6 Replies Latest reply on Feb 2, 2021 10:52 AM by History Hub Administrator

    how can i find out if my grandfather was at tuskegee


      My grandfather passed a long time ago and was adopted.  My grandmother had alzheimers and her daughter (my aunt) signed her home over to herself and kicked my grandmother out with only the clothes on her body so we lost all paperwork, photos etc!  We were recently at an extended family members funeral and we were told that my grandfather was the result of an african american man and a married white woman and more importantly that he was stationed at tuskegee base!  We are trying to find out more info however, his records were the ones that were lost in the great fire of military records.


      I am lost because i cannot get his birth records without having his death records, cant get his death records without his birth records and now i can't find out any info on his military service bc there was a fire that destroyed all of his records.


      Does anyone have any suggestions on how to proceed?

        • Re: how can i find out if my grandfather was at tuskegee
          Research Services at the National Archives Tracker

          Dear Connie Connor,


          Thank you for reaching out to History Hub with your question. The first part to this is, was it your grandfather who may have served in Tuskegee, Alabama, or do you think it was your great-grandfather? If it was your grandfather, having his basic information will help you find general information about his time in service.


          My first recommendation would be to search for him using any information you have in the Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938-1946 just to see if anything shows up for him. Be sure to look at the example language that each field provides, as using different words from what is shown can lead to misguided information.


          My second recommendation would be to try and order his Official Military Personnel Files, which were the records affected by the fire. Unless you have tried ordering his record in the past ten years and been told it does not exist, there is still a chance that his record was part of the 6.5 million that survived in some way. Many servicemen received letters that their OMPFs were destroyed, however that is not always the case. You can order his record here. If his record was truly lost, the National Personnel Records Center does have a team that will try to reconstruct a veteran’s time in service. 


          If your grandfather or great-grandfather did serve at Moton Field, which was the training grounds for the Tuskegee Airmen, his peak time in service would be from 1942-1946. If that does not fit within the time range for either man, they may have served elsewhere.


          If you haven’t already done so, you might want to see what information and documents are available on Ancestry.com. While the service is not free from a home computer, you can visit a National Archives facility (click here to see a list)  and access the site for free, or many local archives, libraries, and historical societies offer the service free to the public. The site will have access to census data, the Social Security Death Index, etc. that could be beneficial to your search. In addition to your online research, some states do not require an official birth certificates to order copies of death certificates, so check with your local Vital Records office and see what their requirements are.


          Another recommendation would be to try and compile as much information from family members as possible. If you can get a general timeline of when and where the person lived, that can open up new lines of research. Best of luck with your research, and thank you again for contacting the History Hub!


          Holly RivetMarie Taylor

          4 people found this helpful
            • Re: how can i find out if my grandfather was at tuskegee

              thank you for your response...


              I am trying to find out info on my fathers dad!   he was in the army from aug 7, 1942 to dec 7, 1945.   My grandfather passed before i was born and was adopted at birth (i have literally only the records i have found which incl dob, dod, his application for world war 2 compensation, his adopted parents names etc).    I reached out to  get his military info but they were lost in the fire and they said they only had 1 piece of info and it was something that wouldn't help me ....so now i'm back to trying to find out any info!  i just tried to get these records a few months ago---So this option is out


              I could not find any info on the link you provided....i am so desperately running out of hope.   I reached out to my local state for birth records and such BUT bc he was adopted we are not sure if he was born in PA.   And they cannot help....i'm stuck at an impasse bc when i spoke to them i have to have his death certificate to get his birth certificate and vice versa...also they cannot guarantee they will have it bc they are not sure where he was born (although his application for world war 2 compensation has his birth place as sayre in the braford county area of PA).


              I am getting so lost and sad trying to recostruct....


              I have found out stuff that my dad didn't even know---my dads father (my grandfather was a quiet man) and his father (passed away at a young age in the line of duty as a police officer).  my dads dad passed away when my dad was 18 or 19 .....so everyone passed at young ages..   We have some major medical issues in the family so we are trying to figure out if there is a genetic link etc.... any info will help


              any other suggestions....?  

                • Re: how can i find out if my grandfather was at tuskegee
                  Research Services at the National Archives Tracker

                  Dear Ms. Connor,


                  Thank you for reaching out to History Hub again. If you have not already done so, try looking at Ancestry.com to see what they might have regarding your family. As stated before, the site is not free, but many libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies will have subscriptions that can be accessed by the public free of charge.


                  Your grandfather would have filled out a Selective Service registration card before his time in the military. Many of these cards have been digitized and uploaded to Fold3, a partner of Ancestry.com, but if you would prefer you can also order that information directly from the National Archives-St. Louis. Please see Holly Rivet’s post about this collection here.


                  If you haven’t already tried this, the World War II Army Enlistment Records are in the custody of the Electronic Records Division (RDE) and are available via AAD (Access to Archival Databases) on the National Archives website at:https://aad.archives.gov/aad/.  Click on "World War II" under the category section. A list of the databases relating to WWII will appear and select the first database to search the WWII Army Enlistment Record.


                  Because the evidence shows he was born in the state of Pennsylvania, you can also try reaching out to the Pennsylvania State Archives (link here) to see what their collections may have and what your avenues for research are. They might be able to point you in the right direction on where to go from here and how best to get the documents you are seeking.


                  Best of luck with your research, and thanks again for contacting History Hub!

                  3 people found this helpful
              • Re: how can i find out if my grandfather was at tuskegee
                History Hub Administrator Tracker

                There are also a number of films and other records documenting the Tuskegee Airmen, "Red Tails" and other African American units of the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II in the National Archives Catalog:



                This is a curated playlist from the National Archives YouTube Channel with several films featuring the Tuskegee Airmen:

                2 people found this helpful