2nd Infantry Division Research and a Trip to Europe
About twelve years ago I began to take a real interest in my relative, Pvt. Glen W. Standing, who was KIA on June 15, 1944 near St. Georges de Elle, Normandy as a member of K Co. 23rd Inf. Regiment 2nd Inf. Div. I located some of Glen’s military records, his boyhood home, his gravesite where his remains were repatriated back to the states in 1948 and his best friend from high school who served in the same unit and was wounded in the same battle but survived.
A year ago I heard about a WW II Western Front Tour taking place in the summer of 2016. This is something that I always wanted to do so I signed on along with my wife and son. To prepare myself for the tour I bought eight WW II books and began reading. A book by John McManus, “Americans at D-day” caught my interest. I sent an email to Mr. McManus and expressed my desire to find a military researcher that could provide me more information regarding Glen and inasmuch as I was going on tour which included Normandy in the summer of 2016 someone who could research and trace the steps that Glen took from Omaha Beach to the location where he was KIA. Mr. McManus recommended military researcher Jennifer Holik.
I sent an email to Jennifer and she responded immediately and understood exactly what I wanted and presented a research project outline. It was very professional and well thought out. Jennifer understands and feels the emotion of family members who are searching for information about loved ones because she has experienced this herself first hand. She and her associate searched the military archives at College Park, MD and St. Louis, MO. The work product I received was exactly what was ordered and what I needed.
Now, while I am in Normandy with my wife and son we are retracing the steps of Pvt. Glen W. Standing from Omaha Beach to the area where he was killed on June 15, 1944. We will conduct a small memorial service there by setting up a temporary Fallen Soldier Memorial with a presentation of the Purple Heart Medal. Jennifer was also instrumental in putting me in contact with Florent Plana, head of the WW II Veterans Memorial Project, who lives in Normandy. Florent and a friend of his who is an expert on the 2nd Inf. Div. are meeting us in Normandy and taking us over the route that Glen followed.
This will be a life time remembrance and it could not have been done without the expert assistance of Jennifer Holik. — Garth Limburg, July 2016
99th Infantry Division Research
I grew up not knowing the circumstances surrounding my fathers death who was killed in WWll. What a lucky day for me when I came across you website. From that very day I have learned so much information from your research that would I would never have had otherwise.
I can’t say enough about your professionalism. Everything was delivered as you promised.
For those wishing to learn more about their loved ones military service. I highly recommend they contact you for the questions that otherwise would go unanswered. I know a lot of family’s don’t know where to turn with their questions especially when dealing with the government.
Take my advise and contact Jennifer. — Jack Long, Pittsburgh, Pa. 10 January 2016
If you were looking to recapture, in detail, the military history of a relative I would highly recommend the services of Ms. Jennifer Holik.
Twenty-years ago, before the Internet became the depository of billions of pages that it is today, genealogical research of any kind was virtually impossible. That has certainly changed with numerous sites specializing in just this type of research. In fact, the Internet has provides so much information that the main challenge is determining facts from fiction.
For many years it was my intention to investigate my dad’s military service during WWII. When I finally decided to start this process there was certainly no lack of information, but unfortunately most of it was fragmented and in many cases simply not accurate.
When my dad was alive and when I was much younger, I can remember him telling me about his experiences before, during and after the war. These stories were short and in retrospect virtual snapshots of what was actually hell on earth. After his passing I had possession of his medals and a few dozen black and white photos showing him and his fellow soldiers at various points of the war.
What was always missing from those stories was a day-to-day account of his activity, his journey through Europe, the uncertainty of the next day, and a sense of the mental state that any solder has after loosing someone close in battle. For me at least it was important to find out this detail and it was for that reason that I decided to find a person that specialized in military research.
Again, I turned to the Internet and was overwhelmed with choices most of which turned out to be dead ends. One of the searches for turned up an ad that read, “Do you need a researcher at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis?” – A light went on at that point as that was exactly the starting point required.
The link took me to www.jenniferholik.com. I think it was very late on a Sunday night and surprisingly I received a reply within an hour. I have my own business, which is a sales oriented company so I’m always impressed when someone gets right back to me and rarely disappointed when I do business with someone that does. Ms. Holik was very detailed and explained the process, which depended to a large extent on the degree of detail I was looking for. She also explained that many government records were destroyed in a fire several decades ago and those records were gone forever. I opted to go for the most detail as possible and contracted her for the project.
She asked me to send her as much information as possible. Fortunately, I already had organized most of the information. I emailed all of the documents and photos I had and within a couple of days she came back to me with a proposal which included estimates of research times, copying costs, archival access costs, etc. all of which were more than reasonable. Approximately 6-weeks later she contacted me to tell me that all of the information had been complied and that she was reviewing it for her final report.
When I received the preliminary documents I simply could not believe it. There was virtually a day-by-day account of my dad’s service from boot camp in Louisiana to his trip across the Atlantic, to Ireland, England, Normandy France through Europe and finally to Germany in April of 1945.
There were copies of the original morning reports (something I had never heard of) used to keep track of each unit, head count, casualties, etc. The morning reports logged the number and type of artillery rounds fired by the unit, enemy position and attacks, etc. There were maps showing troop movements and camp positions; notations of promotions demotions, AWOL, the weather, road conditions, miles traveled and on and on.
The morning reports also gave you a sense of how the war was going. A history book would have highlighted certain battles while this report documented the subtle changes taking place at the unit level before during and after enemy contact.
In other words I received, not just a point “A” to point “B” presentation but an actual log representing the circumstances and hardships the soldiers faced each day; in my dad’s case, almost 1,000 days of mostly hell.
Jennifer’s analysis of this data was put into a chronological report, which was very helpful because it reconciled my recollections of my dad’s service to the facts uncovered by her investigation. There is absolutely no way I could have done this on my own in as short a period of time, or as thoroughly as the presentation provided by Ms. Holik. –Tom Sutcliffe, 2015
Genealogy and Military Research and Writing
“Jennifer Holik, you are a very special Author and Genealogist who hears the soldiers’ voices and helps them tell their stories. When you dive into the rabbit holes, you uncover many hidden treasures that you turn into pages of stories. You educate and teach all of us the sacrifice our ancestors made during their time of service. We thank you for your service to keep their stories going.” – Thyra McKelvie, 2015
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