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Military Service Records Research: World War II Records

World War II Bonus and Veterans' Records

Military Service Record Cards, [ca. 1860]-[ca. 1945].
Service record cards for persons who entered federal military service via the Minnesota National Guard and its predecessor, the Minnesota State Militia. They include army, navy, marines, foreign service, naval militia, surgeons and nurses, home and state guards, and cemetery burials. They cover the period from the Civil War through World War II.
MNHS call number:  Digital Finding Aid

Pension Registers and Indexes, 1878-1949
Registers of pension claims filed by veterans of military service, or their dependents, who resided in Minnesota at the time the claim was made. The entries are mainly for veterans of the Mexican War (1848), the Civil War, and the Spanish-American War; however, some claims from World Wars I and II are also included. The presentation and completeness of entries varies somewhat, but generally includes class of claim (e.g., original, arrears, increase, restoration to rolls, bounty, widow, father, mother, Mexican War), pension number, date filed, claimant's name and address, "account of" (veteran for whose service the pension was being claimed), service unit and rank, details (sometimes considerable) on the nature of the claim and/or proofs offered, and a record of administrative actions taken on the claim.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Veterans Graves Registration Reports, [ca. 1930]-1975 (bulk 1930-1969).

Report forms for deceased veterans of the Civil and Indian wars, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korean War, and Vietnam War who are buried in Minnesota. They were compiled by the Veterans Affairs Department during the period 1930-1969. For the period 1970-1975, some counties (mainly Goodhue, Hennepin, Houston, Ramsey, and Swift) and the Fort Snelling cemetery continued to submit reports. Information provided: veteran’s name, date and place of enlistment, rank and organization, date and place of discharge, legal address or usual residence, birth date, death date, cause of death, name and address of next of kin, place of burial, name of cemetery, and grave location. These reports do not constitute a complete record of all veterans buried in Minnesota. Examples of the short form and the long form are available online.
MNHS Call Number: Digital Finding Aid. An index to these records is available in the Minnesota People Records Search.

World War II Bonus Records, 1950s 
Applications for military service bonus payments to Minnesota veterans of World War II. They include data on the applicant’s military service, proof of residence, and proof of honorable discharge (usually a copy of the discharge certificate).
MNHS call number: Index Digital Finding Aid
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

World War II Bonus Beneficiary Files, 1949-1973 
Approved files for beneficiaries of deceased World War II soldiers and related personnel who applied for bonus payments granted by the State of Minnesota. The beneficiary’s application includes the name of deceased veteran, place and date of death, whether or not the death was service-connected, legal residence of the deceased and where they last voted, date and place of birth, service dates, dates of service outside the United States, and places where the veteran served. A copy of the veteran’s service or discharge record may be present.
MNHS Call Number: SAM 340-I (Index)
MNHS Call Number: SAM 340

World War II Denied Bonus Appeal Records, 1950s​
Appeals of denied applications for military service bonus payments to both veterans and beneficiaries of deceased Minnesota veterans of World War II. 
MNHS Call Number: Digital Finding Aid

World War II Denied Bonus Beneficiary Records, 1950s
Denied applications for military service bonus payments to beneficiaries of deceased Minnesota veterans of World War II. 
MNHS Call Number: Digital Finding Aid

World War II Denied Bonus Records, 1950s
Denied applications for military service bonus payments to Minnesota veterans of World War II. Applications were given a number when they were received and, in due course, were either granted or denied.
MNHS Call Number: Digital Finding Aid

World War II Late Bonus Claims Paid, 1954-1975
Military service bonus payments to Minnesota veterans of World War II; paid between July 1954 and June 1975 through special legislation. 
MNHS Call Number: Digital Finding Aid

Local Records and Publications

County Service Records

While the bulk of the service records on U.S. military personnel during World War II were kept at the federal level, many county agencies kept records on county residents who volunteered or were drafted into the service. The MNHS Library has records from the following counties: 

Hennepin County Selective Service Record Cards
Morrison County Selective Service Register, 1941-1945 (A-J only)
Rice County War History Committee Service Record Cards
Waseca County War History Committee Service Record Cards
Watonwan County Selective Service Board Servicemen's Record Book
Yellow Medicine County Record of Service Cards, 1940s

Local Service Record Books and Memorials

After World War II many local organizations published registers of those who had served from a particular area. The MNHS Library has service record books and memorials from:

MNHS Call Number: D769.85.M61 A374 1946
MNHS Call Number: D570.85.M61 C599 1947
Hamline Methodist Church (Saint Paul) 
MNHS Call Number: BX8481.S2 H25 1945
MNHS Call Number: D769.85.M61 E23 
Freeborn County
MNHS Call Number: FOLIO D769.85.M61 F8a 
MNHS Call Number: F612.F85 A75 1991
MNHS Call Number: D769.85.M61 M9f
Martin County
MNHS Call Number: D769.85.M61 M37 1950
MNHS Call Number: D570.85.M61 P737 1950
MNHS Call Number: D769.85.M61 T787 1948
MNHS Call Number: D769.85.M61 Z85 1950

Resources Outside the MNHS

American Battle Monuments Commission
A searchable index of those buried and memorialized at World War I and World War II overseas military cemeteries, along with those names on the Walls of the Missing at the East Coast Memorial, West Coast Memorial, and Honolulu Memorial. Burial information can also be found for those interred at Corozal American Cemetery and Mexico City National Cemetery. The register does not include records for individuals who were repatriated to the United States for burial.

National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR)
The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR) is the repository of millions of military personnel, health, and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all services during the 20th century.

World War II Records Links

MNHS Reference Staff

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