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

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United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards,1907-1933 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
United States flag.png
Flag of the United States of America
NARA seal300.jpg
Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Pension
Collection years 1907-1933
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of an index and images of cards used by the Bureau of Pensions and Veterans Administration to record the payment of pensions to veterans, widows and other dependents. The collection is part of RG 15 Records of the Veterans Administration and is NARA microfilm publication M850. The collection covers the years from 1907 to 1933.

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.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards,1907-1933.

Collection Content

Click on the image for a larger view.

Sample Images

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. 

The payment cards were created as a method for the government to keep track of the pensions being distributed. The information in these cards is generally reliable.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Information found in the collection are listed below:

  • Name of pensioner
  • Name of veteran
  • Veteran’s military unit
  • Commencement date of pension
  • Certificate number
  • Veteran’s death date
  • Veteran’s “home”
  • Name of widow (only on widows cards)

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

How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The military unit in which your ancestor served.
  • The names of family members.

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page
Select Surname Range

Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s pension payment card, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use pension payment cards to discover information about the veteran’s military service
  • Use pension payment cards to learn about his unit, and the dates of service
  • Use pension payment cards to learn more information regarding the veteran’s family
  • The cards can lead to other military service records, and provide clues for further research on the veteran’s family.

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Look for another index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

Known Issues With This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation

"United States, Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing NARA microfilm publication M850. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.

Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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