Trace your family’s military past at a Punta Gorda museum

In a museum dedicated to our military, there is everything you might expect and then there is a desktop computer that can take visitors back in time.

“There’s just so much information out there,” said Bill Ferrigno, Military Heritage Museum, ancestry lead. “It’s overwhelming.”

On Tuesday, the Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda introduced its newest service. The Fold Three by Ancestry System. The database can help anyone trace the history of their family going back decades.

For Candace Burns, the technology marked the beginning of a new journey.

“Actually, I have tried to find records for my father’s service before and I was told no records existed,” Burns said.

Burns discovered a record of her father’s Navy days during World War II.

“I think what it will do is for me to continue searching,” Burns said, “because now I know that something is there.”

To get started tracing your family’s military history, the first step is to fill out a questionnaire with as much information as you know about your family member. Then you can enter it into this system.

“The greatest thrill you can have is when you’re searching for someone, whether it’s civilian or military, and you’re digging through on and on,” Ferrigno said. “It’s so frustrating. Then all of a sudden, boom! It appears.”

The database is free to search. Staff will be there to help each Tuesday. If you come, you could be just a few clicks away from learning about your family’s service to our nation.

“It enlightens me to research history, especially my own family,” said Thomas Galvin, a veteran and volunteer, “if they’re involved in some of the things you read about.”

Reporter:Breana Ross
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