Have you explored your family members’ World War II service? If not, you can take the opportunity to explore Fold3.com’s extensive World War II collection free of charge through the end of May. That seems like a fitting activity for Memorial Day weekend, doesn’t it?
World War II is recent enough that you may have some family lore you could explore by checking out Fold3’s collection, which includes, among other things:
- draft registration cards
- enlistment records
- navy muster rolls
You won’t be able to find service records, which, according to the Genealogy Insider blog, are available only to veterans and next of kin for privacy reasons.
I personally don’t have a lot of direct-line WWII research to do–neither my grandparents nor my parents served. But I have found interesting information in the form of draft registration. For example, the Old Man’s Draft–the fourth draft registration for that war–included men born between 1877 and 1897, so I was able to find information on my father’s maternal grandfather, William Reese Rasco. That’s the front page of his draft registration card pictured above. As you can see, it provides some great information: date and place of birth, residence in 1942, next of kin info, name and address of employer. The back of the card has a physical description–height, weight, eye and hair color, race, complexion and a box for other obvious physical characteristics.
In 1942, William Reese Rasco was 6′ tall and 195 pounds. He had a ruddy complexion and grey hair. I don’t think I’ve seen a picture of him, so I love that this gives me a bit of a mental image.
If you have some time and inclination, I encourage you to check out this collection (as well as the World War II records on Family Search and Ancestry) in honor of your veteran ancestors.