November 11 is the day that we stop and remember all that our servicemen and women have done for us. Veterans’ Day began as a result of World War I. The year after the truce was signed, Armistice Day was celebrated in the United States as a way to honor the veterans of World War I. 20 years later, Armistice Day became a federal holiday. It was after World War II that the holiday’s name was changed to Veterans’ Day.
There are so many resources for remembering and researching the veterans in our family tree. For those who died during war or in peace there are two websites that can help, the American Battle Monuments Commission, http://www.abmc.gov/home.php, is the site to look up soldiers who are buried on foreign ground. Beginning with the American Civil War, American soldiers have been buried in foreign countries near where they have died during wartime activities. This website allows you to look up a soldier in their database as well as request a picture of their headstone. The Department of Veteran Affairs website, http://gravelocator.cem.va.gov/j2ee/servlet/NGL_v1, has their Nationwide Gravesite Locater to find veterans buried in one of our nation’s veterans’ cemeteries. They also have limited listing for veterans buried in private cemeteries.
One of my recommendations for researching veterans is to use the keyword search in the Family History Library Catalog. You can use the keyword search to search for records that have to do with a certain conflict, like World War I. Don’t forget to also conduct a place search for the state and county your soldier was from. The Family History Library has a selection of different types of records that can be of assistance to you, such as regiment histories, personnel lists, and personal narratives.
Of course there are the standard places to look for military files and information on veteran ancestors. The National Archives, http://www.archives.gov/, and Ancestry.com provides you with access to military files, pensions files, casualty lists and draft registrations.