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Researching WWII American Death Records and Burial Sites For Novice New York Genealogists: Subscription Databases

An introduction to the genealogical resources available when researching WWII veteran casualties and burials


The New York Public Library maintains subscriptions to Ancestry and Fold3, two popular sources for access to copies, indexes, and inscriptions of military records. Many of these collections were digitized in partnership with the National Archives, and reflect content held by NARA and NPRC. These partnerships facilitated further indexing, enhanced searching, and digital access to these materials.


Ancestry Library Edition is available on-site at NYPL at: URLs provided are from, and Ancestry Library Edition, respectively.


1930 United States Federal Census [images]

Locating a veteran in the 1930 census can uncover valuable information to inform your search into their later death records. Knowing an individual’s age and early home may offer clues about whether they were war-aged by the time of the war or where they may have returned after the conflict.


1940 United States Federal Census [images, free with registration with]

The United States entered the WWII war effort in December of 1941. Placing a veteran at the time of the 1940 census could reveal if they enlisted early and with which branch they were involved. The excerpt below shows a private enumerated in Army Air Corps housing in Denver, Colorado.


The first image shows sheet information from the top of the page and the second image shows an entry for a Jack B. Swan.

Source: 1940 U.S. census, Denver County, Colorado, population schedule, Denver, Enumeration District (ED) 16-302, sheet 17-B, dwelling 457, family 35, Jack B. Swan, images at Ancestry ( : accessed 7 April 2019); citing National Archives microfilm publication T627, roll no. not cited.


U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [text-only]

Online database of deaths reported to the Social Security Administration. If available, each entry includes indexed information: last name, first name, social security number, state issued, birth date, death date, last residence, lump sum payment.


U.S. Burial Registers, Military Posts and National Cemeteries, 1862-1960 [images]

Indexed scanned burial records for National Cemeteries and other U.S. veterans’ burial sites.


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 [text-only]

Indexed names, birth dates, and death dates for U.S. veterans and their beneficiaries who died between 1850 and 2010. Sources include the BIRLS (Beneficiary Identification Records Locater Subsystem) Death File and the Social Security Death Index.


U.S. Headstone Applications For Military Veterans, 1925-1963 [images]

Database with images of applications for VA headstones for use in private cemeteries.


U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962  [images]

Database with images of Internment Control Forms cards, which contain information pertaining to the burial of U.S. Army personnel in National Cemeteries.


Interment card for a Jack B. Swan.

Source: "U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962” database with images, Ancestry ( : accessed 13 April 2019), entry for Jack B. Swan, serial no. 6976748; citing "Interment Control Forms, A1 2110-B. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. The National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland."


U.S. Veterans Cemeteries Database, ca.1775-2006 [text-only] [as "U.S. Veterans' Gravesites, ca.1775-2006"]

Compiled from multiple sources and cemeteries, this database includes information relating to the burial of veterans and their dependents buried in military cemeteries. Entries may include: the name of deceased; birth date; death date; interment date; burial location and/or site;  name of cemetery; address of cemetery; relationship to veteran; and veteran service dates, branch, and rank of service.


U.S. WWII Military Personnel Missing In Action or Lost At Sea, 1941-1946 [text-only]

Indexed names of military personnel and civilians who have been reported as missing in action (MIA) or buried at sea during WWII. Database entries list each individual’s name, date of loss, branch of service, rank, service number, and status (“Lost at Sea” or “Missing in Action”).


World War II Prisoners of the Japanese, 1941-1945 [text-only]

Indexed list of American prisoners of Japan during WWII.


Fold3 is available on-site at NYPL at:

Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs) of the U.S. Army Air Forces, 1942-1947 [images]

Scanned and indexed MACRs from NARA. Case files relating to missing aircrafts and their crew. Information found within may include each crew member’s name, rank, service number, names and addresses of next of kin as well as conditions relating to the crash including cause, weather conditions and visibility, type and model of aircraft and its engines, weapons installed and their serial numbers, place of departure, flight plan, and assigned air forces organization. Crew outcomes including rescue, POW, and death may be indicated if available at the time of the report.


WWII Army and Army Air Force Casualty List

Scanned and indexed “Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel from World War II” from NARA. List name, rank, serial number, and type of casualty for all Army personnel who were killed, died or remained missing between May 27,1941 – January 31, 1946. Arranged by state, county, and alphabetically. Created by the Strength Accounting Branch, Administrative Services Division, Adjutant General’s Office, Department of War.




WWII Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Casualty List

Scanned and indexed “State list of Casualties from World War II for Navy, Marine Corps, & Coast Guard” from NARA. List lists name and rank of Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard personnel who died on active duty, December 7, 1941 – September 1945. They also include the name, address, and relationship of each individual’s next-of-kin. These lists omit deaths by homicide, suicide, and disease. Created by the Bureau of Naval Personnel of the Department of the Navy, they are arranged by state, category (including combat dead, missing, wounded, died in prison camps, and released prisoners of war), and alphabetically.