Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jackpot in the Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File

I've recently been feeling disappointed that the year is almost over and I've done practically nothing to solve the bigger mysteries in my family tree.  Well, apparently Ancestry heard my whining:

Name: Joseph James Allen
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 7 Apr 1891
Death Date: 2 Jan 1946
SSN: 367072333
Branch 1: AF
Enlistment Date 1: 11 May 1918
Release Date 1: 23 July 1919

Ancestry.com added the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 where I found the above.  Before that record I didn't know when Joseph (my great-grandfather) died, when he was released from the military or even that he had a social security number.  Three great mysteries about Joseph answered with one record!  Now I can:
  • Order his social security application
  • Order his death certificate
  • Locate/order an obituary for him
  • Possibly deduce some information about his military service.  I plan on looking into July/August 1919 newspapers for Jackson, Jackson, Michigan (where he was from) that mention returning troops.
The mystery of WHERE he died still remains, but thanks to this record I found earlier this year, I know he spent the last years of his life in and out of a VA hospital near Battle Creek.  The other possibility is Jackson, where his home and family were.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a happy dance to go do.

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