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.

The National Archives website has a page entitled, “Independent Researchers for Hire – Locations: Researchers Specializing in Records held at the National Archives at College Park facility.”  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 list of researchers.  The list displays names of researchers in random order each time it is viewed.   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.  Inquire as to whether the researcher can scan documents using their own equipment or will be using the archives’ equipment.  Sending you scanned copies may be faster and cheaper than having paper copies made.    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 research topic specialty, media type specialty, presidential records, and state and facility location.  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/.  So far I have not had any experience with them.  In an email to me 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.”

In the case of the British National Archives, I have had recommended to me the professional researcher Lee Richards.  See his website at http://www.arcre.com/.

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