1. Consult with:
1.1 MA Project Coordinator:
1.2 MA Liaison (MAL) - volunteer MA leader from
each cadet company (http://www.usma1954.org/Contacts/MALiaisons.htm).
1.3 Action Coordinators (AC) – development of
individual MAs (http://www.usma1954.org/Memorial/OurMAPages.htm
- click on Cadet Company).
1.4 MA Help Desk (MAHelpDeskProtocol091212.docx)
1.5 Search Technique Pros:
Frank Hart, &
2. Familiarize yourself with the MA subject.
3. Consult widow, children, friends, company
mates, classmates, etc.
4. Keep detailed records recording all
known data (full name, DOB, date of
death, parents’ & siblings names, widow &
children names and addresses, addresses over the
years, military and after experiences, etc.)
plus results from all searches – negative and
5. There are numerous detailed search
techniques listed below. The particulars of
the case will dictate the sequence of trying
them. Please note that many of the hyperlinks
will change over time. Generally the websites or
similar are still there so search for the site
(e.g., use Google (http://www.google.com/)).
6. Unusual names are easiest – try multiple
versions of names on various search engines.
7. Most online searches can be done without
paying – be careful since one can get into
paying when not necessary (occasionally it is
8. Most cases can be cracked with patience
1. West Point AOG (WPAOG):
1.1 Archives & Cullum Files: Dossiers on grads
with contact data, widow, obits, next-of-kin,
etc. – data varies. Data quality varies.
Marilee (Marylee) Meyer, Memorial Articles
Editor, Archivist & Cullum Files
1.2 Assistant, Class Support Program: Good POC
for many WPAOG related matters.
Jo Ann Shipley
1.3 Howitzers (’54 and prior): Photos,
narrative, and activities.
1.4 Register of Graduates (current and
2006 (2006 has DOB)): Cullum No., major
assignments, etc. Note data is as reported by
1.5 WPAOG e-mail for ’54: The latest ‘54 contact
data is available at
(right side of page, click on “Classmates’ Email
Addresses”). Note that one must log on (with
Cullum No. & password) to use this link.
Includes all those who have provided contact
data to WPAOG.
1.6 WPAOG full contact data (address, phone
number, e-mail, etc.) spreadsheet: All ‘54,
ex-cadets, and widows who have provided contact
data to WPAOG. This spreadsheet can be sorted by
zip code or any other field in the spreadsheet
(e.g., find all in a given zip code).
Jack Porter, and
Bill Epling have copies of this spreadsheet.
1.7 Assembly: Back issues (available online from
the WPAOG website (2006-to date) & USMA Library
1.10 Ellis Newsletter: Back issues (check with
2.1 Graduate Records:
Parents names, DOB, home of record, SSN, Cadet
Cadets, ex-cadets, grads - write or visit:
O/Dean ORD (MADN-ORD), ATTN: Graduate Records
United States Military Academy
Official Mail & Distribution Center
646 Swift Road
West Point, New York 10996-1905
2.2 USMA Library (Jefferson Hall).
2.3 USMA Library Special Collections & Archives. This is an
awesome resource with a huge amount of
historical data on West Point (including the
Class of 1954) - cadet officers, academic
standing in each subject & overall, etc.), USMA
Staff & Faculty (in full detail), back issues of
the Assembly (1942 - 1993), Official Register of
the Officers and Cadets (1818 to 1966), etc.
Search for “Special Collections”
or “Archives” on the home page (http://www.library.usma.edu/).
One must explore the site to learn all that is
3. ’54-40 Yearbook:
Yearbook for 40th Reunion. Individual
write-ups, pictures, addresses, etc. as of 1994.
Many classmates have copies.
4. Social Security Death Index (SSDI):
(SSN, if dead where last payment made, if not in
SSDI then likely still alive (classmate, widow,
children, etc.)). Try multiple versions of name.
You can search with just names but SSN is much
faster – particularly for common names. Army
Registers in the 1970s – 80s for the Regular
Army Active List contained SSNs. Additionally,
when the services switched to SSNs in place of
serial numbers for a while the SSN’s were also
included in promotion lists published in the
Congressional Record during Senate
confirmations. If a classmate, wife, or widow is
not found in the SSDI then he or she is almost
certainly still alive or died quite recently.
5. Burial Location:
Where and when buried, date of birth & death,
possibly NOK, etc.
5.1 Arlington National Cemetery (where buried,
next of kin, etc.):
Air Force and other services are also
5.2 VA Cemetery site (where buried, next of kin,
5.4 Find a Grave:
Funeral home, NOK, obits, etc.
6.2 Washington Post obituary archives:
Death notices are searchable free for 90 days.
