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Kimberly Powell

Ancestry.com Offers Free Access to World War II Records

By December 2, 2011

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World War II Draft Card - James Luther OwensIn remembrance of the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ancestry.com is offering six days (December 2-7) of free access to nearly 60 million historical military records related to World War II. This includes the World War II Navy Muster Rolls, 1939-1949 made available on Ancestry.com earlier this year, which include 33 million quarterly reports detailing the location, rank and other information about nearly all enlisted personnel who served aboard ships during those years.

Two brand-new collections were added for this special week of free access to World War II Records, including one I'm especially excited about.

  • National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl Cemetery) Database - a collection of more than 120,000 records from 1949-1976, including headstone images and photos of names on war memorials. This cemetery is the second largest final resting place for veterans who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 - the primary resting place being the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.

  • U.S. WWII Young Men's Draft Cards, 1898-1929 - Now this is the one I am so excited about given that it not only includes the six draft registrations not previously available due to privacy laws (only the 4th draft registration dubbed the "Old Man's Draft Registration" was previously open to the public), but the first collection installment is almost 2 million draft cards from North Carolina - a state for which WWII draft cards were not previously online because the registration cards from the 4th "Old Man's Draft" had been destroyed! The first thing I did was search for my grandfather, James Luther Owens, who was born in 1922 and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. I know my mom will be happy to know that I found his draft card :-)

These new databases and the entire World War II Collection, available for free access from December 2-7, can be found at www.ancestry.com/pearlharbor.

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