Question: Finding a WWII soldier’s child?

In response to an article about Post World War II emigration, Jane Carter asked:

I am looking for a lady in Holland that was my father’s girlfriend. My father has passed now but I have been told that this lady had my father’s child. I know little more then her first name and an old picture she sent my father many years ago.
With such little information is it possible to get any information?

Apparently, Jane’s father was an allied soldier during World War II who had a relationship with a Dutch girl, who had his child. This child would have been one of many ‘liberation children’ born in 1945/1946. Given the lack of details, it is going to be difficult to identify the mother or the child since there are no names to search for, but there are several strategies that may help.

Allied soldier hugged by girls.

Allied soldier hugged by girls. Source: Collection Anefo, Nationaal Archief.

Analyze the photo

Often, photos contain clues about the individual or the location. If the photo was taken in a studio, it should be possible to find out where exactly it was taken. Does the photo contain any landmarks, such as buildings? Are there any clues in the mother’s clothes, for example a cross to indicate she was a Roman-Catholic, or a uniform that indicates she was a nurse?

Get the photo out there

The next option is to make sure the photo is seen by as many people as possible, and ask if anybody recognizes the picture or sees any clues. Some possible platforms are:

  • Dutch Genealogy Facebook group
  • [Mystery photos], usually only for photos with buildings but maybe they will make an exception
  • Dead Fred (international site specialized in identifying photos of unknown people)
  • This website (feel free to send me the photo and I’ll put it in this article)

Contact an organization specialized in ‘liberation children’

Many children born to allied soldiers and Dutch girls are looking for their biological fathers. There are several websites aimed at uniting these children with their fathers or their families:

It may be that these organizations can help to identify the woman and child. It may even be possible that the child has been in contact with one of these organizations and is looking for his or her father.

Follow the troops

If Jane knows the unit her father served in, it should be possible to find out which towns they liberated. Often, there were just a few towns on their route where the troops stayed for longer periods. That would be the most likely place for the relationship to have taken place. Once a possible location is known, she can contact a local historical society or newspaper to ask if anybody recognizes the people in the picture.

More tips?

Do you have other tips that could help Jane find her father’s child? Please leave a comment.

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink is a professional genealogist in the Netherlands. She has been doing genealogy for almost 25 years. Her expertise is helping people from across the world find their ancestors in the Netherlands. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.


  1. My great grandfather was involved in the war. Alfonsius Antonius van Elk- Dob 3/2/1902
    Apparently in concentration camp..

  2. Linda Callaghan says

    My father was in Holland during ww2. He was in the Norfolk yeomanry. We understand that his name may have been mentioned by a dutch person looking for a Roy Robbins. Please can they make contact.

  3. Sandra Gregson says

    My uncle apparently left unknowingly that his girlfriend was pregnant. I think she tried to contact him through my mom in the early 99s through a group. Mom didn’t understand. The person calling wanted information on Murry (Murray) Inkster. He was a Canadian Army soldier that helped liberate Holland. I would like to help.

    • Dutch privacy laws prevent access to records of people born less than 100 years ago. If you want to hire somebody to help you, you need to find someone with a private investigator license; regular genealogists are not allowed to take on research projects into living people. Perhaps the organizations mentioned in this article can help you.

  4. Isabelle Smith says

    The family of Claude A Williston is searching for a child born during WW2 or descendents

  5. kevin snell says

    my brother was born in holland and was a son of a canadian soldier, I would like to meet him. I am now 63 and he would be in his seventies if alive, I have 10 siblings in canada that would be happy to meet him, we would need a lot of help. He was in Royal Canadian corp of Engineers.

  6. Bob Lashlee says

    The family of Billy B. “Red” Lashlee is looking for a son that was born from a German woman. I didn’t find out about this until after my father had passed. Dad was 6’ tall, thin and had red hair.

  7. dan bassett says

    my dad and uncle were both in ww2,my dad landed at,he made it just past caen,before getting wounded,he was in the queens own highlanders.glen bassett
    my uncle made it to holand for thier liberation,not sure of group he was in. bill bassett
    any info of any kids would be nice so know about

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