Monday, May 27, 2013

War Memorials: WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam War

Five Kansas City Area War Memorials
a3Genealogy challenges each of you to share a list of your favorite local War Memorials. We all can name the national memorials - even the WWI Liberty Memorial in Kansas City - but all across America, in large cities, suburbs, and rural towns, the watchful eye can spot war memorials honoring our veteran ancestors. Some are dedicated to a specific war, or troop, others provide a running list of town veterans or those who lost their lives serving our country. These not-so known memorials most often display veteran’s names, but some are structures of “salute” inviting the community to learn more of local troops. Here are five of our favorites.

1.  Korean-Vietnam War Memorial in Kansas City, KS (Wyandotte County Lake, 91st and Leavenworth Rd). Visit for additional memorial photos.  Dedicated 1988.

2.  Korean War Veterans Memorial, located in Overland Park, Ks. on 119th/Lowell St, honors 412  fallen and missing soldiers of the Korean War. Dedicated 2006.

3.  Rosedale WWI Memorial Arch. Although we no longer think of Rosedale, KS as a small town, in the 1920’s it truly was the home of a small community on the outskirts of Kansas City. This Arc de Triomphe style memorial sits high on a hill over the Rosedale neighborhood to remind us of the veterans of the 42nd Rainbow Division of WWI. Later names of Vietnam and Korean veterans from Rosedale were added.  It is on memorials like these that we may find our veteran ancestor’s names. Dedicated in 1924.
Rosedale WWI Memorial Arch

4.  The Buffalo Soldier Monument in Ft. Leavenworth celebrates the 9th and 10th all black Calvary Regiments best noted for the Indian Wars. Dedicated in 1992.

5.  Spanish-American War Memorial, The Hiker, in Kansas City at Penn Valley Park. As mentioned earlier some of the memorials are monuments/structures that invite the community to remember ancestral involvement in a war. Names of veterans who served in the Spain-American War, the Philippine Insurrection and China Relief expedition of 1898-1902 are not provided on this memorial. (1947).

Happy Memorial Day.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible, Answers (AAA)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

WWII Captured German Records

Research Soldiers, Graves, Maps
The effort to uncover, identify and study the Captured German Records is getting a lot of attention lately. Captured German Records include: SS, Wehrmacht, Heeres, NSDAP (Nazi), Personnel Records, Aerial Photographs, Foreign Military Studies, German Technical Manuals and more. Actually the microfilm NARA Finding Aid collection is described in over 100 volumes of finding aids ("German Guides"), and the Library of Congress Finding Aid of Captured German Record Manuscripts is also impressive. The original records were returned to the Federal Republic of Germany at the German Bundesarchiv-Abteilung Militaerarchiv in Frieburg/Breisgau, but the NARA has a microfilm copy of the collection.

Resources for Captured German Records
Although most prefer to hire military and NARA expert researchers who are familiar with the various collections and repositories that hold the various records, some may find the thrill in uncovering records DIY (do-it-yourself) style. So for those who wish to tackle this project, know that the NARA collection of WWII Captured German Records consists of over 70,000 microfilm rolls of original German records. There are over 993 microfilm rolls of  the German Army High Command - Oberkommando des Heeres/OKH  (link to T78), and 1,581 rolls of Oberkommando der Wehrmact/OKW  (link to T77) microfilm. So where should you start?

Finding Aids
NARA. Lucky for us many of the NARA finding aids are online
Library of Congress (LOC). Although researchers would hope for one comprehensive set of records held in one repository, it is not the case. Even within the LOC, researchers must be quite familiar with the various divisions. Begin with the Finding Aid in the Manuscript Division, but, don’t forget the Map and Cartho Division at the LOC. Detailed WWII aerial photographs or topographical maps of towns, regions and battle areas are often designated on the German maps. The WWII German occupation collection of maps is not available online. 

WWII Aerial Photos and Maps
Be sure to visit the WWII Aerial Photos and Maps website.This online collection has an extensive collection of maps spanning from Pre-War Topographical Maps to German and Russian Situation maps.

German Grave Research
If you are looking for a specific German Grave, you may wish to try the Volksbund website This easy to use searchable database is in German.

Know that with access to WWII era German map paired with research in the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht records and Oberkommando des Heeres/OKH records at the NARA, researchers may also pinpoint the area of a grave or burial site.

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers (AAA)