FamilyQuest: Websites help find vets’ service records

It is always an honor for me to help someone on their quest to find an ancestor in their family tree. It is especially heartwarming to help find service members of the Armed Forces who sacrificed their lives in wartime. In my search to locate the photos of military men from Vietnam, Korea, and World War II for a local memorial program, I have read the stories of their last minutes on earth. It is, without a doubt, a very gut wrenching story of a just turned 20-year-old losing his life on the battlefield, or captured by the enemy, or on “eternal patrol” because the submarine he was on sank, never to be heard from again. That is the price of our freedom.

World War II service men and women have been honored with a beautiful memorial in Washington D.C., and you can add the name of any WW II veteran. Go to the National WWII Memorial website for more information. Also, casualties from Connecticut can be searched for at the National Archives website.

The Korean War Memorial honors those service men and women who served from 1950-1953. The 19 figures of this memorial recreate a platoon on patrol, representing each branch of the armed forces. Go to the Korean War Project website to search for these brave soldiers and sailors, or visit the National Archives website for the Connecticut list of Korean War casualties.

The “Wall” Vietnam Memorial is an awe-inspiring monument. There are several sites to read the names and view the pictures of those lost on foreign soil. Go to The Virtual Wall's website to search for a loved one, or the National Archives website for Connecticut casualties.

For the Navy, the On Eternal Patrol website lists the lost U.S. Navy submariners, many with photos. Also, HonorStates.org lists all branches of the service, many with photos.

The National Archives database also lists information on these three wars. Select the war and fill in the search space with the veteran’s name. There are award records, as well as their personal information.

Family Search is a free genealogy site where you can search for U.S. military headstone applications from 1929-1945 and World War 2 Army enlistment records.

The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) is a database of those buried and memorialized at our overseas military cemeteries, along with those names on the Walls of the Missing at the East Coast Memorial, West Coast Memorial, and Honolulu Memorial.

We must remember these veterans along with the thousands of our military personnel who continue to protect our country with their lives. There is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend. Thank you for your service and our freedom.

Happy hunting!

Suzanne Matteson is a professional cook by day and an amateur genealogist by night. Email her at familyquests@gmail.com.

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