When NOT to Hire a Genealogy or Military Record Retrieval Person

First, I would like to define a couple of things so readers understand where I am coming from.

Record retriever: Someone who will copy or scan specific records requested by a client, usually based off an 'Add to cart' option of specific, non-flexible record requests. This person may or may not have any idea how to reconstruct military histories because they specialize in pulling specific records only. Usually they do not provide context for the records or explain what they mean. Their job is to obtain records for a client only.

Full service researcher: Someone who obtains various records, customized to a client's specific needs, questions, concerns, and project, to reconstruct military service. This type of researcher provides a fully sourced research report with the documents that show military service. Often you can also request trip planning suggestions if you wish to travel in Europe in your soldier's footsteps. Some firms, like mine, have a network of tour guides and...

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Are You Exploring the Entire Military Combat Experience?

I've spent more than 20 years in the fields of genealogy/family history and military history with a focus the last decade on World War I and World War II. I taught myself a lot where genealogy was concerned and attended classes and conferences. I participated in the community's professional genealogy education. Throughout everything I studied or read, the focus was on names, dates, places, sometimes historical context, but never on exploring the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual side of family.

When I began researching in-depth both world wars, which led me to teach and write books on how to research any branch, there was no one to teach me what to do. No one in the country had written educational materials. Yes there were two very outdated books on barely researching Army service, but beyond that nothing existed. The few people who were starting to lecture on this were not going beyond the basics of "all the records burned and here are some online resources." They skimmed...

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Remembering Bernard Tom, 101st Airborne at Margraten

 

Johan and I spent Memorial Day weekend 2018, traveling from the Netherlands to Belgium, to Luxembourg, then back home through Germany. On Sunday of Memorial Day weekend we attended the Netherlands American Cemetery (Margarten). Johan adopted two graves there. One is for 101st Airborne Paratrooper, Bernard (Bernie) Tom. Watch Johan tell his story and subscribe to our newsletter list to stay up to date on the book about Bernie which will be released in 2019 for the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden, in which he jumped a couple of weeks prior to his death in the Netherlands.

Would you like help researching and telling the stories of your family's service members? Contact us to discuss a research or writing project. Be sure to also check our our online courses to learn how to navigate the records (and the 1973 Fire) and locate information.

© 2018 World War II Research and Writing Center

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Finding Your Soldier's Story Program in the Netherlands

Date: 13 January 2018

Time: 13:00

Location: Delware Company BV, Wilgehout 13 3371 KE Hardinxveld-Giessendam Netherlands

This program will be conducted in English.

Program Description:

Have you adopted a grave at an ABMC cemetery? Are you unsure how to locate more information about your soldier?

Are you researching a bomb crew and unsure where to find the crew’s records?

Did you locate dog tags or another item from a soldier and want to know more about his service?

Then this program is for you!

Many questions surround the service history of Americans who served in Europe during World War II. The answers will be given during this program.

Where do I start with my research?
What are the steps I need to take if I have some information?
What records are available and how can they be accessed?
How can I connect with a soldier’s family?

While this program is free, you must register for this program so we know how many to prepare for. Prior to the program you will be sent an email...

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