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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2013. It is an excerpt from their course Research: African American Ancestors  by Michael Hait, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Confederate pensions

Considered enemy combatants, Confederate veterans were not eligible for pensions from the U.S. government, even after the end of the Civil War saw the seceded states return to the Union.

The former Confederate states, as well as a few states that never seceded but contained a significant population of Confederate veterans within their populations, all eventually offered pensions to these Confederate veterans. These pensions were granted in a series of acts passed by each state’s legislature. By the beginning of the twentieth century, all of them also offered pensions to the formerly enslaved hand-servants who accompanied their owners to the battle lines.

In general, most of the Confederate pension files are held by their respective state archives. Several states have also placed indexes or images online, as follows:

  • Alabama is available on Ancestry.com;
  • Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee are available on FamilySearch;
  • Oklahoma (index only) is available on the Oklahoma Digital Prairie website;
  • South Carolina is available in the South Carolina Department of Archives and History “On-Line Records Index”;
  • Tennessee (index only) is available on the Tennessee State Library and Archives website;
  • Texas (index only) is available on the Texas State Library and Archives Commission website;
  • Virginia is available on the Library of Virginia website.

The quality and quantity of the information contained within Confederate pension files varies from state to state. Some consist of material as rich as that contained within Union pension files. Others only contain a single questionnaire as the application, without any supplementary material.

The following examples are from a Tennessee pension file.

Soldier’s Pension Application - Ben J. Jones, page 1

B. J. Jones, Colored Troops Pension no. 106; digital images, “Tennessee, Confederate Pension Applications, Soldiers and Widows, 1891¬-1965,” FamilySearch.

Jones20G.jpg


Soldier’s Pension Application - Ben J. Jones, page 2

B. J. Jones, Colored Troops Pension no. 106; digital images, “Tennessee, Confederate Pension Applications, Soldiers and Widows, 1891¬-1965,” FamilySearch.

Affidavit20G.jpg


Soldier’s Pension Application - Ben J. Jones - Affidavit

B. J. Jones, Colored Troops Pension no. 106; digital images, “Tennessee, Confederate Pension Applications, Soldiers and Widows, 1891¬-1965,” FamilySearch.

Letter20G.jpg


Soldier’s Pension Application - Ben J. Jones - Letter

B. J. Jones, Colored Troops Pension no. 106; digital images, “Tennessee, Confederate Pension Applications, Soldiers and Widows, 1891-1995"Family Search

1Letter20G.jpg


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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Research: African American Ancestors offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.

The name of this category, "African Americans," was taken from the prevailing Library of Congress subject heading. The LC does not use "African American" or "African-American."

  • This page was last modified on 24 November 2014, at 17:16.
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