Hiring a Professional Researcher

As an alternative to ordering copies of documents directly from the National Archives, you may want to hire a professional researcher.  I have had particularly good results from Gene Buck, a retired researcher for the Library of Congress.  You can reach him at ebuck43 at aol.com.

The National Archives website has a page entitled, “Independent Researchers for Hire.”  These people specialize in records at the National Archives II (NAII) where the World War II records are housed.  NAII is in College Park, Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C.   Use the link above to go directly to the 40-page list of researchers.   Each entry gives the type of records in which the researcher specializes.  Note also the person’s address.  Those living in Washington, D.C., the state of Maryland (MD), or the state of Virginia (VA), presumably will be able to access the archive more readily.  Contact the researcher for his or her rates and when the researcher can commence your research.  Also inquire as to whether the researcher can scan documents using their own equipment.  Sending you scanned copies may be faster and cheaper than having them make paper copies, etc.    Note at the end of the list the links that allow you to sort the list and extract what you want in the way of topic specialties and researcher locations.  Note also the disclaimer by the National Archives that these individuals are not National Archives employees and inclusion on the list is not endorsement of the quality of their work.

A private company that does research on WWII veterans’ records is Golden Arrow Military Research at http://www.goldenarrowresearch.com/.  I have no experience with them.  In an email in October 2013, their lead researcher said this of their services:

“My name is Geoff Gentilini and I am the lead researcher at Golden Arrow Military Research. We specialize in tracing the steps of individual WWII Veterans to show where they were and what they did during the war. This is a unique process that we have devised as a way to help genealogists, family members and historians gain a better understanding of the experiences of individual WWII Veterans.  This service is not offered by the National Archives or any other company in the United States, and it is especially exciting because so many Army and Air Corps Personnel Files were destroyed in the 1973 Personnel Center fire.  Many times we can actually reconstruct the service history of those whose records were lost in the fire.

“In addition to tracing the steps of individual WWII Veterans we also offer Official Military Service Records of WWII Veterans.  In most cases we are less expensive than going directly through the government and can have the exact same records ready within about 2 weeks. It can take the government 4 months just to respond to a family member’s request for their veteran’s records. If you have dealt with the government in requesting records then you know how frustrating it can be. We offer an alternative to the red tape and frustration of dealing directly with them.”

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