military prisoner of war Records (POW records)
Search Military Prisoner of War Records Using the Access to Archival Databases at www.archives.gov
Searching for military POW records through Archives.gov is fairly simple. There are many, many records available, so knowing exactly what you are looking for -- before you begin searching -- will lessen your required search time. Below are the steps you need to take to search for these records with ease.
How to Search Military POW Records
Start of by going to the National Archives website at http://www.archives.gov/. On the homepage, there will be a side bar on the left hand side. Scroll down this menu until you pass the ‘What We Do’ and ‘Explore & Interact’ portions and reach the ‘Research & Order’ portion of the menu. Under this heading you will see several links to choose form. You will need to choose the ‘Start Your Research’ selection (the first available option underneath this heading).
Doing this it will take you to a new page where you need to scroll down the center, until you see the ‘Online Research Tools’ portion. Here you will see several helpful links that will all take you to different resources in the National Archives website. The link you are looking for, for this particular search, is the second one down, which is labeled ‘Access to Archival Databases (AAD)’.
You will then be taken to the AAD page, where you can choose to search using a specific term or you can browse by several different categories. These categories include: Genealogy/Personal History (Casualties, Military Personnel, Prisoners of War, etc), Indexes to (Photographs, Textual Records, etc), Private Sector (Businesses, Labor Unions, etc), Places (Countries, States, Counties, etc), Wars/International Relations (Civil War, World War I & II, etc), Government Spending (Contracts, Grants, etc), and Time Spans (1800-1900, 1965-1975, 1995-present, etc). For this particular search, you will need the ‘Prisoners of War‘ link, which is located underneath the ‘Genealogy/Personal History‘ category.
From there, you will be taken to a page which lists specific databases that are archived within this category. Next to each database will be a number that represents how many individual files (one file for each person) are located within that database. When you find the database that you would like to search through, select ‘Search’. You will be transported to an overview page that will give you a run-down on what is listed within that database. Once again, select ‘Search’.
This will take you to the search form for the database that you selected. It will have several criteria options that you can choose from. You can search by one of these options or even all of them. Databases containing records for prisoners of war will have the following criteria options: The serial number of the POW, the POW’s name, their service code, their state of residence, their area, their status, their detaining power, and their camp. Select ‘Search’.
You will then receive a list of files that match up with your search criteria. Look through the list until you come upon a record that you would like to view. Next to the person’s serial number (to your left hand side), there will be a paper-shaped icon. You will need to click on this icon in order to view that individual’s file.
You will then be taken to the person’s file. The information within this file may be limited, as military public records are (more detailed files are only available to next-of-kin). The available information may include: The person’s serial number, their name, their grade & grade code, their service code, the arm or service & corresponding code, the date report (day, month, and/or year), their racial group code, their state of residence, the type of organization, the parent unit numbers & parent unit type, their area, the latest report date (day, month, and/or year), their status, their detaining power, their camp, their rep, the POW transport ships involved, and the source of report.
The Archives.gov website offers databases to help you with other military searches as well, such as for personnel records or casualty records. No matter what type of record you are looking for, as long as it is military or war related, there is a good chance you will receive the information you need from Archives.gov.
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