What are World War I Bonus Records?
In 1919 Minnesota State law authorized relief assistance payments--called bonuses--for people who were in U.S. military or naval service during World War I. The qualifications included being a MN resident at the time they entered into the service and receiving an honorable discharge. Payments were made until at least 1943 and were made to veterans and/or their survivors.
Bonus records consist of the information on the payments, as well as the applications. Applications include details on applicants' military service, proof of residence, proof of honorable discharge, and other data.
What are Disallowed Bonus Records?
Not every application for a World War I bonus was approved and those that were rejected are called Disallowed Bonus Files. Applications could be denied for a number of reasons, including issues related to residency at time of enlistment, service that did not qualify under the existing bonus laws, or payment of a bonus to another survivor of a deceased soldier.
We have both the approved and the disallowed bonus records here at the MN Historical Society. Researchers can view them onsite or order copies.
How do I order a copy of an approved or disallowed Bonus Record?
- Search in the Minnesota Historical Society's Collections Online or People Finder systems. In either system, search for the name and the term "world war i bonus file" in the search box in the top-center area of the screen. The results list will include both approved and disallowed bonus records.
- Clicking on the record title will take you to more information about the record. This should help if you see multiple records in your results list and are not sure which to order based on just the name and any possible initials. In particular, the Place line of the more detailed record will tell you where the payments were mailed.
- Click on the Buy button next to the record you want to order to start the online ordering process.
- Prepayment is required and non-refundable.
- The $15 fee includes shipping costs.
- If paying by check, select the Offline Payment option during the online check-out process and make your check payable to the Minnesota Historical Society.
- Payment must be received within 30 days of placing the order or the order will be cancelled.
- Members of the Minnesota Historical Society receive a 10% discount. Visit the Membership page to find out more about becoming a Society member.
- World War I Bonus and Disallowed Bonus Research Requests are completed on a first-come-first-served basis
- Turn-around time can be as much as 30 business days if we are busy, dating from the receipt of payment
- Copies will be sent via first class US Mail.