There are quite a few websites that are making some of their military records available for free this weekend. Today I took a sometime to review the records at http://pages.myheritage.com/memorialday/ .
I attempted to find records for a few of my ancestors. When performing a search of an online collection, it helps to keep the search broad and then narrow it to find valuable information. The is also a good time to introduce the concept of a research log or notebook. By documenting what collections you have searched and for what individuals you can avoid duplicating your work months or years later. It can also help to illuminate areas you might have overlooked or want to review more closely.
For example according to your current research you believe that your ancestor’s name is James L. Curtis, date of birth (dob) Kentucky, 1927. If you limit your search to those parameters, the search results might miss the person you are searching altogether for or return no results at all. Utilize the option of using a range of years (if available) , ie. + or – 5 years, within the search function. It normally is better to omit middle names or initials. Middle names or initials, may or may not be mentioned in the record.
Every collection you search will not necessarily contain information on one of your ancestors. It’s good to remember that records are not always accurate, nor do they all contain the same information. The information is only as accurate as the person who provided the information. The person could be wrong, misinformed or trying mislead the person or organization collecting the information. That’s why it’s important to use more than one source to verify information. I often say that, “genealogical research is often about finding a preponderance of evidence, rather than a direct smoking gun with fingerprints and gunpowder residue.” (I watch a lot of crime shows. LOL) Just because a piece of information conflicts with what you’ve previously learned, doesn’t mean it’s false. It might be good idea to file it under “further research needed”.
Shortened Transcript of Record that I was able to find on one of my ancestors.
|Enlistment:||Apr 9 1943
|Branch code:||No Branch Assignment|
|Term of enlistment:||Enlistment For The Duration of The War or Other Emergency, Plus Six Months, Subject To The Discretion of The President or Otherwise According To Law|
|Army component:||Selectees (Enlisted Men)|
|Race and citizenship:||Negro, Citizen|
|Education:||2 Years of High School|
|Civil Occupation:||Semiskilled Chauffeurs and Drivers, Bus, Taxi, Truck, and Tractor|
I was told previously that he served in the military, however I didn’t know what branch or when he enlisted. This gave me quite a bit of additional information. Excited!!! His birth certificate states he was born in Louisiana. However I know he lived in Texas for part of his childhood. The name, birthdate, residence and enlistment information all match. This tidbit will encourage me to request his full military records from The National Personnel Records Center. Previously, I’ve requested and received my father’s and my maternal grandfather military records.
Happy Hunting! I hope this blog has inspired you to do some research or perhaps preserve some stories from a veteran in your family.
Anna Mae’s Oldest Grand-baby