Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Small Family History Book Brings Wartime Activities to Life

Early this month, a young relative asked about our family in World War II. In response, I created a small (six inch by six inch) photobook focused mainly on the military service of my Dad, my two uncles, and my aunt. Bite-sized family history projects like this don't take a lot of time to prepare and don't overwhelm the audience with details--using images to bring ancestors and stories to life.

The cover (see above) shows the four focus ancestors, with a colorful border around each image. Even a small touch of color is important because the next generation has complained that "black and white is boring." The text is dark green, and the background is light tan, avoiding the dreaded black-and-white that makes eyes roll among my younger audience.

On the back cover, I repeated the two most colorful images from the inside pages. Top left, the unit shoulder patch from Dad's US Army unit. He was in the 3163d US Signal Service Company, and everything on that patch has significance, from the thunderbolts forming a V for victory to the blue star in a white background, which stands for the Army Service Forces, and the broken chains, freeing Europe from the Axis. I explained the significance inside the book.

Lower right on the back cover is the shoulder patch for the 9th US Air Force, to which my aunt's WAC unit was attached. This particular image is from that WAC's unit history, researched and written by my aunt, Sgt. Schwartz.

Inside, I also included a few sentences (with photos) about the military service of Dad and Mom's first cousins, noting that Mom was in the New York City Air Warden Service. 

This attractive bite-sized book has a hard cover and looks professional, with flashes of color throughout. Now the next generation will know that our Schwartz and Burk ancestors were active during World War II in the US Army, US Army Air Force, US Marines, US Navy, US WACs, and on the home front as well.


  1. This is a great idea! I'm so often overwhelmed with finding a way to coherently share photos. Thanks for this good example.

  2. I am always struggling with ways to share my personal research with other family members. What a great idea. Thank you for sharing!

  3. What a great idea! Did you make one for the relative who asked by any chance? :)