World War 2 Military Records – A Key to Discovering the Past

Now that America’s “greatest generation” are leaving us in ever greater numbers, there is much interest about their lives and the legacy they leave us. Genealogy buffs use World War 2 military records as a resource to further their research. Historians access these records to gain knowledge about an era so vital in the formation of our world today.

Genealogists and family historians access World War II military records to obtain information about their relatives. Other sources include census, birth, death, baptism, christening, marriage, immigration, land, and probate records. Because we are a land of immigrants, many records are from foreign countries in foreign languages, so research can be difficult. Military records can provide missing links to fill in the blank s when these other sources cannot.

Historians use records from the Armed Services to learn more about the men and women who helped forge this great nation. Names, birth dates and places, where they served, commendations, length of service, the theaters in which they fought, injury, and death records all provide pieces to a puzzle. Firsthand accounts from veterans will someday become impossible due to the passing of their generation, so written records will be all that is left of a great many veterans whose stories will be forever lost.

Why is this information important? As crucial as firsthand accounts are, memories fade; stories, dates, and outcomes become foggy; and events seem to lose their importance as time passes. World War 2 military records are concrete reminders of a shared past that is vital to our lives today, as we learn from the mistakes of the past. Our “greatest generation” deserves to be remembered in all that they have done for us.


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