Today’s topic is newly released U.S. Veterans’ Claim Files, 1917-1948, a group of records now available from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
This record group includes cases closed by the VA from 1917-1948, which were transferred to a Federal Records Center in 1952 and 1955. The National Archives began taking custody in 2013. U.S. Veterans’ claim files are included Record Group 15, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and are formally named “Deceased Veterans Compensation Files” (aka “XC Files) and “Veterans Administration Claim Files.”
NARA staff member Daria Labinsky has written a comprehensive article entitled “Claim Files: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs” in the latest fall 2015 of Researcher News from NARA. (Back issues of Researcher News are available at this link.) Labinsky writes:
DOCUMENTS COMMONLY FOUND IN U.S. VETERANS’ CLAIM FILES INCLUDE:
- birth, marriage, and death certificates
- change of address forms
- lists of family members who are beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries
- discharge documents
- medical records
- insurance applications
HISTORY OF VETERAN BENEFITS RECORDS
Veterans have been receiving benefits since the Continental Congress authorized pensions for disabled soldiers during the Revolutionary War. By the World War I era, all veterans (not only the disabled) were eligible for a variety of benefits. These benefits include pensions for themselves or widows; insurance; bonuses; burial allowances; and payments to dependents. In 1921, Congress created the Veterans Bureau to consolidate some of these benefit programs. In 1930, President Herbert Hoover combined them further with a merger of the Veterans Bureau, Bureau of Pensions, and the Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers into the single Veterans Administration (VA). The current Department of Veterans Affairs houses claim files in Federal Records Centers (FRCs) throughout the United States. While these records are not open to the public, the transfers accessioned by St. Louis—cases “retired” to FRCs in 1952 and 1955—are now National Archives property and therefore open to all.
ORGANIZATION OF U.S. VETERANS’ CLAIM FILES
Claim files are organized numerically by file number. When a veteran died, the file’s “C” number became an “XC” number.
WHERE ARE THE RECORDS?
These records are not online. Researchers who are searching for XC files belonging to Civil War veterans should first contact the National Archives in Washington, DC. Those searching for veterans who served after the Civil War through World War I should first contact the National Archives at St. Louis.
Eighty cents ($.80) per page minimum charge $20.00
- National Archives at St. Louis, ATTN: Archival Programs, P.O. Box 38757, St. Louis, MO 63138
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax: 314-801-9187