Abbreviations, codes, numbers, and ……. confusion.


Is this how you feel sometimes when you are looking for World War II information?

Sometimes the most difficult part of starting World War I or World War II research is locating vital pieces of information to move a search forward. This is especially important if the Official Military Personnel File burned. Are you looking for information on a service man or woman’s service number, unit, enlistment and discharge dates? The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, MO, has a great resource for World War I and World War II researchers. The VA Index.

The VA Index

VA Index card

The VA Index is available for World War I and World War II service members. What is on the Index and why do you need it?

  • Full name of soldier, sailor, or Marine
  • Unit in which they served (not always on the card.)
  • Address
  • ENL: Date of enlistment
  • DIS: Date of discharge (often if the soldier was KIA, the death date is written on the card.)
  • SN: Service/serial number
  • A lot of letter codes with numbers. World War I cards may have more letters than World War II. There are many more codes than this, but these are the commonly seen ones on these cards.
    • C: Veterans Claim number
    • XC: Prefix X indicates veteran is deceased.
    • K: US Government Life Insurance. Issued when veterans converted their War Risk term (T) insurance into permanent policies or made direct application for this type of insurance.
    • N: National Service Life Insurance. Term insurance issued veterans during WWII.
    • V: National Service Life Insurance. This type of policy was issued when veterans converted their term insurance (N) or made the initial application permanent.
    • I: Permanent or Total Disability Claim or death payment of term insurance (WWI ONLY)
    • A: Adjusted Compensation (Bonus)
    • T: War Risk Insurance (WWI ONLY)
    • R: Rehabilitation (WWI ONLY)
    • CT: WWI Certificate (issued with bonus)
    • Z: Merchant Marine service number prefix.

Request a search

The VA Index is searchable by NPRC staff for a fee.

NPRC

1 Archives Dr.

St. Louis, MO 63138

What other resources have you used to start your World War I or World War II research? Please share in the comments.

© 2020 Research A Veteran

Contact Us For Research Help!

Contact us for information and to set up your free phone consultation today!

Are you interested in learning about the military death files created in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam? Would you like to understand the job of the American Graves Registration Service and how they handled our war dead? Then this webinar is for you!

This 1.5 hour webinar will focus on the history and jobs of the men who worked in the American Graves Registration Service. Then we will explore the Individual Deceased Personnel File and discuss why you need this vital record. Finally, take a journey with me in the footsteps of my cousin James Privoznik, through his military records and path through Europe to his death and burial. Learn how I told his story.

Learn more and register here to save your spot. This is the final time I’m teaching this course.

© 2020 World War II Research and Writing Center

  • Military Quick Guides
  • Genealogy Books
  • Military Writing Books
  • In-depth Military Research Books

MILITARY RESEARCH BOOKS

Have you researched the service of your World War II Soldier, Airman, Sailor, Marine, or Civilian? If not, why? What’s stopping you from learning what your soldier did in the war? The 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis? If that is what is holding you back, you should know there are many resources to reconstruct your soldier’s service history.

No matter what branch of service or war your family member served in, there are resources to help you learn how to do the research step-by-step and also write the story. Everything taught in these books, while WWII based – applies to WWI, Korea, and Vietnam also.

This month start working on your research and writing with three great resources. You will not find books that walk you through the steps of your WWI, WWII, Korea or Vietnam service member military research anywhere else. I have written and published more than 20 books to help guide your genealogy and military research and writing.

Pick your copies up today and explore my website for full examples of military documents and files, and additional free resources for research and writing. Feel free to share your favorite website resource in the comments!

Our books are available on bol.com in Europe and also Amazon around the world.

Explore all 20+ of our books on the website.

Stories from the World War II Battlefield Volume 1: Reconstructing Army, Air Corps, and National Guard Service Records

Stories from the World War II Battlefield Volume 2: Navigating Service Records for the Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Merchant Marines

Stories from the World War II Battlefield Volume 3: Writing the Stories of War

Faces of War: Researching Your Adopted Soldier A book specifically for the ABMC grave adopters in Europe!


HIRE US TO RESEARCH YOUR VETERAN

Contact us for information and to set up your free phone consultation today!

© 2020 Research A Veteran

Seize Your Training!


In 2020 I am teaching my military research webinars one final time. I have chosen to focus on other areas of the military and family story this year.

The webinar registration links for the final military research webinars I’m teaching are now live. If you are interested in learning how to do WWI, WWII, Korea or Vietnam War research, I encourage you to register for Part 1 and Part 2 today. Everything I teach applies to all four wars.

If you have someone from any war who is still MIA or died while in service, you will also want to register for the Prisoners, The Missing and The Dead.

This is the final time I am teaching these classes. I’m soon to release the webinar registration for the family secrets and ancestral healing classes.

Please feel free to share this with your genealogy groups as no one else in the country is teaching military research in this way. I created the research strategies and process and give you a clear path to finding the answers.

