I’ve written before on the Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) in both what documents they contain and how to access them. I have examples of these files under RESEARCH on this website. Today I’d like to talk about the genealogical information you can find within this file.
Many genealogists tend to avoid WWI or WWII research because they believe that all the records burned and nothing can be found (that is wrong). They also avoid it because it is too recent and not much is online. For those genealogists with family members who died in service or are still MIA, you are missing out on a lot of information by not doing this research.
Genealogical Information in IDPFs
- Vital records information: birth and death dates and places. Sometimes marriage or divorce documents are also included. One file also contained a Marine’s Adoption records.
- Health and dental history.
- Vital records for family members. I have seen death certificates for parents and birth certificates for younger siblings.
- Legal papers. I have seen FBI search results, mental hospital admittance paperwork, police reports, and probate documents in these files.
- Change of Address forms. When the next of kin moved while a soldier was in service, they submitted change of address forms. This allows researchers to trace families after the 1940 census.
- Family details. The IDPFs almost always contain handwritten letters from family members. Sometimes these letters talk about other siblings of the soldier who are in service.
- Military details. The entire military service record is not included, but in cases where a soldier was MIA or still MIA, his training information is included in the documents.
Every file has similar documents but is also different. They range from 10-20 pages to over 375. That’s the largest file I’ve seen and it just arrived yesterday. To access these files, read the articles linked above about the IDPF.
Have you used the IDPF for your genealogical research? What information, secrets, and military history did you discover?
© 2017 World War II Research and Writing Center