your very best reference material will come from sources that are not on
the net in any significant way. These resources include libraries, newspapers,
schools, personal interviews, and other similar resources.
A great place to start is the Hometown Library
of the person you are researching. Small town libraries will probably be
better and more willing to help you. Ask about yearbooks, and on file local
newspapers or microfilm of newspapers. The librarians will know where to
find these resources if they are not on file in the library. It is also
very likely that small town librarians will know of any special tributes,
memorials, or other civic tributes to the missing or dead of that town.
Local Newspapers are another great source
of information. You can get the names of the local paper from the Librarian
:-) Most newspapers keep some record, microfilm copy, or storage of their
printed works for historical and reference purposes. Call the paper and
explain that you are doing first hand research. Ask them any questions
you may have about the town and ask them if they can reference the name
of your vet to any articles that they have printed. Newspapers are very
busy organizations usually, so be prepared to wait for your results and
please be patient. If you present yourself well you might even get someone
on the paper interested in doing a retrospective article and bringing this
issue up to the general public.
Local Schools can be a source of yearbook
pictures and potential interviews with teachers or other people who remember
your adoptee. Be aware that there are many laws and rules that schools
must follow, so if they say they are legally unable to help do not push
them. Yearbooks make an excellent source for photographs of how the man
looked before he entered the service.
According to Gunny, Timothy G. reported great results using the facilities
of The Library Of Congress in his research.
He was able to find a great deal of information including letters, official
communications, and other good information on microtape. As this author
understands it, you can order this information and view it at your local
library. Many libraries have facilities where for a nominal charge you
can get paper copy of that which is on the microtape. The following are
links outside of OJC: Library Of Congress
Main Page, LOC POW/MIA
database, and LOC Research
Personal Interviews are a tricky subject.
The potential to open old wounds and cause pain is very great. If you choose
to take this course please be careful.
Sometimes war buddies can be found online or in real life. If they
have a website devoted to their service, chances are pretty good that they
are willing to be approached about their experiences. We suggest you don't
jump right in, but introduce yourself and your purpose and ask if they
mind a few questions about someone they might have known. Only after getting
their acceptance would we suggest getting specific with a name and other
On occasion you will find a family member online or learn of their
location in real life. Approaching survivors is extremely personal and
very tricky. To be frank, unless you are certain beyond a doubt that the
person is involved in POW/MIA issues, or is currently still attempting
to locate the family member, we would not suggest approaching them.
if they feel that they have had closure then bringing the issue up has
the potential to cause severe emotional pain and trauma. If however they
are active in the MIA issue, or actively looking for the person in question,
then using the same gentle approach as described above for war buddies
might be in order.
It needs to be said again:
Special Consideration: One note
here, if you DO find a family member or a buddy online or elsewhere, it
is imperative that you think carefully before approaching these people
asking for information. Remember you are going to be asking about a very
challenging area of their lives.