World War II - A Second Look
by Mandy Mathews, Family Historian
When utilizing the internet to assist in your genealogy research, it is important to regularly check for new information. Since writing the first article about WWII military records for the United States, I have found some additional information. There are several websites, maintained by volunteers that are constantly being updated. Whenever utilizing volunteer-based websites, please note the information is secondary. What you are able to view is typically an index compiled by volunteers who have a vested interest in genealogy. While the information is generally reliable, remember to allow for a margin of transcription error.
I recently found a new WWII military record database available at www.idreamof.com/military/ww2.htm. The name of the website is I Dream of Genealogy. The database available is a surname index of U.S. military service units who served in WWII. The index was compiled and submitted by Dianne Kiyomoto. It is organized alphabetically by surname. The index includes different information for each individual. Some of the items mentioned are:
- Name – last, first and middle initial
- Killed in Action information
This index is an excellent source for finding out if your ancestor served during WWII. While specific detail information is not available about how many individuals this index covers, I have found names in this database that I have not been able to find in other WWII record collections.
Another valuable research tool is available through veteran locaters. These websites are set up to help veterans and their families find friends and fellow servicemen. They cover all branches of the U.S. Military; Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. This research method is specifically beneficial for WWII because you may be able to speak to someone who actually served with your ancestor. There are many websites devoted to helping veterans find each other. One well known such website is: www.vetfriends.com.
The internet presents a vast field of possible resources for research. No matter how thoroughly you believe you have searched a specific topic, you need to keep checking for new information. The internet has opened many resources previously not available. When researching records that include living individuals, like WWII, the internet is one of the best ways to help you find the information you are looking for.