I’ve spent more than 20 years in the genealogy community and have observed many shifts in the way we research our family’s histories. Often the shifts have come in the way records have become accessible. Primarily through online subscription websites. There are many researchers who believe those records should be free and you can do it all yourself without ever hiring a professional researcher. This is not always possible. For the last several years, the accessibility of World War II records has changed significantly where the Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF) or service files are concerned. No longer do you have to be the next-of-kin to receive these records if the soldier died or was discharged by 1953. There has also been a slight increase in those researching these records. Ancestry.com and Fold3.com have digitized many record sets from the unit records at the National Archives in College Park, MD. And with the advent of so much more becoming digitally available through those websites and libraries and other research institutions, people complain even more that what they want is not online and it is not free. And many see no value in hiring a researcher. So why isn’t World War II research free and why sometimes do you need to hire a researcher?