Military Family History Book

After putting together my Family History Binder, my husband came up with the idea to create a book about the military history of our family. Our plan is to gather military records, pictures, and stories about not only direct ancestors but also uncles and other relatives who served in the military.

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll use a binder and sheet protectors again for this project or if I’ll have it printed by Shutterfly or another company. I plan on doing more research first and then deciding on the format once I see how many and what types of records I gather.

To organize my research, I’ve started a new tree using Family Tree Maker (FTM). The individuals won’t all link together in a tree since some generations don’t have any members of the military, but I can still use the list of individuals to navigate between everyone. At first I had just made a spreadsheet to record my my info but I like that FTM allows you to save all of your images and sources so easily.

So far we’ve already gathered quite a bit of information. My husband posted yesterday in a family Facebook group asking for photos and stories, and responses have already been coming in. I also signed up for a free trial of Fold3 but haven’t had much time to sit down and research yet.

I haven’t done much in-depth military research before so this will definitely be a learning experience. While I’m working on this project, I’m not sure how much time I’ll have for blogging, but I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on my progress and share my research tips along the way.


This turned out to be much more difficult than I thought. I ended up only finding the draft records of a few family members and nothing else beyond that. As a result, this project has been put on hold for now.


15 thoughts on “Military Family History Book

  1. Anonymous January 26, 2017 / 11:16 pm

    A while back I made a spreadsheet on my military ancestors but wasn’t sure what to do with it. Now I do. This is a great idea!


  2. Denise Phillips January 27, 2017 / 6:43 am

    I have been trying to organize my family genealogy into a binder similar to your Family History Binder. But when I get to Part 3, which looks to be the “meat” of your 5 posts, I get a blank page error message. Have you taken it down? I’m curious to see the numbering system you’ve used, and how you’ve arranged the generations. Thanks for any help.



      • Denise Phillips January 30, 2017 / 9:51 pm

        Thank you. I just sent another message before I saw this. Thanks again.


      • Lainey March 10, 2017 / 3:30 am

        Unallalreped accuracy, unequivocal clarity, and undeniable importance!


      • baufinanzierungsrechner June 8, 2017 / 1:26 am

        We have a large account with hundreds of sites in it. Since this update Webmaster tools seems to crash and we can't use it. Thumbnails flash for a second and disappear and no sites are displayed. We rely on this tool – HELP!


  3. Brenda January 27, 2017 / 9:02 am

    Truly enjoy you blog, the military idea sounds great and looking forward to future posts.


  4. Katy January 29, 2017 / 6:15 am

    I’ve been working on something similar to this. I took a digital scrapbooking class recently and decided to put together a military history of our family for my two boys. I’m doing it on PowerPoint. I can include pictures, documents, written stories, really anything I want. It’s a fun and interesting project! Enjoy doing yours!


  5. Helen February 1, 2017 / 11:44 am

    I think I will link to your site for a Memorial Day Post! This is such a great idea.


    • jessaroni February 1, 2017 / 11:46 am

      Guess I have a deadline to complete this then haha. At least it’s still like 4 months away.


  6. MozInOz (@NappingAngel) December 22, 2017 / 12:36 pm

    I just stumbled on your site here via Pinterest and I am already in love with it. I have been researching my husband’s Swedish ancestry, as they all stayed within the clans after emigrating to the US and Texas. I have everything in FTM so far, but now that Ancestry stopped working with FTM, I thought it would be good to also get a paper version of everything (besides the journals of info and printouts I already have). Your binder tutorial is short but on the spot without having too much and sometimes confusing info. Do you recommend to stay with FTM or move on to a different software? Do you do your researches mostly via paid subscription services (with etc) or do you recommend to stay away from these very costly subscriptions and go on with regular unpaid resources? Thank you for any assistance you can give. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jessaroni December 22, 2017 / 1:01 pm

      There is no reason to switch software. Ftm still syncs with ancestry, you just need to update to ftm2017. I keep all of my own research in ftm. This book was a gift for my father-in-law who doesn’t use computers.

      As far as subscriptions, it depends on where your family is from. is free and has lots of records, but they don’t have everything. Ancestry has a lot more. Findmypast has British records if your family is from there. Keep in mind that not everything is available online though. I’m currently working on a binder for my mom with records we got directly from Italy.


  7. rlfields331 September 5, 2018 / 7:00 pm

    This kind of project has been on my mind for some time. Thanks for getting back into the front of my mind! One of the biggest hurdles you’ll encounter in researching military records, especially, WWII records will be the NARA fire in St. Louis in the 1980’s. Many WWII servicemen’s records were destroyed in the fire. But make your application for the records anyway. Sometimes you get lucky! I’ve had the best luck in finding WWII separation documents from relatives. The separation documents are the ‘must have’ documents for dealing with the VA. For WWII vets, they will have a Notice of Separation from their respective service. For vets after WWII, most will have a DD-214. If there have been changes or corrections to the original DD-214, they will have a DD-215. These are important for gaining information about the units they served with, awards and decorations, and dates of service. Hope that helps!!

    Liked by 1 person

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