Wednesday, September 26, 2007

NPRC Fire in 1973...All (Hope) was Not Lost

At the National Archives and Records Administration booth at the recent FGS conference, I picked up a copy of the free book, "Reference Information Paper 109, Military Service Records at the National Archives," compiled 2007 by Trevor K. Plante. On page 109 I learned something new...and encouraging.

Page 108 tells about the disastrous fire at the National Personnel Records Center that destroyed approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files...then page 109: "No duplicate copies of the records that were destroyed in the fire were maintained, nor were microfilm copies ever produced. There were no indexes created prior to the fire. In addition, millions of documents had been lent to the Department of Veterans Affairs before the fire occurred. Therefore, a complete listing of the records that were lost is not available. Nevertheless, NPRC-MPR uses many alternate sources in its efforts to reconstruct basic service information to respond to requests."

My good friend realized this when she requested her father's records from WWII service with the 10th Mountain Division. She was sent paperwork and documents that while they were not the "official" paperwork, were wonderful to receive and furnished information she did not have.

So you WWII record-seekers, take heart. All was not lost.

And perhaps request a copy of this free booklet for your own use? Your genealogical society's use?

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