United States, General Index to Pension Files (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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

Contents

Record Description

The collection consists of the name index to pension files held at the National Archives. The files relate to service between 1861 and 1934. Most of the files are for Union Civil War service but also include the War with Spain, Philippine Insurrection, Boxer Rebellion and Regular U.S. military forces. The index is in alphabetical order.

State and federal governments filed pension records so as to keep track of the fund leaving the treasuries to support the veterans and widows of wars. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints then obtained this collection to help individuals find information about their ancestors.

Pension applications are usually reliable, depending on the memory of the applicant and the records to which he had access.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934.

Record Content

Pension files often include the following information:

  • Name of the person claiming the pension
  • Service record of the soldier, including rank, company, and regiment
  • Enlistment date
  • Discharge date
  • Date pension was filed
  • Whether an invalid, widow, or minor
  • Application number
  • Certificate number
  • Additional service information, including company and regiment
  • Death date of the soldier
  • Death place of the soldier

The index to pension files also includes:

  • Film number
  • Digital image numbers
  • Surname range

How to Use the Record

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor's given name and surname, some identifying information such as

  • residence
  • age
  • family relationships.

Search the Collection

To search the collection by name fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

If you did not find the person you were looking for, you may need to search the collection by image.
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "Surname Range" 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.

With either search 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.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information 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:

  • Death dates may lead to death certificates, mortuary, or cemetery records.
  • 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

  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the deceased; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been seeking the pension.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Citations for this Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection citation:

"United States, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing NARA microfilm publication T288. Washington, D.C.: Veterans Administration, Publications Service, n.d.

Record citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for United States, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934.

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 United States, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 20 October 2014, at 20:27.
  • This page has been accessed 4,537 times.