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# Tuesday, 23 May 2017
Three New Ways to Learn About Your Ancestor's Military Service
Posted by Diane

On Memorial Day, Americans traditionally place flowers on the graves of those who died in military service (read how this holiday, originally called Decoration Day began). Canadians observe Memorial Day on July 1. 


Library of Congress

Another way to honor your ancestors who served in the armed forces is to learn about their wartime experiences and preserve those stories by writing them down. If it was years ago when you last learned about the wars your ancestors served in, it might be time to give it another go—technology offers new ways to explore historic wars through maps, apps and videos.


Library of Congress

Maps
If you can learn the military unit and battles your relative served in (this military research guide can help), military maps let you trace his movements and even where he would've been during battles. The Library of Congress has a Military Battles and Campaigns map collection, which you can search by keyword using the search field at the top of the page. The one above is from a series showing the 12th Army Group from D-Day through July 26, 1945, in World War II.

The David Rumsey Map Collection has digitized military maps and military atlases you can search or browse using the filters on the left side of the page.

For the Civil War and American Revolution, explore the animated and historical maps at the Civil War Trust website. They include overviews of the entire war and for individual battles.

Apps
Your smart device can help you access military history information wherever you are. Try searching your device's app store for "military history," "[name of war] history" or "[name of battle] history." A few I found include:
  • Civil War Today ($2.99, iOS): This History Channel app shows you a daily newspaper article about the war.

  • Civil War Trust Battle Apps (free, iOS and Android): These let you virtually tour Civil War battlefields for major battles like Chancellorsville and Antietam, and they're good companions if you're visiting the battlefield. 

  • Military History (.99, iOS): This reference has 1,200 entries for  important military events; search by date and keyword. It also has a "this day in history" feature.

  • 20th Century Military Uniforms (about $4, iOS and Android): View uniforms used by various countries throughout the 20th century.
Videos
The Civil War Trust comes through again with educational videos from history experts, including a Civil War In4 series that delves into a topic in four minutes or less.

The National Archives' YouTube channel has playlists including WWI Films, Tuskeegee Airmen and D-Day. The Library of Congress has a YouTube playlist on the Spanish-American War. YouTube also has videos from Ken Burns' documentaries about the Civil War and World War II.

And here's the only known Allied color footage from World War II.

More Genealogy Resources for Military Ancestors
Find websites for researching your ancestors who served in the US Armed Forces in this list of websites and get research tips in our free podcast on military records

In ShopFamilyTree.com, check out our downloadable, complete guides to research in military service records and military pension records.


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Maps | Military records
Tuesday, 23 May 2017 12:44:23 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [2]
Wednesday, 24 May 2017 07:09:23 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
Hi. We "Canadians" do NOT observe "Memorial Day" on July first. November 11 th would be more accurate! July 1st would be "Dominion Day" or "Canada Day", the observance of our founding/birthday.
Kathleen Irene Wells
Saturday, 24 June 2017 08:32:12 (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
I love your comment about "If it's been years since..." Even though I've only been working on genealogy for eleven years, I'm finding that I need to revisit those ancestors I found early. There is so much more information about them online now than there was then, plus I am now a better researcher and can use the knowledge I've gained along the way to find more nuggets.
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