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

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Revision as of 22:23, 6 October 2011 by TimothyNB (Talk | contribs)
FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Collection Time Period

This index covers service files between the years 1861 and 1916.

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 1916. 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.

Record Content

Pension files often include the following genealogical 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

Use this index to help you learn more about your ancestors, whether war achievements or previously unknown biological information. To search for your ancestors in the index you will need to know their full names.

If you are having difficulty finding your ancestor, look for variations in the spelling of the name. If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

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.

You may also find these search tips helpful:

  • 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.

Record History

The index was produced to provide easier access to the full pension application files.

Why the Record Was Created

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.

Record Reliability

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

Related Websites

Pension Records

Related Wiki Articles

United States Civil War Pension Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. 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.

A suggested format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

  • United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71
  • Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023

Sources of Information for This Collection

"United States, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934." FmilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org). NARA publication T288. National Archives and Records Center. Washington D.C. FHL micrfilm, 544 reels. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.


 

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