Footsteps Researchers adding archive detective at NARA College Park, Maryland

We are happy to announce that we are now able to get WWII Unit Journals, After Action Reports, photographs, and maps much faster from the NARA facility in College Park, Maryland.  In the past, we had to request them through another Independent for Hire Researcher which added to the cost and slowed down the process for our client. Now, we have our own Footsteps Researcher on the east coast with extensive archival research, specifically WWII.  We have researchers at both facilities where the most important documents for WWII are housed.

For any request regarding research, it helps to fill out the form on this site under the Contact Us tab. The request comes straight to our email box where we can then process into our project list.

NARA St. Louis, Missouri

Footsteps Researchers; Myra Miller, Kevin Banks, Kwabe Boaten, Ken Miller

NARA College Park, Maryland

Footsteps Researcher; Heather Steele

Guesthouse Bo Temps – Our recommended accommodations in the Ardennes!

Footsteps Researchers highly recommends this fabulous lodging experience if you are traveling to the heart of the Battle of the Bulge country in the Ardennes. Located in the center of the small village of Grandmenil, Belgium, this bed and breakfast is the place to make your reservation. You can’t miss it… it is next to the town’s church… just look for the steeple and next door is Bo Temps!

When we say the owners make this place special, we mean it! Bob and Eveline Konings are truly a joy and raise the bar with their customer service. Everything about Bo Temps is outstanding; food, rooms, atmosphere, garden, and even the cats.  Our favorite unique experience is visiting Tom and Ben’s Museum… the brilliant work of the Konings’ sons. Our rating is 5 stars!!!

To top it all off, we have added Bob Konings to our team at Footsteps Researchers. Bob specializes in Battle of the Bulge tours. His knowledge and great storytelling ability make his boots-on-the-ground tours a one-of-a-kind experience.  We are excited to have Bob as our expert for the Ardennes, Aachen, Hurtgen Forrest, Battle of Grandmenil, The Ottre Massacre, 75th Infantry Division, 3rd Armored Division, and 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion. Reserve Bo Temps and book a battlefield tour! It doesn’t get any easier than this!

You may contact the Konings directly for lodging information at http://www.ardennen-overnachting.be/. If you are interested in battlefield tours, contact Bob at http://www.ardennen-overnachting.be/battle-of-the-bulge-tours/

Check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BedandBreakfastArdennenBoTemps/

 

 

   

In Search of a Father’s Footsteps – June 7, 1944

The son of Captain Henry C. Hobbs is pretty happy right now.

For many years, he has been searching for the location in Normandy, France where his father crash-landed his glider on June 7, 1944. All of his men survived and they walked over four miles to a command post in Les Forges before heading back to Utah Beach and England.

Chuck Hobbs was in Normandy during the 74th Anniversary of D-Day last week. He enlisted the help of Footsteps Researchers to find the glider crash landing area and to walk in his father’s footsteps.

The search started with Myra Miller in St. Louis organizing the Footsteps Researchers team. Myra assigned Kevin Banks, our Archive Researcher, specific files to pull along with flight records and Morning Reports from the National Archives where the WWII records are stored. Kevin sent his findings to Myra who then worked on figuring out the coordinates, maps, and locations based on information found in the reports. She then sent her findings and Skyped with team member Florent Plana, who lives in Normandy. The next day, Florent met with Chuck and took him to the area where the glider crashed in 1944… they traveled along the roads where a C-47 also crashed (Henry Hobbs mentioned finding this C-47 in his interrogation report)… and then to the command post where Henry and his men ended up.

Chuck reported back, “Myra, I had a wonderful time with Florent this afternoon. He did a super job and gave me a lot of information on the probable location where my father landed. He was also excellent in talking to local residents about what they remembered. Thanks for setting things up for me. I look forward to seeing the files when I get home.”

Teamwork and passion… this is how we make people happy!

 

Footsteps Researchers and Tour Guides

We have an awesome team of researchers on the ground covering the European Theater of operations for WWII. If you are interested in finding the exact footsteps of a WWII veteran, we can do it! Just fill out the contact us form. We can customize your search!


