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Genealogy Q&A: Researching WWII Women’s Army Corps Members

By David A. Fryxell Premium
WWII Women's Army Corps recruitment poster, an example of women in wartime.
Crandell, B. & United States Army. Recruiting Publicity Bureau, F. (1943) Are you a girl with star-spangled heart?–Join the WAC now!–Thousands of Army jobs need filling! / Bradshaw Crandell. , 1943. [Recruiting Publicity Bureau United States Army] [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress.

Q: I’m looking for records of my aunt’s service in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. Does the National Archives have these?

A: The answer is a big “maybe,” according to the National Archives. You can start your research and get some basic information by searching the World War II Army Enlistment Records, online in the Archives’ Access to Archival Databases. These records include some 141,000 Women’s Army Corps enlistees. But even if you find your aunt listed, her service record may not have survived a 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis. The blaze destroyed about 80 percent of the records for personnel discharged between Nov. 1, 1912, and Jan. 1, 1960. 

But the NPRC may have a “B” registry file for your aunt—auxiliary sources used to reconstruct her military service record.

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A version of this article appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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