Webinar: Researching Individual Military Service 11 January (Part 1 of the research process) https://www.wwiieducation.com/explore-indservice-jan2020

Webinar: Military Service in Context 1 February (Part 2 of the research process – you need to take part 1 as that info will not be repeated and is necessary.) https://www.wwiieducation.com/finding-the-answers-wwii-serv…

Webinar: The Prisoners, The Missing & The Dead 15 February https://www.wwiieducation.com/prisoners-missing-dead-webinar

 

Can I Help You?

 
 

You can also sign-up for our free newsletter and receive the Start Writing Your Military Story Today free!

 

Can I help you with your research?

Are you ready to learn the bigger picture of your family member’s military service? Email us at info@wwiirwc.com to set up your free phone consultation today to discuss project options, fees, and time.

© 2020 Jennifer Holik

 
 
 
 

“The most common question I get from people is, “Why aren’t all the records and resources I need to research my military service member, free and online?”

MOST COMMONLY USED SITES

Additional Resources

  • U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center
  • Pritzker Military Museum & Library.
  • Internet Archive
  • Library of Congress
  • University Library Special Collections. Search special collections in the cities and states where your soldier lived after the war.
  • Research libraries.  Many have finding aids to help researchers locate information.
  • Genealogical and historical societies. Most towns, counties, and states have societies that hold some information.
  • Local libraries. There are many small libraries around the country that do not have the staff or money to digitize their collections. Are you communicating with this resource?
  • European and PTO researchers. Did you know there are many hobbyist researchers in Europe and the Pacific Theater who have amassed a large amount of information? 

THE MYTH & CHANGING THE DISCUSSION


Military research is a combination of online and offline research, which allows us to tell a more complete story about a soldier, sailor, or Marine’s service. The most common thought from most people we encounter at the World War II Research and Writing Center, is that all the records and resources you need are all free and online.

This is not reality.

Read my article, Why WWII Research Is Not Free to learn more.

We observe conversations on social media that insist all the records are available online and if they aren’t, you don’t need them. The same handful of websites are referred to again and again. People get stuck because the information isn’t online, they get frustrated, and often quit. Instead, why not consider working with a researcher (yes you will pay for this service) and using a variety of sources?

Why don’t we also change the discussion? What would it take for those die hard folks who insist it is all free and online to step back and see there are many ways to conduct research? And for the research community as a whole, why not recognize there are many more resources available than the ones commonly suggested?

Changing the Discussion

Did you know there are many more websites available where people can locate pieces of their soldier, sailor, or Marine’s service history?

Each website you visit, each book you pick up, each record you analyze, each story you hear or photo you view that belongs to your family, adds a piece to the entire puzzle. Each piece allows you to view that soldier’s history in historical context. Only exploring the limited information online does not allow for the fuller picture to emerge. So where can we find more information that no one is talking about? Start thinking outside the box of where to locate information.

Additional Resources

The resources presented here will hopefully start you thinking along a new path for research. Need more suggestions?  Books to help you learn how to research online and offline. Visit our book section to see all the military research books Jennifer has written. While WWII based – the strategies, records, and tips also apply to WWI, Korea and Vietnam.

We are industry leaders.

Are you ready to learn the bigger picture of your family member’s military service?

Check out our Researching WWII Online webinar. This webinar gives you the tools to research any 20th century war.

Email us at info@wwiirwc.com to set up your free phone consultation today to discuss project options, fees, and time.

You can also sign-up for our free newsletter and receive the Start Writing Your Military Story Today free!

© 2020 Jennifer Holik

 

Robert & Virginia Brouk 3 weeks before he died training pilots.

“Finding the Answers is possible when you do 20th Century Military Research. Even when the records burned.”

In 2010 when I wrote my first book about my AVG Flying Tiger cousin Robert Brouk, I had no idea how to research WWII service. I knew the records burned and was afraid no answers could be found. However, after writing that book and knowing I had to research the stories of my other military family members, I embarked on a journey which took thousands of hours and several years to develop the strategy to find the answers and research any branch for any 20th century war, even if the records burned.

By 2012 I was teaching these strategies I was creating and by 2013 I started releasing the first of my military research books. After eight years of teaching these research classes, I am ready to move on. If you would like to know all the secrets to finding the answers, you will want to sign up for this webinar today. This is the last time I will teach this class.

WEBINAR DESCRIPTION

World War II research is surrounded by stories and myths which often give people the perception they cannot obtain any information about military service. What most people do not realize is military research should be done in two parts. Starting at the end with a discharge unit will usually lead you down the wrong path where you will waste time and money.

This 1.5 hour webinar will focus on what is available first at home and then within the archives and online repositories. You will learn how to put a timeline of service together, how to properly reconstruct military history, what can be found within service files and company-level types of records, and where else to look. At the end of this webinar you will have the tools to proceed to the next step in military research – contextual history.

A webinar on learning how to research the second part – contextual records – will be held in February 2020. Registration for that webinar will open 6 January 2020.

Register for webinar

Can I help you with your research?

Are you ready to learn the bigger picture of your family member’s military service? Email us at info@wwiirwc.com to set up your free phone consultation today to discuss project options, fees, and time. You can also sign-up for our free newsletter and receive the Start Writing Your Military Story Today free!

© 2019 Jennifer Holik