Finding the Answers: Starting WWII Research

World War II research is surrounded by stories and myths which often give people the perception they cannot obtain any information about military service.

  • Have you heard, ‘All the records burned!’
  • Have you read on a website that you must be the next-of-kin to receive information?
  • Do you think sending in one form to request records gives you everything available?
  • Do you know there are additional records at NPRC, that staff will not search for you, that are required for Army and Army Air Forces research?
  • Do you think starting your search in unit records will provide all the answers?

Did you know the tips and resources provided also apply to World War I and Korean War research?

Did you know there are many records available you can obtain by visiting the archives or hiring a research firm like mine?

If records exist, what is the problem? Why haven’t researchers and family members been able to reconstruct service history easily on their own? The problem is, any books or guides produced by military museums, archives, libraries, and other groups, talk only about the fire, what you cannot get, and a few major record sources. Usually these materials stress searching unit level records, which is not the place to start research. None of these guides explains through a process, how to use other resources and records to reconstruct service history for all branches.

In this course you will learn everything you need to know to locate and document as much information as possible before you start requesting military records. This is especially important if your service member was in the Army or the Army Air Forces

Through 9 short lessons with 9 handouts, you will begin to explore at your own pace, the details you know about your service member. You will take a journey through your memory, photographs, documents, stories, and more. What will you uncover as you travel through time?

Armed with this information, you will be ready to search online sources and offline sources and find the answers to your military research questions.

Are you ready to begin? Learn more about this course.

Educational Benefits

This course is designed for the high school student who has a family member who is a WWII service member or they have a specific service member they want to study and explore their story. This course is a great jumping off point to help the student and family begin to research their service member. It provides resource materials, questions to ask family members and ways to gather more data about the service member you want to research. The information provided also applies to World War I and Korean War research.

This is an excellent course that can fulfill an English elective requirement for the High School student. A mature 6th-8th grader can also benefit from this course.

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