United States, Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.

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Style Guide (Heading 4)

For guidelines to use in creating wiki articles that describe collections of images and indexes produced by FamilySearch, see: FamilySearch Wiki:Guidelines for FamilySearch Collections pages

Collection Time Period

This collection covers the years from 1907 to 1933.

Record Description

A pension card was created for every veteran or veteran’s widow who received a pension. There were four types of cards kept which are referred to as:
• Army invalids
• Army widows
• Navy invalids
• Navy widows
The form for the four types of cards is practically identical. On the front of the cards for invalid veterans are recorded the name of veteran, his certificate number, his unit or arm of Service, the disability for which pensioned, the law or laws under which pensioned, the class of pension or certificate, the rate of pension, the effective date of pension, the date of the certificate, any fees paid, the name of the pension agency or group transferred from (if applicable), the date of death, the date the Bureau was notified, the former roll number, and 'home.' On the reverse side of the form appears the name of the veteran, his certificate number, and the record of the individual payments. The army and navy widow’s cards are similar to the invalids’ cards with the addition of the widow’s name and occasionally information regarding payments made to minors, but they do not indicate if the veteran had a disability.

Record Content

Key genealogical facts found in the collection are listed below:
  • Name of veteran
  • Veteran’s Unit or arm of service
  • Date of pension
  • Veteran’s death date
  • Veteran’s “home”
  • Veteran’s disability (not included in widows cards)
  • Name of widow (only on widows cards)

Additional information about the contents of these cards is available in the Wiki Article: Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933.

How to Use the Record

Use pension payment cards to discover information about the veteran’s military service, i.e. his unit, the dates of service, etc., information regarding the veteran’s family, his place of residence, and any disabilities he may have had. The cards can lead to other military service records, and provide clues for further research on the veteran’s family.

Record History

In 1907 the Bureau of Pensions and Veterans Administration began recording payments of pension with a card system. Pensions were granted to army invalids, army widows, navy invalids and navy widows. The nearly 2 million 5x8 cards are arranged alphabetically by the surname of the veteran or widow. In 1923 payments were changed from monthly to quarterly. Payments that extended through this period were recorded on a second card.

Why This Record Was Created

The payment cards were created as a method for the government to keep track of the pensions being distributed.

Record Reliability

The information in these cards is generally reliable.

Related Websites

National Archives and Records Administration

Related Wiki Articles

US Military Pension Records
Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933 (This detailed wiki article has an index of the cards)

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

Please add sample citations to this article following the format guidelines in the wiki article listed above.

Examples of citations:

  • United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71
  • Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023

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Style Guide

For guidelines to use in creating wiki articles that describe collections of images and indexes produced by FamilySearch, see: FamilySearch Wiki:Guidelines for FamilySearch Collections pages.

Sources of Information for This Collection 

“Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933,” database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org); from Bureau of Pensions and Veterans Administration “Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933,” National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. FHL microfilm, 2539 rolls. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

A full bibliographic record is available in the Family History Library Catalog.

We welcome your assistance in adding source citation information for individual archives when collection data was collected from various sources or archives. The format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections