran

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

 

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

 

EXPLORING THE DEATH RECORDS FOR WORLD WAR I


It has been more than 100 years since the U.S. entered World War I. Because of this anniversary, many people are beginning to investigate their World War I soldier’s history. A lot of people think all the records burned, as was the case with many World War II personnel files. While the fire did destroy some World War I files, there are still so many other records you can obtain.

Did you know that all soldiers, sailors, and Marines who died or are still considered Missing In Action (MIA) in World War I have a death record called a Burial File? This is the World War I equivalent of the World War II Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF). This is one file you want if your soldier, sailor, or Marine died during the war.

A couple of years ago on my WWII site, I wrote an article about U.S. Army Transports. These USAT transported both living soldiers and the dead. My great grand uncle, Michael Kokoska was one such soldier.

The Burial File contains information on a soldier’s death, temporary burial overseas, correspondence from the family, and final burial details. Michael Kokoska’s contains a lot of handwritten letters from his parents begging for word on his burial location and return of his remains. The letters are heart breaking.

There is also a document, written a year after Michael died, about the cause of his death. Is this really what happened? Perhaps. For now it is all I have to go on about the cause of his death. While Michael’s file was difficult and sad to read, it provided a lot of information on his service.

Wold you like to know more? View the Burial File for Michael Kokoska. Watch a short video about Michael.

Would you like to know more about Michael and his life? In my book, Stories of the Lost, you can read Michael’s full story.

©  2019 Jennifer Holik

 

Are You Ready to Research?

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.

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

 

 

 

REASONS TO CREATE A TIMELINE

  • First, it organizes all your information in one place.
  • Secondly, a timeline provides a visual representation of the overall military service.
  • Thirdly, you will see gaps & errors in your research.
  • Fourth, you will start asking more questions about your family member.
  • Fifth, you will be able to create new research plans to tell a deeper, more complete story.

CREATING A TIMELINE OF MILITARY SERVICE

One of the most important things you can do when you start researching, is to create a timeline of service.


DOCUMENT YOUR SOURCES

I encourage you to write a source citation for every fact you list in your timeline. This is important so you know exactly where information came from, especially if you need to refer to it again.

It also provides a paper trail for others to reference should they want to recreate your work.

Additionally, a bibliography of sources used should be created.

CREATE YOUR TIMELINE


Start with a simple table that shows the Date, Unit/Location, and Notes. The Date is the date of the record that has information you need. Unit/Location is the unit in which the service member served at that time and where. For Navy personnel this could only be the name of a Ship or Station. A Ship is at sea a Station is a land-based facility.

The Notes column is the important information contained in the document that explains what happened to the service member.

Finally, put a footnote in at the end of the NOTE so you can reference where the fact came from. It can be as simple as the File name and the document on which you located the information. The point of having a source is so you know exactly where you found the information in the first place so you can refer to it when you have conflicting dates and events.

IMPORTANT!

It is also good to note if a document does not have a date but has a date/time stamp on it. Some Navy records come undated but with date/time stamps, which show a date after the original document was sent. Keep in mind, in those days, communication was not fast as it is today with instant messages, Twitter, and Facebook.

EXAMPLE TIMELINE

 

1944    
10 January 1944 Unit: HQ Co 51st AIB

Station: Enroute overseas

The unit disembarked at Newport, England at 2000.[i]
11 January 1944 Station: Enroute to barracks location The unit arrived at Sandridge Park, Camp Wiltshire England at 0130.[ii] The unit remained here for several months.
17 March 1944 Station: Sandridge Park, Camp Wiltshire, England 1st Lt James Pomfret from duty to leave for 5 days.[iii]
22 March 1944 Station: Sandridge Park, Camp Wiltshire, England James to duty from leave.[iv]
4 May 1944 Station: Sandridge Park, Camp Wiltshire, England James from absent sick 217th General Hospital to TD (temp duty) Preston Hall near Uppingham Rutlandshire. Unit was alerted for departure.[v]
4-18 May 1944 Station: Preston Hall near Uppingham Rutlandshire  
19 May 1944 Station: Sandridge Park, Camp Wiltshire, England James returned from TD at Preston Hall.[vi]
30 June 1944 Station: Sandridge Park Camp 2 mi E Melksham Wilts 21-29 June usual camp duties. 30 June Company attended USO show in the area.[vii]
7 July 1944 Station: Cadland Park Hants 1 ½ mi W Fawley Unit left Sandridge Camp at 0440. Arrived B Marshalling Area 1330. Preparing to go to the continent.[viii]
10 July 1944 Station: Pier 44 Old Docks Southampton Hants Unit left Marshalling Area B at 0930 and proceeded to Southampton. Arrived 1300.[ix]
11 July 1944 Station: Solent Anchorage Southampton Harbor Unit boarded SS John R Parks Liberty Ship at 1000 at Pier 41 Old Docks Southampton Harbor. Left dock at 1230 took place in convoy in harbor.[x]
12 July 1944 Station: Ancorage off Utah Beach Unit left Southampton Harbor at 0830 and crossed Channel. Dropped anchor off Utah Beach at 2045.[xi]
13 July 1944 Station: 1 mi N Canville-la-Rocque, France Unit started unloading at 1715. Left ship at 1855. Beached at 1913. Unloaded at 2005 at Utah Beach.[xii]

[i] Company Morning Report HQ Co 51st AIB dated 10 Jan 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.

[ii] Company Morning Report HQ Co 51st AIB dated 11 Jan 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.

[iii] Company Morning Report HQ Co 51st AIB dated 17 Mar 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.

[iv] Company Morning Report HQ Co 51st AIB dated 22 Mar 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.

[v] Company Morning Report HQ Co 51st AIB dated 4 May 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.

[vi] Company Morning Report HQ Co 51st AIB dated 19 May 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.

[vii] Company Morning Report HQ Co 51st AIB dated 30 June 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.

[viii] Company Morning Report HQ Co 51st AIB dated 7 July 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.

[ix] Company Morning Report HQ Co 51st AIB dated 10 July 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.

[x] Company Morning Report HQ Co 51st AIB dated 11 July 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.

[xi] Company Morning Report HQ Co 51st AIB dated 12 July 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.

[xii] Company Morning Report HQ Co 51st AIB dated 13 July 1944. National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, MO.

 

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

contact us