Genealogy Wise

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The Department of Veterans Affairs came into being in 1934 and took over payment of veteran's benefits from the Dept of the Interior. If a veteran or dependent was on the rolls when the VA came into being and for some years before that, their records would have come to the VA. So if the NARA doesn't have the records check with the VA.

How do you find out if the VA has them? There is a card file of Civil War soldiers and dependents who received benefits. It is on microfilm at the National Archives and the branches. It is also on www.ancestry.com . If the card shows a letter C or XC followed by a number that means the VA has the records. You will need that number to get copies of the records. It is the best way for the VA to identify the record especially if the soldier had a common name.

The request for the records must be in writing. You can call the VA at 1-800-827-1000 for the mailing address. Don't let anyone tell you these records were destroyed in the 1973 fire at National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. Those records began in 1912 at the earliest. When I retired from the VA a couple or years ago these records were still copied and sent to the requester free of charge under the Freedom of Information Act. Hope this helps someone! .

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