Researching a World War II Veteran

Learning Pathway

This online research guide shows you how to investigate the lives of people who served in the US military during World War II. You will be able to extend what you learn to other genealogy and family history topics. As you progress through the guide, you will have opportunities to apply what you are learning by answering research-driven questions. You will learn how to

  • find a Veteran or Service member in a cemetery near you using the National Cemetery Administration and Veterans Legacy Memorial websites
  • read a military gravestone for important clues about who someone was, what they believed, and how they may have died
  • find the Veteran or Service member in the federal censuses from 1950 and earlier to gain insight into a Veteran’s circumstances before the war and how their lives may have changed as a result of their military service.
View of graves at cemetery overlooking ocean at sunset
Not Started

Cemeteries and Graves

Starting with the Civil War, the federal government became increasingly invested in honoring the legacies of fallen soldiers and Veterans by providing a final resting place. Understanding the history of National Cemetery Administration cemeteries can give you critical insights into how a Service member or Veteran may have died. Online resources such as the Veterans Legacy Memorial website can help you find a soldier to research, while knowing how to read the text on a headstone can help jumpstart your research journey.

View of the 1950 Census Population Schedule, focused on the form title and some of the field names.
Not Started

The United States Federal Census

Every ten years, the federal government counts the population of the United States. This is so fundamental to our democracy that it is mandated in the US Constitution. Seventy-two years after a census is taken it becomes available to the general public. Recently, for example, the 1950 census was released. This source can provide a wealth of useful and fascinating information about a WWII Veteran, both before and after the war.

Your score: 0%