Using Military Records to Bring Your Ancestors to Life • FamilySearch
Although military service is part of most of our family trees, military records are often overlooked in learning about our families. Perhaps…
Good afternoon, Leslie - Back on November 11, 2022, FS sent out information about those who served in WWI. I had some information already but found out so much more using the VA Master Index File regarding unit activities, draft cards of my relatives, locations where my grandfather served, and the like. It was a great resource for me.
I subsequently wrote to FS in late December/early 2023 about such a Master File for WWII as it has been over 70 years since the war so those records should be available. My wife's and my family had many people eligible for fighting in the war but trying find most of it has been difficult for each one with many dead ends on leads.
I do have some information on my F-I-L who was drafted and about my wife's uncle who was at Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and some other information but there are so many more I would like to research and see. I have used the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis for some further detail but I know I'm only scratching the surface.
I have sent requests to FS about the existence such a Master File as was created in WWI but have not heard anything back for months. Given your background in military research, I thought an email to you might help me to get to the right area(s). I never joined Fold 3 when I started researching as I thought FS, Ancestry.com and many other search engines would have that information for free but I was wrong.
In our family's Compendium we have created, I do have a section on people in our families who served in the military but it still needs work. That WWII VA Master List file could be a real help in this area. I'm also wondering if there is such a list for the Korean War. It has now been 70 since that war concluded but I don't know if anyone from our families served; but at least ask and try. My real goal is the WWII list.
I's appreciate any guidance or help you could provide or direct me to others who might be the key(s) for me. I did not see a military educational session in the upcoming Roots Tech either. Thank you in advance.
Mike Budnick, Jasper IN0
The VA Master Index helped identify veterans with insurance applications (WWI War Rise Insurance) and those who were paid a WWI bonus. We are not aware of a similar index for World War II. The National Personnel Records Center could best answer questions concerning WWII service and veteran benefits. The National Archives and Records Administration website also has information about World War II records. Their online card catalog is especially helpful.
There are a couple of guidebooks on World War II Research. Links are included for these from the FamilySearch Library catalog.
Jonathan Gawne. Finding Your Father’s War: a practical guide to researching and understanding service in the World War II US Army. Drexel Hill, Pa.: Casemate, 2006. This publication is in its third edition.
Debra Johnson Knox. World War II Military Records: a family historian’s guide. Spartanburg, South Carolina: MIE Publishing, 2003
We also have a Research Wiki article on Beginning World War II Research that might be helpful.
TY Amy for your review and directions...I'll be following up and share my successes and failures. Appreciate it. Mike Budnick, Jasper IN0