For earlier notices that appeared online after
14 October 2001, the searches are free; results
will display the name and first 25 words of the
death notice. There is a fee to view the full
text of a death notice. Once purchased, the
full text of the death notice, photograph (if
available) and Guest Book will be online for 24
hours. Death notices earlier that October 2001
would be available at local public libraries on
microfilm. The New York Times also has an
archive search fee similar to the Post
6.3 Obits Archive (www.obitsarchive.com)
This website generally goes back to 1990 or a
little earlier attempting to capture the obits
of everyone who died in the U.S. It is not
complete but it is an excellent site. Check the
free results. If you get a hit, go to source to
get obit, which is likely a newspaper. One may
need to pay to obtain published obits from
7. White pages:
7.1 Local paper editions:
8. People search:
Select the "people search" in the center column
of the main menu. Site shows relationships among
people (even deceased in some cases) and likely
current or former towns in which individual
lived. Again, maximize use of free searches
without paying for data.
8.2 People Lookup:
Similar to Intelius but not nearly as good. It
sometimes yields slightly different results,
which can be useful.
Good for locating people and businesses,
checking on addresses and phone numbers, etc.
Can search all states, one by one, to locate
classmate or NOK. Helps to find funeral homes,
schools, realty offices, newspapers, military
units, cemeteries, government offices,
libraries, nursing homes, etc.
Ask at schools for info re siblings, best
friends, etc. Possibly convince a reporter to
write an article to produce leads, call blindly
to people in small towns who might have known
the family, etc. Use WPAOG classmates and widows
database, sorted by zip code, to find who are in
the general area, have had contact with, have
knowledge of someone, or might be able to more
readily help obtain information. West Point
Societies, West Point Parents Clubs, and active,
Reserve, NG, ROTC, and Recruiting units might
also provide information or other assistance. An
atlas is often handy as well as online maps.
9. Real estate property assessments:
Owners, when acquired &/or sold, contact data,
9.1 Fairfax County:
9.2 Arlington County:
9.3 Prince William County:
9.5 District of Columbia:
9.6 Maryland (all counties):
http://www.zillow.com (national in scope –
not 100% coverage)
Note that many states and counties provide
online access to all real property records.
10. Professional search organizations:
For a fee they will search for folks. They will
often jump up when doing online searches.
A very powerful search tool – particularly when
name is not common. Try multiple versions of
names (initials instead of first and middle
names, w & w/o suffix, etc.
12.1 If you know that an event happened at a
specific time in a specific place it often pays
to check local online papers for that region.
Newspaper search engines vary greatly in quality
and ease of use. With exception of certain major
newspapers (NY Times, etc.), online searchable
newspaper archives often go back only 2, 5, or
10 years. One must sometimes have to pay a fee
and wait a few days while the newspaper
searchers its archives for your data.
12.2 Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/. Note: One
must provide an e-mail address and establish a
password to get full access for obits, etc. – no
fee is involved.
12.3 New York Times:
13. Public Libraries:
Public libraries offer user-friendly online
capabilities and are easy and affable places.
Many of them will search archives of local
papers for obits of anyone you request going way
back in time (typically cost of about $5). You
usually have to send them a self-addressed
stamped envelope with search fee. Search results
will be returned to you via snail mail. Common
turn-around time for a library search is a
Site is heavily used by law enforcement. Try a
free search. It often yields specific addresses
and even the date of birth of individuals.
15. Telephone directories:
There are many on the Internet.
Be careful not to enter too much data into
search. If the town is not too large, simply
enter last name of person and then scroll
through the results to see if you have a valid
hit. Sometimes for rare names, you can search an
entire state for a person without entering the
name of a town.
15.2 Info Space:
It is useful as it permits reverse searches if
one knows a telephone number and not a name. Hit
rate on reverse searches is about 15 – 20%.
Maps can be useful if trying to find out if two
or more towns are close to each other, etc.
16.2 Your installed map or navigation programs.
powerful search engine for multiple sources of
1940 U.S. Census and earlier U.S. Censuses
(parents and sibling names, street address,
occupation, ages, etc.).
Birth, marriage, divorce, & death collections or
Military records (draft registrations, etc.).
VA cemetery burial records.
Directories & membership list.
Court, land, will, & financial records.
This program (largely used for genealogy
research - covers a huge range of time up to the
present) but must be subscribed to. It often
provides key hits.
18. Veterans Records:
NOK can get copies of complete personnel records
maintained by National Archives or services.
19. Army & Air Force Mutual Aid Association:
Wills, contact data, widow, etc. Many grads are,
or were, members.
20. United Services Automobile Association
Many grads are, or were, members.
21. Armed Forces Insurance (AFI):
Many grads are, or were, members.
In most instances, the information you seek can
be found through use of one or more of the
preceding techniques accompanied by your
patience and perseverance. Classmates listed
under "General Tips" are also available to