Was your mother or grandmother a Code Girl? I’ve heard from lots of people who have a code-breaker in their family and want to learn more about what she did. If you are interested in tracking down this important family history, here are some resources that can help. World War II-era civilian and military government employment records are a matter of public record. If you want to request the file of a relative who served in the military during the war, or was employed as a civilian, you can do so here:
If you prefer to have an expert help you access these records, the National Archives maintains a data base of researchers who are familiar with the process.
Personally, I worked with and highly recommend Jaclyn Ostrowski, a professional records researcher who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have also heard from numerous families who have sent me memoirs and photos of their mothers and grandmothers. I am going to post some of these here in the near future, so check back. Some people have asked whether there could be a forum for families to communicate with one another. I’m still figuring out how this could work; if you have an idea about this, feel free to email me.
While researching at the National Archives facility in College Park, Maryland, I also came across files containing rosters of women who worked as codebreakers for the Army and Navy. These rosters tend to be scattered and not systematic–they were produced at various times for various reasons–and they do not provide a complete (or even alphabetical) listing of the more than 10,000 women who did this work. However, they are fascinating to read, and it’s possible that your relative’s name will be there. I found the names of many of the women I interviewed, along with addresses of the places they lived when they came to Washington, as well as typed records of their frequent changes of address, changes of maiden names to married names, etc. I made copies of some of these documents and will be posting the PDFs soon, so check back if you are interested in looking at these. In particular, there are extensive rosters of women from the Seven Sisters colleges who graduated in 1942 and 1943 and served as codebreakers in the Navy. But there are some Arlington Hall civilian rosters as well.