World War II records

6 Jul 2014

Michigan World War II Veterans Database

A new database of Michigan World War II veterans is available, and you can contribute information on your Michigan World War II veterans to it. MLive, a Michigan online newspaper, is searching for an estimated 39,000 World War II veterans living in Michigan at the present time. MLive is building a searchable database of their names, photographs, and stories, which is also a valuable new tool for genealogists.

MLive will chronicle the men and women of Michigan who served during World War 2 and are still with us with a series of stories and events to commemorate their service. As part of our effort to honor these veterans, we plan to document them in listings in our local communities across Michigan. We plan to culminate the project on Veterans Day with events throughout the state. There will also be stories throughout the year about Michigan’s role in the war and the […]

19 May 2014

A World War II Widow Journeys to Normandy

World War II Widow Journeys to Normandy is the story of a 60-year search for the final resting place of 1st Lt. Billie Dowe Harris. If you read only one thing about World War II and Normandy as the 70th anniversary of D-Day approaches, I hope it’s about 1st Lt. Harris and his devoted wife, Peggy.

Peggy and Billie Harris were married just six weeks before 1st Lt. Harris left to serve in World War II. On July 17, 1944, 1st Lt. Harris flew a mission over Nazi-occupied France, from which he never returned.

For more than 60 years, Peggy has been on a journey to find answers to her husband’s whereabouts.

He was first reported as missing, and then reported as alive and coming home. But Peggy later received a letter saying he was killed and buried at a certain cemetery, then another letter that said he was buried in another […]

18 Dec 2013

Czech Kindertransport and Sir Nicholas Winton

This is the story of a remarkable man – still with us at the age of 104 – named Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved 669 children from the Nazis between December 1938 and August 1939. Winton, a British stockbroker, established the Czech Kindertransport and worked with a team in Prague to save the children, most of whose parents perished at Auschwitz. Winton raised money, organized transports, and when necessary, forged papers to save the children.

Winton was so modest about his role in the Kindertransport that it was only revealed in 1988 when his wife Grete found detailed records in their attic. It contained lists of the children, including their parents’ names, and the names and addresses of the families that took them in.

Eighty of “Winton’s children” were located in Britain and reunited on the BBC television programme That’s Life! as you can see in the heart-warming clip below.

If you are doing family research in […]

31 Aug 2013

Seeing History Through Dad’s Eyes

 

Seeing History Through Dad’s Eyes is a wonderful piece up on the New York Times this morning in their series, Booming: Living Through the Middle Ages. It’s so nice I’d rather have you go read it than read about me reading it.

But one thing first: having an affinity for past times in which you did not live is something we genealogists attempt to explain to others. So I especially like this author’s take on bonding with her father over World War II. And her father has excellent taste in movies. If you haven’t seen In Harm’s Way, please stop what you’re doing and go watch it now. I’ll wait here and then we can bond.