Connecting with a loved one’s WWII experience becomes tougher with each passing day—conversations, old documents, and photos fade. Finding records and making sense of them can be a daunting task. The Museum’s WWII Research Services offers a solution. Based off factual details provided about your WWII veteran, our expert researchers with the Museum’s Institute for the Study of War and Democracy can wade through myriad military and civilian files to locate veteran information that isn’t easily accessible on the Internet—with the goal of discovering every available detail about your loved one’s WWII service history. This may include military rank and affiliation, details about training and battles overseas, awarded medals and citations, unit reports and rosters, maps, photographs, and casualty reports.*
Once our researchers acquire these details through available records, they can even write your loved one’s WWII story based off your selected package. An online form starts the process. Review the packages below then submit your request.
*Some restrictions apply. Please read full terms and conditions.
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:
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).
Cost: $99 plus tax
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.
Cost: $399 plus tax minus the $99 FILE package 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.
Cost: $2,499 plus tax minus $99 FILE package fee
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.
What are the levels of pricing for your research services?
To begin the process of researching your WWII veteran, we’ll need to immediately determine if there are documents available to develop a thorough biography. This initial research requires a nonrefundable $99 (plus tax) fee. For this fee, you will receive the file as we find it in the National Archives. Should enough documents be available to do further research, we’ll retrieve them and summarize the material in a brief narrative. You will receive the military service documents and the summary for an additional cost of $300 (plus tax). If you decide you would like to have the full biography developed, the total cost will be $2,499 (plus tax).
How can I pay for these services?
You can pay with a major credit card or a personal check made payable to The National WWII Museum. We do not accept cash. If you send a check, please remember to add the 9.45% tax.
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, we estimate the entire process will take 10 to 12 weeks. If you contact the National Archives directly, it may take 90 days to six months to receive the veteran’s personnel files. However, 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.
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 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. 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.
Will I be able to choose the binding for my veteran’s story?
Those who choose our Premier package will receive our findings in an attractive hardcover book. You can also choose a leather cover for an additional charge.
Can I order more than one copy of my veteran’s story?
Yes, for an additional cost per book.