By Frankie Meyer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Does your family history include details about the military service of relatives and ancestors? This information is an essential part of a family's history.
Where did each member serve? What were their years of service? What were their duties? Did they serve during wars? Were they in battles? Did they receive medals or commendations? What actions led to the awards? Are there military markers at their grave sites?
Along with that information, include maps that show the areas where they served. Add photos of military markers, too. Also include photos of the people in their uniforms.
Did any of them have siblings who served at the same time? That was a situation that often occurred.
My mother had three brothers who served in World War II. One was in the Army, one in the Air Force and another in the Navy. Her parents proudly displayed a photo of their sons posed together in military uniforms.
In addition, include copies of letters that were sent home, diary entries, commendations and newspaper articles. If you know of descendants who inherited military medals, contact them and ask to have the medals scanned so copies of the medals can be added to the family history book.
How can one contact relatives to learn about the military service of ancestors and relatives? If you know the general area where they live, try the website www.switchboard.com. It is helpful in finding most people, except for those who have a common name such as John Smith.
When the site opens, click on ÒFind a Person.Ó Next, enter the name and the state where you think the person lives. The site then provides a list of everyone with that name in that area. It also includes phone numbers and addresses.
To check a gravestone for military information and to learn whether the grave site has a military marker, check the website www.findagrave.com. It has information on many of the large cemeteries in our nation.
The site usually provides a photo of the entrance of the cemetery, along with information about the location. Best of all, it often includes photos of grave sites. All of the photos are taken by volunteers.
Suggestions or queries? Contact Frankie Meyer, 509 N. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.