Saturday, September 13, 2014

Update on Cain Pension File

Back in May, I learned about Harl Cain, the brother of my second-great-grandmother Mary Alice Cain Read. I went looking for pension file for his service in the First Battery, US Field Artillery around the time of the Spanish-American War. The file was not at the National Archives in Washington DC, so I submitted a FOIA request to the Veterans Administration to request a copy of the file. Months went by and I hadn't heard anything. Until today's mail.

Here's the update from the National Archives at St. Louis dated 8 September 2014:

"This is in response to your request dated May 5, 2014, which you submitted to the VA to obtain copies of the XC/Pension file for Harl Cain. I regret the delay before the VA referred the request to us on September 3, 2014. The file you seek may be part of a collection of records currently being transferred from the NARA facility at Lee's Summit, MO, to the National Archives at St. Louis. The shipments are scheduled to continue until the middle of October 2014. As the various trucks arrive with additional records we will check for the record you want. If located, we will provide you with an invoice for the cost of copies. Upon receipt of payment a complete copy will be mailed to you at the address above. If it is determined that the file you seek is not part of this transfer we will notify you immediately.

I am sorry for the delay this causes you. You may contact our staff at [redacted] if you have any questions."

I don't mind the wait, and it is nice to see the request is working its way through the system. According to a 2011 article on the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, the center contains the files on a staggering "100 million individuals who served the country in the military or as a civilian." I can see why this may take a while.

I'll continue to wait, and hopefully the pension file is found. If I'm really lucky, the file will have a lead on the parents of Harl and Mary Alice.

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