National Archives at St. Louis

Frequently Requested Records

Deceased Veterans Claim Files

The Veterans Bureau/Veterans Administration used these case files to document compensation and insurance claims of veterans who served in the Armed Forces and those heirs whom collected compensation. The VA applied the letter “X” to indicate the veteran was deceased, but did not close the claim until benefits ended. VA Case Files provide rich genealogical information.

If a case was not closed before 1955, the file may be housed in one of NARA’s Federal records centers and may still belong to the VA.

LOCATING A RECORD

Provide as much of the following information as possible:

  • Veteran’s complete name used while in service (including alternate spellings, if any)
  • Claim number (XC number)
  • Dates of service
  • Date and place of birth
  • Date and place of death
  • Service number

More information can be found in their catalog entry

Those searching for veterans from the Civil War, later Indian Wars, China Relief Expedition, Spanish-American War, or Philippine Insurrection can access the “U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934” at Ancestry.com, to see if their ancestor has an XC file (noted at bottom of card).
 

World War I Burial Files

Papers Relating to Burials of Military and Civilian Service Personnel. This series consists of correspondence, Graves Registration Service forms, headstone applications, and other pertinent information relating to the burials. This includes events such as Gold Star Mothers' pilgrimage and their itineraries.

Locating a Record:

  • Provide full name of service member
  • Service number
  • Dates of service
  • Date and place of death

More information can be found in their catalog entry

 

World War I Award Cards

The cards were created to record awards given to individuals for service accomplishments, acts of heroism, or injury. The cards are utilized to assist in reconstructing Official Military Personnel Files of the Army from World War I that may have been destroyed by the fire at the National Personnel Records Center in 1973.

Locating a Record:

  • Provide full name of individual
  • Service number, if applicable
  • Dates of service
  • Rank in service
  • Unit information, if known
  • Award received, if known

More information can be found in their catalog entry

 

General Courts-Martial Records: Army and Navy

These records were created to document trials by general courts-martial, military commissions, and courts of inquiry. Records originate at the various courts-martial jurisdictions in the continental United States and overseas commands, and were forwarded to JAG as prescribed.

Locating a Record:

  • Provide full name of the veteran on trial
  • Service number
  • Approximate year and place of trial
  • Trial number if available

More information can be found by searching their various catalog entries.

We also have Special Courts-Martial Case Files that resulted in bad conduct discharges. All Special Courts-Martial Case Files that did NOT result in a bad conduct discharge as well as summary courts-martial case files were destroyed in accordance with lifecycle regulations.

Individual Deceased Personnel Files

Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force: 1939-1975

Also known as Mortuary or Casualty Files, documents will vary based on branch of service and time period but may include correspondence, memorandums, teletype messages, and other documentation relating to the death of individual personnel during service. These records include the service member's rank, serial number, date of birth, and a brief description of the circumstances surrounding the death.

Locating a Record:

  • Provide full name of service member
  • Service number
  • Dates of service
  • Date and place of death

Due to the expansive nature of these records there are multiple catalog entries.

 

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