IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT OUR RESEARCH SERVICES:
The National WWII Museum’s WWII Research Service has, at its core, the Military Personnel File of the individual veteran. These files are housed in the National Archives’ National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. The NPRC, like all other National Archive’s agencies are currently closed to the public and outside researchers are not able to pull any form of records. Due to these circumstances we cannot access our key resource that we need to provide you with our services. We have hence decided to pause the program until we know that we can retrieve the files of your veterans again.
In anticipation of the National Archives’ reopening, we are currently reworking our services to accommodate your requests more efficiently.
Please find general FAQs and Terms and Conditions below.
For all that are interested in pursuing research on your veteran’s WWII history once we are able to do so again, please fill out the attached form. We will make sure to inform you as soon as our services are back open.
For all other inquiries and questions please email ISWD@nationalww2museum.org.
Your WWII Research Services Team
My Dad was the hero I never knew. I am forever grateful to the dedicated staff of the Museum for telling my Dad’s story—it will be passed on by me to my children and their children.
– Stanley R. Katz
WWII Research Services Packages:
Once we reopen, we anticipate to be able to offer the following services (pricing tbd).
This basic package includes your veteran’s file as our researchers find it in the National Archives and Records Administration in St. Louis, and may include additional records found through other sources. There is no guaranteed file size or page total, and in some cases, could potentially be solely a fragment of the file (see notes in FAQ and terms and conditions on the 1973 fire).
If our researchers determine that sufficient information about your veteran is available and you choose the PLUS package, we will retrieve all of the available documents and compose a multipage summary of your veteran’s military experience, delivered to you via certified mail in a Museum folder and envelope.
This package includes the same information as the regular PLUS package, however, it will come as a cloth- or leather-bound book. Additional copies, perfect for extended family, are available for a supplementary fee.
If our researchers determine that sufficient information about your veteran is available and you choose the PREMIER package, they will create a book based off their WWII story. This volume will include all the documents featured in the PLUS package as well as a detailed military biography including enlistment, basic and specialized training, unit history, areas of deployment, and summary of relevant battles or campaigns during the war. Supplemental material may include maps, pictures, charts, etc.
The military biography and selected documents will be printed and professionally bound with your choice of a cloth or high-quality leather ($100 additional charge) cover, and mailed with insured postage. Additional copies, perfect for extended family, are available for a supplementary fee.
Do you know when you will be able to resume your services?
No, The National WWII Museum is not affiliated with the National Archives, a government institution. We are not privy to any non-public information, but monitor the situation closely. We will resume our services once we are able to access their records again.
Do your historians research veterans from conflicts other than World War II?
No, we’re currently only researching WWII veterans. However, if the WWII veteran we are researching served in another conflict and we’ve located documents in their file from those wars, we’ll include them in the biography.
Can you research individuals who worked on the Home Front or in a civilian capacity during World War II?
Not at this time. We currently only research WWII veterans, but we may expand the research program at a later time.
How long does the complete process take from beginning to end?
Depending on how long it takes to retrieve your veteran’s military records, and how much material we are able to obtain, the entire process can take as little as a few weeks to several months. This is a projected estimate and may vary depending on other issues. Should you purchase a PREMIER package, the projected time frame will also be affected by the time it takes our printer to produce the actual book.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the National Archives’ pandemic-related closure we expect there to be delays upon reopening due to processing backlogs. We are working on a solution for the Museum’s services that will address these possible issues.
What are your research sources?
The most important source we’ll use—and the one that determines if we can move forward with writing a veteran’s story—comes from the Official Military Personnel File or Individual Deceased Personnel File, both of which are housed at the National Archives in St. Louis. For our PLUS, PLUS BOUND and PREMIER packages, we supplement this material using additional databases, state archives, military websites from each branch of the service, and any other material our professional historians discover.
I heard files were destroyed at the National Archives in St. Louis. Can you tell me if my veteran’s file was destroyed? If it was, can you still research my veteran?
In 1973, a devastating fire destroyed numerous military and federal files at the National Archives. The majority of the files destroyed were Army files (You can read more about the fire here: https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/st-louis-national-records-fire-july-12-1973). Our initial research will help determine if your veteran’s file is still available.
Can you use materials I have to help write my veteran’s story?
Absolutely! During our initial contact, we’ll ask if you have any available materials that can be used in the biography. We’ll then work with you to transfer a copy of those items electronically so they can be incorporated into the story.
Can I order more than one copy of my veteran’s story?
Yes, for an additional cost per book.