4 Replies Latest reply on Mar 11, 2019 1:28 PM by Alicia Larsen

    Ordering pension records for Spanish American War service


      My great-grandfather served in the Army during the Spanish American War.  (NY 11th Cav., Co. K).  I would like to order a copy of his pension file, but am finding conflicting info online as to where I can do that because he did not die until 1962. What I am really hoping to obtain is a picture of him, and to learn his wife's last name.  Is the pension file my best bet?

        • Re: Ordering pension records for Spanish American War service
          Rebecca Collier Ranger

          Dear Ms. Larsen,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          The National Archives at Washington, DC (RDT1) has custody of the compiled service records and pension files for Spanish American War veterans. Please complete the NATF Form 85 and the NATF Form 86 and email them to the National Archives at Washington, DC (RDTI) at archives1reference@nara.gov OR order them online. For additional questions, please contact RDT1.


          The "official" photos of individuals, if taken by the military, are not considered to be permanent federal records by the respective military services and are not retained by the service. If the photo you are seeking still exists, it might be found in the individual's compiled service files. However, there is no guarantee the photo will be present.


          We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!


          1 person found this helpful
          • Re: Ordering pension records for Spanish American War service

            Rebecca, thank you for your response.  Prior to posting, I had tried to order and received an error message.  I followed online link you shared and received the same error message.  Any thoughts?Screenshot of error message

            • Re: Ordering pension records for Spanish American War service
              Holly Rivet Tracker

              Hi Ms. Larsen,



              Thank you for posting your follow-up request on History Hub!


              The Deceased Veteran’s Claims Files (XC Files) are case files that documented created by the Veteran’s Bureau (now Veteran’s Administration) to document compensation and insurance to those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families.  This series primarily covers those who served between 1917 and 1919, but there may be some files from slightly earlier service.  Cases were opened at the time of initial claims and closed only when all payments were made final.  Survivors may have continued to receive benefits for decades after the veteran had passed.  Adult children could continue to receive benefits if they were disabled.  As of January 2013 there were still 58 children and 48 spouses of Spanish –American veterans were still receiving benefits from the VA and more from surviving families of WWI. 


              The National Archives at St. Louis collection holds records ranging from XC 2 to XC 3990713.  It is important to remember that because of how the cases close, several cases were still open at the time of transfer, causing gaps in our record series.  These files are arranged by their XC number and only two years (1952 and 1955) of transfers have been accessioned to the National Archives.  Most of these files document little of the veteran’s military service but may contain a great deal of personal information interesting to geologists.  This might be marriage or birth certificates, affidavits from the veteran or his family members, baptismal, or correspondence between survivors and the VA, etc... 


              To access these records, provide as much information as possible. Veteran’s complete name (including alternate spellings), service number, dates of birth and death will be most useful. To access these records, contact the Archival Division in St. Louis at stl.archvies@nara.gov.


              Pension files closed after the 1955 transfer are still held by the VA.  You may submit a FOIA request to access this file by writing to the following address. 


              VA Regional Office

              Attn:  FOIA/Privacy Act Officer

              Federal Building

              31 Hopkins Plaza

              Baltimore, MD  21201


              We hope this information has been helpful!


              Holly Rivet

              3 people found this helpful