February 2009, V8#2: Genealogy Monday, Feb 16 2009 

Web Site Lists Missing World War II Soldiers

Approximately 74,000 World War II soldiers have not had their remains recovered or identified.  In an attempt to aid in the recovery and identification process, the Missing Personnel World War II database was created.  The database is online at www.dtic.mil/dpmo/WWII_MIA/index.htm.  This first-ever comprehensive list is a project of the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office and was completed in 2004. 

The database was created by comparing and analyzing two sources:  “Rosters of Military Personnel Whose Remains Were Not Recovered” and “The World War II Rosters of the Dead.”  All discrepancies were settled by using the National Archives and official personnel files.  The database contains the name of the missing soldier, service number, rank, branch of service and the date of loss. 

The accounting for missing World War II service members is an ongoing project.  As remains are recovered and identified, their names are removed from the database. 

When the war ended in August 1945, over 79,000 known soldiers were unaccounted for.  This number included individuals buried as “unknown” lost at sea and missing in action. 

There are similar databases for those missing from the Korean War, the Cold War, Vietnam and the Gulf War.  More information and access to these databases are found at www.dtic.mil/dpmo.

This information was taken from Paul Follett’s column Tree Tracers published in the Lawton Constitution on April 21, 2008 – via SWOGS.

February 2008, V7#2: Genealogy Wednesday, Jan 7 2009 

Pre-1946 Military Personnel Files Made Public

The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis announced the release of all pre-1946 official military personnel files to researchers.

Documents found in a typical personnel file include assignments, evaluations, awards and decorations, training, demographic information, limited medical information and disciplinary actions.  Some files contain the soldier’s photograph.

To request a copy of a file, submit standard form 180 to NPRC, 9700 Page Ave., St. Louis, MO 63132.  The veteran or next-of-kin of a deceased veteran may use eVetRecs at www.archives.gov.veterans/evetrecs.index.html.

Copies of the personnel files are $15 for 5 pages or less and $50.00 for over 6 pages.  Most files contain over 6 pages.  Files of “persons of exceptional prominence” are $.75 per page.

Files may be viewed at the NPRC Archival Research Room in St. Louis.  The research room is open Tues-Fri, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Call 314-801-0850 for a reservation.

Additional information concerning the opening of these records is found in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) press release at http://www.archives.gov/press/press-releases/2008/nr08-14.html.

The National Personnel Records Center is the repository for the 20th century service records.  The files consist of personnel, health and medical records of discharged and deceased solders from all the services.  The repository holds over 57 million individual files.  Every year additional records will be released for public use.

Pre-World War I military records are available from the National Archives in Washington DC.  For further information, visit the NARA webpage at http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/military.

This information was taken from Paul Follett’s column Tree Tracers published in the Lawton Constitution on November 5, 2007.

July 2003, V2#7: Genealogy Saturday, Jan 3 2009 

While becoming that student of history we have already suggested, is your lost ancestor in America during the time the US was giving out free land to it’s citizens?  If so, your next stop should be the homestead records!  This little utilized collection of documents and information is housed at the national archives and has not been reproduced or indexed in any wide reaching way.  The Homestead National Monument has begun exploring the best way to augment NARA general paper preservation process by replicating them in Nebraska.

August 2004, V3#8: Computer Thursday, Dec 25 2008 

Take a visit to the US National Archives.  They are making more and more available online.  While this will never take the place of research trips, there are lots of things to help you out.  For instance, several of their printed publications are available in their entirety online free of charge.

http://www.nara.gov