Joey van Meesen
Lead Researcher/Tour Guide – European/Pacific Theaters
Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Okinawa
Battle of the Bulge, Operation Market Garden
Schiedam, Netherlands
joey@footstepsresearchers.com

Florent Plana
Researcher/Tour Guide – France
Normandy and Brittany Region
Operation Overlord
Bayeux, France
florent@footstepsresearchers.com

Loïc Jankowiak
Researcher/Tour Guide – Southern France
Southern France, Italy, Africa
Operation Dragoon
Bandol, France
loic@footstepsresearchers.com

LEGACY: Lost & Found – History Returns Home

Today, a family in Alabama got to touch and hold the etched pocket knife of their patriarch, Prentice W. Ball. Ball was a member of the 30th Infantry Division, 117th Infantry Regiment during WWII in 1944-45. He presumably dropped the knife in his foxhole as his unit was moving out to cross the Rhine River on March 23-24, 1945.

The well-preserved knife was found by metal detectors on April 1, 2018 in Germany. The knife was handed over to the Footsteps Researchers team to try to find the family in order to return it to the rightful owner. The successful search culminated today with members of the team driving to Cullman, Alabama to present the knife to the Ball Family.

We want to express the joy we felt seeing the family so happy.  It is our privilege and honor to return a part of history home.

The event will be featured on ABC 33/40 Birmingham affiliate at 10:00pm, May 20, 2018. You can also find it on their website at http://abc3340.com.

 

 

LEGACY: Lost & Found the Voice of Earl W. Garrison

BINGO!!!!! The family spent all day checking us out to make sure we were legit! YAY! We are now in touch with a relative of Earl W. Garrison, his great niece from California. He was KIA on March 30, 1945 in the Solomon Islands. The family has heard stories about him and informed us that they have photos. So, hearing his voice on this record will be fabulous! This is so much fun! Good job Sara!

This is our latest quest! We have a record from WWII with the voice of Earl W. Garrison from North Dakota. On the record, he mentions his siblings names. Our Special Projects Researcher (and guru), Sara Collins, has identified the family and we are now trying to make contact with them.

However, in the age of social media and scammers… we sometimes get deleted when we are making contact. We are posting this here in the hope that they will check out our website and see that we are real and that we want to return this valuable item to the family at no cost to them.

We are keeping our fingers crossed that the family responds to us via Facebook.

Myra and Sara

Skype Interview with ABC 33/40 in Birmingham Alabama

We had great fun being interviewed for this news report about Prentice W. Ball’s knife.

  • Joey was with his dad in The Netherlands
  • Sara was at her home in Kansas
  • Myra was sitting in her car at a truck stop in Missouri
  • Andrew Donley was in Birmingham, Alabama and interviewed us all at the same time via Skype!

Watch the video!  They interview the Ball family about what it feels like to have the knife returned to them. We can’t wait to meet them!

http://abc3340.com/news/local/alabama-wwii-soldiers-pocket-knife-found-abroad-on-its-way-to-family

Myra and Sara will be presenting the knife to the Ball family at West Point High School Library, Cullman, Alabama, May, 20, 2018 at 2:00 pm.

The knife made it to the USA and is with Myra!

Prentice W. Ball’s knife has arrived in the USA!

Myra is now in possession of Prentice W. Ball’s knife after it traveled from Alpen, Germany where it was hidden for 73 years in a foxhole. It was quite amazing to touch it and hold in my hand. Sara Collins and I are so excited to deliver the knife to the family on May 20th at 2:00 pm in the library at West Point High School, Cullman, Alabama.

Website Open! Read the entire story of King Size: The Lost B24 of Lafosse, Belgium

Joey and Myra had the privilege and honor of being on the research/film team for what we call, the plane crash project.

Victor in Lafosse, Belgium, March 23, 2018

Our Dutch friend, Bob Konings, has finished the website that tells the entire “King Size” story along with photos of our adventure. Please take an opportunity to read about the crew, what happened, and a team of passionate (and crazy) people who came together to solve a mystery for Victor.

Victor was a six-year-old boy who witnessed a plane explode in the air and watched horrified as two parachutes opened on Christmas Day, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge. The plane crashed in the field by Victor’s house. The Americans came and took the bodies and large sections of plane out of the area leaving the local citizens without a name for the plane or the crew.

Seventy-three years later, a team of dedicated people found the answer for Victor….. read the website to know the rest!  http://www.b24-kingsize.com/

Front page Standard Speaker, Pennsylvania

Myra and Joey were team members on this great adventure with Bob Konings and his crew! We love the King Size project!