5526US Vet's Admin Records
- Jun 2, 2002I'm sending this as a reminder to all my lists of a Helpul Hint on my
page (url below) and as proof it works! If you are not in the US, it
still might help you if you have a US relative you need info on....
Twice now I have sent for records from the Veteran's Administration -
once for my grandfather (which provided much information and led me to
the McGlynn line in Brooklyn from Ireland which I previously did not
know about), and then for my dear Dad (because I needed info on his
first marriage and no one was talking about it -- so I had to get the
info another way).
Figuring this marriage info was in his VA claim (because I remembered a
large "discussion" about it one summer), I sent a letter just asking for
his VA file, giving only his name, date of birth, date of death, and
some info I had that I thought might be helpful (addresses we had lived
at, that he fought in the Pacific Theatre etc).
Where did I send it? In each case I just sent it to my regional office,
which for me was Atlanta since I live in Alabama (even tho they didn't
live there, that is what I was told to do). The regional office then
sends to whatever office holds the file. (In my grandfathers case it was
NY, in my fathers case it indeed was in Atlanta since he died here in
Alabama with me, and that is where the last correspondence of his death
cert was ).
Now in my grandfather's case nearly 3 years ago, I got nearly 300 pages
of info on his Spanish American war record, his marriage certificate
(bingo!), records of war injuries (very detailed), his death cert, my
grandmother's application for pension, ending with her death
certificate. Got all this within a month.
Now in Daddy's case, the usual "Petzolt curse" was involved, as I sent
away and never heard anything for a year. So I picked up the phone and
called around in Washington DC til I got the right office, and finally
found a very nice gentleman who said the man in charge had died right
around that time and much was left at loose ends, so he started the
paper trail for me again. It has been almost exactly 2 months since then
to yesterday when I received nearly 200 pages of info in my mailbox.
In my fathers case, it was very interesting because many of you may know
many WW2 records were destroyed in a fire, but since his copies were in
his VA file, I have them, including some with burned edges! I did get
the info on his first marriage, details of his war injury since he was
claiming disability, and other things I had anyway (but might help
someone who did not have these things) like his funeral expenses,
application for a flag on the casket, death cert, even my own birth
certificate as he was claiming me (then) as a minor child.
Did I mention all of this is FREE? Yup, free.
I do not think you have to be related directly to that person, as
technically it goes to the FOIA (freedom of information act) Office of
So if you have someone who may have gotten VA benefits, or even just
applied for benefits even if they got turned down (because that's in a
file somewhere too).... this could be a goldmine of information. And in
my case, my Dad would never talk about his war injury, and now I finally
know the details.
So take a peek at the Helpful Hints page (as I often remind people )
there are sections there on what military records are available, and how
to get those great VA files (a well kept secret, and one I expect
eventually will be something we have to pay for.... due to the boom in
genealogy... so take advantage of it).
And by the way.... another "hint"..... when you write for anything to
any office or library, use the term "family history" not "genealogy".
For some reason, "family history" gets better results.
Hope this helps someone..... I know it's certainly helped me, and made
me feel closer to my Dad.
Maura Petzolt mpetzolt2@...
SHAMROCK ROOTS homepage
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