Veteran's Administration Records
By Connie Lenzen
An article published in the 27 May 2004 issue of the Vancouver Columbian.
We remember our veterans on Memorial Day, May 31. Those of us who have veterans in our ancestry can tap into some of the documents maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The VA has placed a listing of veterans buried in 120 veteran's cemeteries on the Internet. There is a nationwide cemetery index, so the over three million names in their databases can be easily searched. Find this at http://www.cem.va.gov.
Four cemeteries still have to complete their records. They are Long Island, Los Angeles, Ft. Rosecrans, and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Work is being conducted to get those records online.
I entered my grandparent's names in the index. Grandpa Miller is buried at Willamette National Cemetery. I found his date of birth, date of death, cemetery plot, and rank. Grandma Miller is buried in the adjoining plot. Her date of birth and death are given, as well as grandpa's name.
Their daughter, my Aunt Lloyolla, was a "Spar" during World War II. She, too, is found in the database. Her "veteran service dates," show she served for two and a half years. I didn't know that.
Just for fun, I began entering names of relatives who served in various wars. I found several, and I put the information (with a source citation) into my genealogy program.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has another service. They will copy a deceased veteran's medical records. In February, I went to the VA office in Portland and filled out a Form 180 "Request pertaining to Military Records," requesting a copy of Jessie Jumper's service and medical record. He is my daughter-in-law's birth grandfather, and he is an unknown quantity in her life.
Six weeks later, the file arrived. At one inch thick, it was a bit overwhelming. Captain Jumper was a prisoner of war during World War II. Afterwards, he was an Air Force pilot. Each year, he went in for his annual physical. Adoptees are always looking for medical information. They want to know what types of conditions run in their genetic family. This file filled the void.
Go to the National Archives webpage that explains the various ways to obtain a copy of "Standard Form 180." http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/standard-form-180.html.
You can mail in the form or go to the Regional Office of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Their address is 1220 SW Third Avenue, Portland OR 97204.
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