Do Genealogy & Military Researchers Need Therapy?

That is a loaded, triggering question isn’t it? Isn’t it time these communities start the conversation about the effects of research on us mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally as researchers and professionals?

I have been a genealogical researcher for more than 20 years. For a decade, I’ve studied every military branch and it’s paperwork for WWII, which resulted in the creation of numerous research guides, speaking programs, and more clients than I can count. I took ProGen and several other professional genealogy prep classes back in the day. I self-taught the 20th century military research because no one else was teaching this – no other books existed. Then in 2012 when I moved out and got divorced, I started down a spiritual path alongside the military research. Then I began to travel in Europe. I also wrote some gut wrenching, sad, life changing books about my family’s military members. Those broke me open. Helping clients...

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Book Review: Salt to the Sea

book review travel wwii Oct 29, 2019

A few days ago I spent an entire day, minus a few hours exploring Haarlem, The Netherlands with my camera, reading Ruta Sepetys' book Salt to the Sea. While historical fiction, it is based on a real-life, little-known story of a ship sinking that took more lives than the Titanic.

Before you stop reading, because I realize some of my readers feel military historical fiction is worthless, consider this written by the author at the end of her book.

What determines how we remember history and which elements are preserved and penetrate the collective consciousness? If historical novels stir your interest, pursue the facts, history, memoirs, and personal testimonies available. These are the shoulders that historical fiction sits upon. When the survivors are gone we must not let the truth disappear with them. Please, give them a voice.

ruta sepetys, author's note "salt to the sea"

I applaud Ruta for including this in her book. I firmly believe within every book - fiction or...

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WWI Travel in France

france genealogy travel wwi wwii Oct 24, 2019
 

We visited so many WWI sites in France last week in the Meuse-Argonne and Verdun areas. So much devastation and so many stories. I recorded some of my thoughts. I’m still processing everything I saw – especially the destroyed villages.

Can I help you?

Are you ready to learn the bigger picture of your family member’s military service? We are a firm with not only hands-on document experience but also travel experience. We are taking new clients and can help you find the answers and tell a deeper story about your family member. Email us at [email protected] to set up your free phone consultation today to discuss project options, fees, and time.

© 2019 World War II Research and Writing Center

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Freedom Museum, Groesbeek, The Netherlands

museum travel writing wwii Oct 22, 2019

I visited the Freedom Museum, formerly the National Liberation Museum '44-'45, in Groesbeek, The Netherlands in October 2019. This was my third visit to this location. My first was in 2015, where I visited on two separate trips and gave a talk about WWII research in their former auditorium. My second trip was in 2016.

The former museum felt more focused on the Airborne experience of the Dutch Liberation. The exhibits were good but not superb. It was well done but did not have the impact and power that the current museum has.

Part of the room lit in red.

When I walked into the new museum I was immediately taken by the power and impact it holds. The museum is rather dark now, dark blue walls in most places and the entire museum is now covered by what looks like a dark blue or black parachute. For the most part it works. The lighting is different in some areas of the museum, particularly the area that talks about the world war at the start when the U.S. was involved. It is a...

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Healing the Military Past

War trauma, real or imagined, affects everyone in the family, for generations. The unwillingness to learn the truth and change our perspective of what really happened, can further cause damage to our souls and those of our descendants.

My job as a military researcher is not always easy. Family stories told to me are not always accurate. Sometimes my radar goes off alerting me that something is very wrong with what I am being told. In other cases, it feels mostly correct. Then there are a few cases of stolen valor where the stories were mostly imagined. Family members do not always respond well to hearing their father, uncle, grandfather, brother, etc. were not who they thought they were.

Recently, I responded to a client about her dad’s military service. After we did the research, my report was written and information analyzed, the story was not what she grew up hearing. She is another case of a child of a veteran seeking evidence to prove her father was exactly who she...

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I Bring Dead Guys Home Book Launch

memoir travel wwii Apr 16, 2019

Available on Amazon with full color photos. (Affiliate link).

I never envisioned in my wildest imagination, a life like the one I have. Who creates a life like this on two continents? Who transforms their reality, business, and life, multiple times in only a few years? Who sticks around when the unimaginable happens right after you meet someone?

Jennifer Holik chose a new path in June 2012 when she moved out with her boys and filed for divorce. She did not expect that six months later, when she acknowledged her spiritual gifts, her entire life would transform. Several dead guys, primarily World War I and World War II service members, had already shown up in Jennifer’s world. Many others entered her life at the exact moment they were required. Listening to their whispers, Jennifer followed the energy and created a life and business no one she knew had dared to create.

Travel through time and space, across the ocean, and through Europe, where love knows no boundaries. On...

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American Graves Registration in WWII

Learn about the Graves Registration Service during World War I and World War II. This section provides resources to understand their job, the records they created, and what happened to our military personnel when they were Killed In Action, were Missing In Action, or died during service. Read about current MIA recovery efforts here.

Need help understanding the history of the Graves Registration Service and the records they created, including the Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF)? We have a book, Finding the Answers in the Individual Deceased Personnel File that can help!

We also have a 10- week online course Finding the Answers in the IDPF.

World War I

A Living Memorial. The American Cemetery at Meuse-Argonne (ABMC Publication)

The Beginnings of the Quartermaster Graves Registration Service

Thesis: Establishing the American Way of Death

World War I Education – World War I Burial Files

WWI Graves Registration Card Registers

Videos:

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Memoir Cover Reveal - I Bring Dead Guys Home

memoir travel wwii Mar 19, 2019

Available 9 April 2019 on Amazon.

I never envisioned in my wildest imagination, a life like the one I have. Who creates a life like this on two continents? Who transforms their reality, business, and life, multiple times in only a few years? Who sticks around when the unimaginable happens right after you meet someone?

Jennifer Holik chose a new path in June 2012 when she moved out with her boys and filed for divorce. She did not expect that six months later, when she acknowledged her spiritual gifts, her entire life would transform.

Several dead guys, primarily World War I and World War II service members, had already shown up in Jennifer’s world. Many others entered her life at the exact moment they were required. Listening to their whispers, Jennifer followed the energy and created a life and business no one she knew had dared to create.

Travel through time and space, across the ocean, and through Europe, where love knows no boundaries. On this journey, Jennifer explores the...

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