Jump to content
VA Disability Community via Hadit.com

Ask Your VA   Claims Questions | Read Current Posts 
Read Disability Claims Articles
 Search | View All Forums | Donate | Blogs | New Users | Rules 

  • homepage-banner-2024-2.png

  • donate-be-a-hero.png

  • 0

Another Source For Lost Or Burned Military Records

Rate this question

Guest Morgan


Searching through the messages on the old site, I came across this from following a link in one of Allan Opie's posts (don't you just love his "matter-of-fact" posts!). I thought it might be good to post it again for those whose records burned in the '70s fire.

State veterans bonus files a mine of data


Published October 30, 2003


I discovered one of the best-kept secrets in the world of genealogical resources when I learned about the World War II bonus applications at the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg. The applications include the veteran's name and 1950 address, date and place of birth, pertinent military data, and the names and addresses of beneficiaries, including spouse, children and living parents. Some files even contain photos of the veteran.

Research reveals that 26 states awarded bonuses to veterans of wars from the Mexican Border Conflict to the Persian Gulf War. The records may not be easy to locate, but they are well worth the search.

"State bonus records are maintained by various offices within the states that created them," said Melanie Aitken, customer service team coach at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. "Some are maintained by the state adjutant general. Others are in the custody of state departments of veterans affairs or state libraries or archives. To determine exactly what records may be available or where they are located, check with various Web sites maintained by the states that had bonus programs."

Aiken said these states gave bonuses: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Each state had its own way of rewarding veterans. The Pennsylvania Legislature passed the World War II Veterans' Compensation Act, which made it possible for any Pennsylvania resident who served in the military between Dec. 7, 1941, and Sept. 2, 1945, and who was honorably discharged, to apply for a bonus payment, said Jonathan Stayer, head of the reference section at the Pennsylvania State Archives. Applications were not accepted until 1950, when money became available.

At the Pennsylvania State Archives, applications are filed alphabetically by the veteran's surname, with a cross-reference for a woman's married or maiden name. Widows of veterans could also apply for the bonus.

Privacy policies vary by state. Copies of some records may be given only to the veteran, if living, or his or her immediate family, if deceased. You may need to prove that the veteran is dead and/or that you have a relationship to him or her.

"The records are restricted but can be available for genealogical purposes with a written consent letter from the South Dakota Department of Military and Veterans Affairs," said LaVera Rose, a librarian at the South Dakota State Archives. "You will need to contact that office and request permission to copy the records." The Web address is www.sdhistory.org/arc/archives.htm

Minnesota echoes those policies. "Persons requesting copies of such documents are required to establish evidence of a relationship to the deceased veteran," said Terry Logan of the Minnesota State Department of Veterans Affairs. "You will need to prove that he or she is, in fact, deceased."

In at least one state, files are destroyed. Vermont keeps copies of all applications for five to seven years, said Lois LeFevre of the state's Department of Veterans Affairs. Vermont also requires written consent from the veteran or widow to release records.

Some states, such as West Virginia, awarded bonuses to veterans of every conflict up through the Gulf War. Pennsylvania issued many awards as well and has an excellent collection of World War I bonus applications. Montana, Illinois and Missouri gave bonuses only to World War II veterans. To find out what's available in a particular state, go to that state's archives on the Internet. If the information isn't there, check with that state's department of veteran affairs.

Bonus applications may be used to document military service, particularly if the paperwork was lost by the veteran or destroyed in a 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center.

Edited by Morgan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Answers 0
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Popular Days

0 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

There have been no answers to this question yet

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...

Important Information

Guidelines and Terms of Use