As each moment passes, more memories of World War II leave us. 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, which is why we launched WWII Research Services, an initiative aimed at locating and translating military records for the general public.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT OUR RESEARCH SERVICES:
The National WWII Museum’s World War II Research Services are temporarily unavailable due to the continued closure of the National Archives to external researchers such as us.
Our Research Services have at their core the Official Military Personnel File of individual veterans. Due to the ongoing pandemic, which resulted in the closure to external researchers of the National Personnel Records Center and National Archives in St. Louis, those files are currently unavailable to our team. As a result, our World War II Research Services are currently on hold.
As you can appreciate, we have received a flood of requests since March of 2020, and the volume has been incredibly encouraging. Unfortunately, without access to the archival records, we have not been able to make headway on those requests. In addition, we are temporarily not accepting any new requests until after the archival files are fully accessible. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Please find general FAQs and Terms and Conditions below.
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
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 and work through our backlog.
Do your historians research veterans from conflicts other than World War II?
No, our focus is on the service of 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?
Unfortunately, our Research Services are currently paused. At this time, it is unknown when we will regain access to the National Archives and begin to work through requests submitted prior to the pandemic.
Due to the National Archives’ pandemic-related access restrictions, we expect 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.
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: St. Louis, July 12, 1973: A Disaster with Long-Lasting Repercussions. Our initial research will help determine if your veteran’s file is still available. However, if the file was destroyed, we will likely not be able to conduct research provide further information.