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.

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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

 

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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

 
 
 
 

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.

 

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

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© 2019 Jennifer Holik

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Robert & Virginia Brouk 3 weeks before he died training pilots.

“Finding the Answers is possible when you do 20th Century Military Research. Even when the records burned.”

In 2010 when I wrote my first book about my AVG Flying Tiger cousin Robert Brouk, I had no idea how to research WWII service. I knew the records burned and was afraid no answers could be found. However, after writing that book and knowing I had to research the stories of my other military family members, I embarked on a journey which took thousands of hours and several years to develop the strategy to find the answers and research any branch for any 20th century war, even if the records burned.

By 2012 I was teaching these strategies I was creating and by 2013 I started releasing the first of my military research books. After eight years of teaching these research classes, I am ready to move on. If you would like to know all the secrets to finding the answers, you will want to sign up for this webinar today. This is the last time I will teach this class.

WEBINAR DESCRIPTION

World War II research is surrounded by stories and myths which often give people the perception they cannot obtain any information about military service. What most people do not realize is military research should be done in two parts. Starting at the end with a discharge unit will usually lead you down the wrong path where you will waste time and money.

This 1.5 hour webinar will focus on what is available first at home and then within the archives and online repositories. You will learn how to put a timeline of service together, how to properly reconstruct military history, what can be found within service files and company-level types of records, and where else to look. At the end of this webinar you will have the tools to proceed to the next step in military research – contextual history.

A webinar on learning how to research the second part – contextual records – will be held in February 2020. Registration for that webinar will open 6 January 2020.

Register for webinar

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