North Carolina Confederate Soldier's and Widow's Pension Applications (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at


Record Description

The collection consists of images of applications for pensions filed by Confederate veterans or their widows for the years 1885 to 1953. The records are divided into two basic sets:

  • Applications 1885 to 1901
  • Applications after 1901

The records are arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the last name within each record set. There are also indexes following the two collections.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953.

Record Content

Information found in Confederate Soldier Pensions may include:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address and Parish
  • Regiment name
  • Military experiences
  • Postwar life
  • References to wife and/or children
  • Nature of incapacity

Information found in Widow Pensions may include:

  • Name (Married and Maiden)
  • Deceased soldier's name and regiment
  • Cause and Date of soldier's death
  • Date of birth
  • Address and Parish
  • Date of birth
  • Date of marriage
  • Nature of the soldier's or widow's incapacity

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • Name of the soldier
  • Other identifying information such as date of birth and death

Search the Collection

To search the collection:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the "Beginning name - Ending name" category which takes you to the images

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. The pieces of information in the record may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. This information will often lead you to other records. For example:

  • Use the age to calculate an approximate birth date.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Death dates may lead to death certificates, mortuary, or burial records.
  • In addition to providing information about the veteran and his family, pension applications can also lead to more military records.
  • Confederate records are often fragmentary due to incomplete muster and descriptive rolls. The records are otherwise considered a reliable source in family history research. The reliability, of course, depends on the accuracy of the informant

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby states.

General Information About These Records

The first general pension law in North Carolina for Confederate veterans and widows (Chapter 214) was passed in 1885. This law provided for the payment of $30.00 annually to Confederate veteran residents of the state who had lost a leg, eye, or arm, or who were incapacitated for manual labor while in the service of the Confederate States during the Civil War. Widows of soldiers who were killed in service were entitled to the same benefits as long as they did not remarry. Any person, however, who owned property with a tax value of $500.00 or received a salary of $300.00 per year from the nation, state, or county was not eligible.

These pension laws, however, underwent numerous changes over the next few decades. Chapter 116 of the laws of 1887 amended the 1885 law to include widows of soldiers who had died of disease while in service. The next general pension law was passed in 1889 and remained in effect until it was amended in 1901. As per this amendment, applications had to be certified, witnessed, and filed with the county commissioners who in turn sent them to the State Auditor.

In 1901, the General Assembly of North Carolina passed a new pension law (Chapter 332). Under the new act, "Every person who has been for twelve months immediately preceding his or her application for pension bona fide resident of the State, and who is incapacitated for manual labor and was a soldier or a sailor in the service of the State of North Carolina or of the Confederate States of America, during the war between the States (provided said widow was married to said soldier or sailor before the first day of April, 1865) was entitled to a pension.

The pensioners were divided into four classes:

  • First class, totally incompetent from wounds to perform manual labor, $72.00 per year
  • Second class, those who lost a leg above the knee or an arm above the elbow, $60.00 annually
  • Third class, those who lost a foot or leg below the knee or a hand or an arm below the elbow or had a limb rendered useless from a wound, $48.00 annually
  • Fourth class, those who lost one eye, widows, and those unfit for manual labor, $30.00 annually.

Certain persons were excluded from benefits under general pension acts.

No person holding a national, state, or county office for which he received $300.00 annually, no person with property valued at $500.00 or more, and no person receiving aid under laws for relief of totally blind and maimed was eligible (inmates of the Soldiers' Home, recipients of pensions from other states, and deserters were excluded from benefits under the pension acts, although inmates of the Soldiers' Home were granted quarterly allowances of $1.50 in 1909 -- increased to $3.00 quarterly in 1913).

Practically each succeeding General Assembly made some change in the pension laws.

Related Websites

Confederate Pension Files

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

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Citations for This Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.  

Collection Citation:

"North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing State Auditor. State Archives, Raleigh.

Image citation:

The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953.


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  • This page was last modified on 21 April 2015, at 20:50.
  • This page has been accessed 6,611 times.