Ancestry Helps You Record Your Family’s World War II Veteran Stories
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Ancestry is reaching out to anyone with a family member who served during the Second World War to preserve their memories and stories:
Help us record the story of WWII, as told by the people who lived it. The memories of our veterans paint a more vivid picture than any history book. But with each year, as veterans pass on, their stories are lost, too.
Ancestry has set up a new landing page where you can upload your own video of a veteran’s story to share with other Ancestry members. Click HERE for more information.
Here is an example – click below to listen to Emil Zumstein’s story recorded by his nephew Jim:
Jim comes from a line of military service members. He served our country as an Air Force Colonel with tours across three continents. He recognizes the importance of preserving our country’s rich military history and notably, the stories of our WWII service men and women which are becoming harder to find.
Jim’s Uncle Emil served on the U.S.S. Skipjack and U.S.S. Flying Fish where he was involved in the Battle of Midway, which occurred in June 1942. Emil miraculously survived and later served on the submarine that entered Tokyo Bay at end of World War II.
Interview Questions for Your WWII Veteran
“If you’re looking for topics to discuss, here are some suggestions to get the conversation started.”
- Please tell us your name, age, and where you are from.
- What branch of the military were you in? What unit?
- Where did you serve in WWII and in what capacity? (e.g. what positions did you hold? What were your responsibilities?)
- What battles did you fight in?
- What was your most memorable experience during the war?
- Did you receive any medals, honors, or recognitions during your service?
- Who were your closest comrades?
- How did you stay in touch with your family during the war?
- When did you realize we would win the war? Was there a turning point? How did that make you feel?
- Were you afraid? How did you feel?
- Were you with anyone who didn’t make it back?
- What did you do in your off-time?
- How do you feel about your service now?
Do This NOW! Don’t Delay!
I know all too well what it is like to regret interviewing an older relative. My Uncle Greg served in the US Navy starting in 1945 as World War II was ending. I have many of the letters he sent to his parents, but what a treasure it would be to have him on video telling about his service. There is nothing like a first person narrative of military service.
Please don’t tell yourself, “Oh, I’ll do that someday.” The next thing you know, that veteran has passed and you’ve missed an opportunity to preserve and share those memories. Your family’s legacy depends upon you, the family historian.
Click HERE for to get started.
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