World War II Education comes in many forms. There are countless books written about every aspect of war, soldier’s experiences, battles, and high level histories. Museums like the National World War II Museum in New Orleans has an annual conference featuring specific periods of the war and provide high level discussion and analysis of the war. Universities offer courses on general military history, World War II, battles, and other higher level topics.
How often though, in the U.S. or Europe, do you see education addressing how to conduct research and put together the story of your soldier, sailor or Marine? I’m not talking about a unit’s history or the history of a battle in which your soldier fought. I’m talking about individual research, which most people get stuck on. I have found it rare, which is why I wrote the research books I published and created seven different lectures I give in the U.S. and Europe. Please contact me if you need a speaker for your organization in the U.S. or Europe. My current programs include:
- The Day that Lived in Infamy: Navigating Basic World War II Records
- Beyond Pearl Harbor: Exploring Advanced World War II Records
- Finishing the Story: Recording the Military Story
- Stories of the Lost: Remembering the Dead
- Navigating World War II Records on Fold3.com
- Writing the Stories of War
- Stories of Our Past
If you know of someone teaching courses or giving programs on the soldier’s experience and the research process, I would love to know about them.
General World War II Education
The National Archives in the U.S. offers an annual Genealogy Fair. If you visit their website, you can see prior year’s offerings which include handouts and videos. These videos are an excellent resource to understand, in general, what the National Archives offers researchers. The videos do not often get down to specific WWII research, but offer a general review of the types of records and dates they cover, within the collection. I recommend watching them to learn more about the types of records available.
If you enjoy genealogical conferences and local society programs in the U.S., you may find a program on WWII research, though from what I have observed, it is rare to find anyone teaching what I am. If you are attending the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference which starts 31 August 2016, I will be giving two WWII talks and sitting at the vendor table for AncestorStuff at specific hours during the time the vendor hall is open, to answer questions. There will be a limited number of my books for sale and orders can be taken by AncestorStuff. Details coming soon as to when you can meet me at their table.
Education for Teachers and the General Public
The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) has several collaborative programs with different organizations to provide teachers with World War II soldier research experience and trips to the battlefields and cemeteries. This program is ABMC Education. The teachers research a soldier, write a eulogy which they give at his or her grave overseas, and create lesson plans based on Common Core standards. These lesson plans are available for free online.
The ABMC website offers videos and other resources for anyone interested in the history of their overseas cemeteries and specific battles. They also offer educational resources for teachers.
Both of these resources combined will provide you with a different perspective on what information is available for soldiers for both WWI and WWII. I encourage you to explore what they have to offer.
Books To Guide Your Research
If you live in Europe and have adopted a soldier’s grave or his name on the Wall of the Missing, pick up my research book, Faces of War: Researching Your Adopted Soldier.
If you live in the U.S. and need assistance researching, check out my books, Volumes 1 and 2 of Stories from the World War II Battlefield, which are the only ones available which teach you step-by-step how to do WWII research.
Hire a Researcher
Need more assistance? Contact me to discuss a project. I am taking new clients at this time and there is no wait list.
© 2016 World War II Research and Writing Center
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