If you are looking for information on a Veteran who served during World War II, a good place to start may be to look for their enlistment records. The National Archives has made available the majority of the enlistment records during World War II on their website at archives.gov. Through the use of the Access to Archival Databases search on their site, searching for the first and last name with the word “enlistment” following is likely to result in a file that you can view with some basic information such as their Army serial number, name, state of residence, county of residence, place of enlistment, the year they enlisted and their year of birth. An option is shown alongside the name to view the record that they have on file which goes into more detail.
We searched for “John Smith Enlistment” using the search form on this page and the following result was shown.
We clicked the button to view records and as you can probably imagine, there are a lot of records for “John Smith”, so if you were looking for someone with a common name, you would have to scroll through the list and look at the place of locations listed to find one that closely matches. For this example, we will use the first “John Smith” listed.
You can view the basic information listed above, but you may notice the little page icon to the left of the entry. Clicking this page icon will bring you to what they have on file for the record which we will show below.
For some, the information listed above may be more than what they know about a World War II Veteran before they started their research. The information also gives a good starting point to branch off into other searches. Something unique like the Serial Number may be listed in documents or notes and can be helpful.