Important News on How We Provide WWII Education

Evaluating our business over the last decade, especially the last six years in which we have provided a tremendous amount of WWI and WWII educational materials, we have decided to change how and where we provide education for military research. Our focus has also shifted in how we help clients with research, processing what is discovered, and writing. While we still provide the highest quality military research available, your options for education now change. What does this mean for you?

WWII Research & Writing Center Website

On this website, the Educational Articles and Videos will remain. We will continue to add articles that help you dig deep into your family and military history. All of our research books will remain and we will continue to update them as records access changes.

Other resources have been moved or removed permanently.

WWII Education Website

This is our online course and webinar website. There are several online military research classes available. Several...

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Why Military Research Is Not Free

I've spent more than 20 years in the genealogy and military research communities and have observed many shifts in the way we research our family's histories. Often the shifts have come in the way records have become accessible. Primarily through online subscription websites. There are many researchers who believe those records should be free and you can do it all yourself without ever hiring a professional researcher. This is not always possible.

For the last five plus years, the accessibility of World War I, World War II, and Korean War records has changed significantly, especially when we talk about the Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF) or service files. No longer do you have to be the next-of-kin to receive these records if the soldier died or was discharged by today's date 62 years ago. However, in cases of researching the Army or Army Air Corps/Army Air Forces or Air Force, just sending in Form 180 will not get you all the answers, especially if the service file burned....

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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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Professional Researchers and Empathy

Happy almost New Year!

The end of 2018 has arrived, although I am not quite sure where this year went. While there were moments it felt as if it dragged on and I would never see the light at the end of the tunnel, most days seemed to fly by. As I sit here in these final hours of the year, I have been journaling a lot about my targets for the early part of 2019. I have been evaluating my business, what it has been, what it can no longer be, and what it must become. Who I must become to create in a new way.

I am writing my memoir and a couple of other books at the same time because the world requires hope and inspiration. I require an outlet for some of what I have experienced and felt. I was also put on this earth to help others discover new possibilities to cope with the unknown and difficult. This is requiring me to be very vulnerable and open. Something that is sometimes difficult.

The research we, as professionals, do for people can have serious repercussions in their lives and...

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Are You Accurately Reconstructing WWII Military Service?

 

I am often asked how to reconstruct a military service file. In this short video I talk about this. Be sure to scroll down to see the additional resources to help you accurately reconstruct military history. You might be surprised to discover reconstruction is not what a lot of people tell you it is.

[embed]https://youtu.be/pn3nISXXn3M[/embed]

Additional Resources

Pick up one of our research books on Kindle or Paperback from Amazon. We have the only books on the market that teach you how to research any 20th century war. The strategies, records, and tools that we teach you for WWII research apply to WWI, Korea, and Vietnam.

Take one of our online courses available at WWII Education.

Educational Articles on Research

Videos

© 2018 World War II Research & Writing Center

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Can We Stop the Stigma of History?

 

The weekend of 14-16 September 2018 I was in Son, Netherlands for the Operation Market Garden (OMG) commemorations and living history for the 101st Airborne. Coming up this weekend in Arnhem, they will be commemorating the British aspect of OMG. As I was in the Airborne re-enactment camp, I spoke to many Dutch people about the stigma of war that still exists in society and families today. I spoke to many about the past, the choices that were made, and how we heal in the present and move forward.

My point of view is, the past is not all black and white or right or wrong or good or bad. It just isn’t one or the other. We live in a completely different time, our way of life is completely different than those who lived through WWII (or any other time period for that matter.) It is not ours to judge the past but to observe, research, understand, see the choices that were made in circumstances we cannot imagine. We were not there so who are we to judge?

What would it take for the...

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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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Visiting the Land of my Ancestors – Part 1

Life is an adventure. Something to be experienced and enjoyed. I often ask, ‘How does it get any better than this?‘ When I ask that question, magic happens.

For many years I didn’t feel like there was much of that unless you count raising three boys an adventure, which I often do. Having twins has made most days an experience beyond anything I’d known. Then in 2015 I embarked on a new adventure – traveling to Europe. Since that trip and the choices I made because of the experiences I had, life continues to be ever changing and some days I don’t even recognize myself.

Who am I today? That is a question I often ask.

We all make choices in life to pay attention to some things while ignoring others. To stay isolated versus being with new people. We stick so much to our family stories and who we ‘believe’ we are and our family members are, that we often shut out the possibilities of what could be. We often close ourselves off to the...

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