Military Monday – New WWII Research Book Coming Soon!

Cover Vol 1In just a few weeks I am releasing a new book! Stories from the World War II Battlefield. Volume 1: Reconstructing Army, Air Corps, and National Guard Service. Just shy of 300 pages, the book contains dozens of pages of record examples and tips to help you begin research.

You can view the Table of Contents on my website. Stay tuned for the release date!

© 2015, Jennifer Holik, Woodridge, IL


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Military Monday – Military Research From the Civil War to World War II

Cindy Freed and I, writers for the In-Depth Genealogist, were interviewed on IDG’s new YouTube channel. Cindy talked about Civil War Research and her book Ancestors in a Divided Nation. I talked about World War II research and my two new books, Stories from the World War II Battlefield, which will soon be released on researching all branches of the military in WWII.

Watch Cindy’s interview.

Watch my interview.

As I listened to Cindy talk about the research, I thought there were a lot of similarities between Civil War research and that of World War II. Regardless of which war, you are seeking similar records: Enlistment and Discharge; Death and Burial information; Payroll information; service history; and battle history. Cindy and I spoke and decided to write blog posts comparing the records and strategies for research. Please read Cindy’s post examining Civil War records.

Is it important to locate the address for your veteran to find records?

Yes. You need this information particularly if you need to conduct a VA Index Card search at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) to obtain the serial number for your soldier. Check the 1940 U.S. Federal Census or city directories for your ancestor to find an address.

Where can I find the enlistment and discharge or death dates for my soldier?

  1. Army Enlistment database located on the National Archives website,, or
  2. Search the American Battle Monuments Commission website for your soldier if he died in service and is buried overseas. If unsure if your soldier survived or died in service, search the database.
  3. Check Individual State lists. Most states published lists of soldier, especially if they were Killed In Action (KIA.)
  4. Order the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) from the NPRC.
  5. Order the Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) from Ft. Knox if your soldier was KIA.
  6. Crew Lists and Muster Rolls (Navy and Marine Corps) often have enlistment and death dates. These can be found on and and at the National Archives in College Park, MD.

Where can I find service history for World War II soldiers?

    1. OMPF (or pieces such as the Separation and Discharge Papers)
    2. Morning Reports (Army, Air Corps, National Guard), Muster Rolls (Marines), Crew Lists (Navy.)
    3. IDPF
    4. Medical Records
    5. Accident Reports (aircraft)
    6. Missing Air Crew Reports

Veterans Administration Files

What can I find in Courthouse and Public Records?

  1. Separation and Discharge papers are often found in the County Recorder or Clerk’s office. Veterans were encouraged to file after the war ended.

What are some online sources for World War II Records?

  4. National Archives website
  5. FaceBook has many WWII groups
  6. Look for Division and Reunion Association groups to which your soldier may have belonged. Or groups which hold the history of the unit in which your soldier fought. Many have online historical archives. Most have reunions where you can meet new people, research records, and speak with veterans.
  7. ABMC database. Also search the Veterans Cemetery system if your veteran may have been buried in a VA cemetery. You can also search or FamilySearch’s database: Applications for Headstones for Military Veterans. Veterans buried in public or private, non-military cemeteries may have military stones.

Where else might I locate information?

  1. VFW, American Legion, Elks Lodge, Moose, any organization in which your veteran was a member. They may hold information.
  2. Search for unit histories to learn more about your soldier.

If you are not familiar with The In-Depth Genealogist, please check them out. I write a monthly column called Stories from the Battlefield where I discuss all aspects of World War II research.

© 2015, Jennifer Holik, Woodridge, IL

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Writing Wednesday – Book Review “Flying Warbirds”

Flying Warbirds coverI am a member of the World War II History Network and from time to time there are book giveaways. A few weeks ago I received Flying Warbirds An Illustrated Profile of The Flying Heritage Collection’s Rare WWII-Era Aircraft by Cory Graff.

While I do a lot of research on World War II, this book appealed to me because of the aircraft and the fact one of my boys LOVES WWII airplanes. He reads about them, plays with them, and draws them. This book is perfect for him because it is gigantic with gorgeous, glossy photos of the planes and the inner workings!

Cory Graff is the Flying Heritage Collection’s Military Aviation Curator. He has amassed an incredible collection of photographs and information on each plane featured in the book. Each chapter starts with the identification of two planes, U.S. and Axis plane, and a photograph of one. The author takes you on a journey through the history of both planes with photographs of each during the war and refurbished today.

Each plane is described in detail explaining the pros and cons of the aircraft, engine type (with photos), purpose, theater of war in which it was flown, coloring or the paint and design applied, and who flew each aircraft. The cockpit of each plane is presented along with a full two-page spread of the plane taken in the museum. Every page of the book has at least one photograph on it. It is an aircraft enthusiast’s dream book.

Whether you are interested in the aircraft of World War II or have a child who is, this book will make an excellent addition to your World War II library. Check it out and all the other books published by Zenith Press today!

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