Safety, Fear, War, & Our Ancestral Lineage

For the last decade I’ve studied the deeper layers of genealogy and family history. Explored the darker sides of family and ancestors. Looked at the grief, loss, war, fear they lived with, safety issues that existed, survival instincts, PTSD, inherited trauma and other related topics.

Exploring those topics has helped me do my own healing and today I’d like to talk about our current lives and forced isolation alongside our ancestors’ lives where the issues of fear and safety arise. I will provide just a little information around this topic with resources for you to explore.

Fear and Safety in Our Ancestors’ Lives

If you look back in your genealogy, you will find many instances where your ancestors were living in fear and were unsure of their personal safety perhaps due to war or famine, political conflicts, immigration, or natural disasters. Those situations may have been shorter term and affected the ancestors for a period of time. They may have learned...

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Genograms as a Family & Military History Tool

There are so many ways to look at our genealogy and military family history in deeper ways than just compiling a family tree. The Genogram, a diagram outlining the history of the behavior patterns (as of divorce, abortion, or suicide) of a family over several generations, is one tool that can be useful to dive deeper into your past and also heal your present.

What Does a Genogram Look Like?

The best way to show you what a genogram looks like is to give you something interactive. View a short Genogram video depicting the Skywalker family from Star Wars.

How are Genograms Helpful?

Genograms can show us through various symbols showing relationships, births, marriages, deaths, patterns, and some biographical data, what is happening in a family at a point in time. Therapists use genograms to explore what a new client is dealing with at the time they start therapy. One nice thing about a genogram is it can be continually expanded as new information comes in or the therapy sessions...

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Opportunities for Education & Community

A lot has changed since I flew home unexpectedly and quickly from Europe 13 March 2020. The entire world has been turned upside down and we have all had to, if we chose to , look at ourselves and what we are here to do. There are many layers to the upgrade happening on the planet and this virus is just one layer. The others will horrify and shock you for the most part. Though some will open your heart.

As part of my journey the last two months, I’ve done a lot of inner work and upgrading of my business services and offerings. Some things are leaving and others are moving in.

To build community and help people connect and learn, I started two weekly Zoom meetings for members of my Facebook groups. In these we talk about appropriate topics, do some education and have a lot of discussion. If you are interested in joining a new community, check the groups out today. Zooms are for members only.

Military Research Education

This group, Military Research Education, has a weekly Zoom...

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Journaling To Heal Our Ancestral Lineage

Journaling has been something I have been doing since I was a little girl. Not consistently though until the last few years. My early journals were typical of a girl moving into puberty, Jr. High and High School, with talk of which boy was the cutest, drama with friends and siblings, and my dreams for the future. In High School they became much more. An outlet to describe frustrations in my family life (typical teenager complaints), a safe place to explore the larger world and my gigantic dreams which were too large and out there for most people in my life. I’m sure most people who knew me then, thought I was crazy for having such big dreams and growing up in such a small town.

After I became an adult, the journals changed again as an even more safe place to talk about my fears, sadness, guilt, shame, mistakes, anger, and dreams. When I had my first child, miscarriages, and later twins, the journals became a place to express all I had before, adding marriage troubles, and my...

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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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