Over the last few years I have met many people in Europe who adopted a grave or name on the Wall of the Missing at an American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) cemetery. Some of these researchers have a good grasp on how to do the research, beyond what limited information they can find online. Others need more assistance. To help anyone overseas who has officially or unofficially adopted a soldier’s grave at an ABMC cemetery, in early May I will launch a new book.
Faces of War: Researching Your Adopted Soldier will provide step-by-step guidance to help you research your adopted soldier.
The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) operates and maintains 25 permanent American military cemeteries for World War I and World War II overseas. They also oversee 27 federal memorials, monuments, and markers worldwide. In many countries, primarily in Europe, men and women officially and unofficially, through non-ABMC Adoption Foundation programs, adopt the graves of American service men and women in the ABMC cemeteries. The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) does not offer a grave adoption program. These programs are set up by private groups.
Grave adopters participate in Memorial services, leave flowers at the grave throughout the year, take photographs for family members and researchers, conduct research on the soldier or battle in which he fought and died, and honor the soldier who helped free their country.
Researching the service and life of a soldier while living in Europe, has its challenges, primarily because the records they need are located in archives in the United States. There is also the challenge of the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The fire destroyed roughly 80% of the Army, Air Corps/Army Air Forces, and National Guard personnel files. This is not however, the end of the story where researchers are concerned.
All the tools researchers need to start exploring their World War I or World War II soldier, civilian, sailor, or Marine’s service, are included in this volume.
The tools include:
- The basics of starting research and creating a timeline of service.
- Resources and strategies for online and offline military research.
- Resources for obtaining a wide range of information on a soldier’s death and burial.
- Instructions for ordering and using military records to reconstruct service history for men and women.
- And, tips for placing the soldier into historical context using higher level records.
Through examples, checklists, and document images, researchers are taught how to locate and analyze records for any branch of the military. This volume focuses more on World War II records, but the process for a World War I soldier and records created, are similar. Once you understand the research process, it can be applied to either war.
Want to learn more?
See all my World War II research books on my website.
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If you need assistance with research or writing your soldier’s story, please feel free to contact me. I am taking new clients at this time.
© 2016 Jennifer Holik