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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10 Things Americans Should Know About European WWII Re-Enactors

Two weeks ago I attended an Operation Market Garden re-enactment event in Son, Netherlands. You can read about it in my article Honoring Service: Living History in the Netherlands. In this article I stressed the importance of living history and how it provides context for our World War II soldier research. Today I’d like to continue that thought with things Americans should know about European WWII re-enactors and living history events.

Main Goals of Re-Enacting: Honor, Remember, Educate

1. Re-enacting groups exist all over Europe and the UK. Many groups come from the UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and sometimes Germany and Russia. They are not limited to the Netherlands where I have been spending time and writing about their events. Most re-enactors speak English. This is question many are asked when Americans first arrive at events.

I spent time last November with the 104th Division Friends of the Timberwolves group. They dedicated an entire day to showing me...

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