1 Reply Latest reply on Dec 7, 2020 4:18 PM by Jason Atkinson

    Seeking records that GI Bill was used to purchase workboats

    Jessica Taylor Newbie

      Hi! I am working on revisions to an article about coastal Virginians who served in World War II. One of the reviewers asked if there was a way to find out who bought workboats (like, for oystering and crabbing) with GI Bill money after the war. I would love to find out if specific people did this, but county-level or even regional information would also be very helpful. I see where previous question-askers have found mortgage records. Is there anything like this for watercraft, farming equipment, or something like this? Thanks so much!

        • Re: Seeking records that GI Bill was used to purchase workboats
          Jason Atkinson Ranger


          Dear Ms. Taylor,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

          What is commonly known as the “GI Bill” refers to the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, and has also been applied to various subsequent laws modifying Veteran benefits. The text of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 is available online from the Library of Congress at An Act To provide Federal Government aid for the readjustment in civilian life of returning World War II veterans.


          The following section may have been interpreted to allow for the Veterans Administration (and its successor, the Department of Veterans Affairs) to provide guarantees for loans for boats if they could be classified as business property:


          PURCHASE OF BUSINESS PROPERTY SEC. 503. Any application made under this title for the guaranty of a loan to be used in purchasing any business, land, buildings, supplies, equipment, machinery, or tools, to be used by the applicant in 292 58 STAT.] 78TH CONG., 2D SESS.-CH. 268-JUNE 22, 1944 pursuing a gainful occupation (other than farming) may be approved by the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs if he finds- (1) that the proceeds of such loan will be used for payment for real or personal property purchased or to be purchased by the veteran and used by him in the bona fide pursuit of such gainful occupation; (2) that such property will be useful in and reasonably necessary for the efficient and successful pursuit of such occupation; (3) that the ability and experience of the veteran, and the conditions under which he proposes to pursue such occupation, are such that there is a reasonable likelihood that he will be successful in the pursuit of such occupation; and (4) that the purchase price paid or to be paid by the veteran for such property does not exceed the reasonable normal value thereof as determined by proper appraisal.


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located two series created in whole or in part by the VA’s Loan Guaranty Service.  There may also be additional VA policy records that might indicate whether the VA ever applied this section of the law to boats. For more information about VA records in NARA custody, please email the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) Archives1reference@nara.gov.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          We are unable to locate any case files for individual business loans guaranteed under this act. These records may have been scheduled as temporary, and/or may still be in the possession of the VA. Please review the VA’s Freedom of Information Act page for information about requesting searches for records in VA custody.


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