United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904 .
This collection is a name index to correspondence of the Records and Pension office. The index is part of RG 94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office and is NARA microfilm publication M686 located at the National Archives. This index covers only personal names.
The “Index to General Correspondence of the Record and Pension Office, 1889-1904” indexes two groups of records held at the National Archives and Records Administration, as shown below:
- “Document File, 1889-1904.” The Document File collection contains information about volunteer soldiers and regular military personnel including information on battles, desertions, requests for certificates of discharge, personnel policies, and other records.
- “Records Cards, 1889-1904.” The Record Cards collection includes copies of the responses of the Record and Pension Office and the sources they used.
To find descriptions of these record groups, visit the National Archives Online Catalog and enter these ARC identifiers: 300385 (Document File) and 588796 (Record Cards).
This collection covers the years from 1889 through 1904.
In 1889, the Record and Pension Office was established in order to consolidate the information regarding military soldiers and volunteers. The office had the responsibility of keeping the military and medical records of the volunteer forces and the medical records for the regular army. They were responsible for all of the business relating to these records.
Inquiries made to the Record and Pension office cover a wide range of subjects and time periods. Some of the inquiries regard soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War, while others pertain to soldiers living at the time who were in need of documentation or proof of service.
As correspondence was received by the pension office, it was filed and indexed onto cards. Inquiries were sometimes made by the soldier himself, a governmental office, or others. The correspondence included requests for the following: certificates of discharge, certificates in lieu of lost discharge papers, medals of honor, removal of charges for desertion, information needed for admission to homes for disabled soldiers or to complete the records of adjutants general of States, and information relating to the strength or service of the organizational units.
The cards index the correspondence received from 1889-1904, but the subject matter can range from as early as the Revolutionary War to the those who were alive at the time of the inquiry. Some of the cards will indicate the war in which the individual served, but others only list the company or division.
For a list of records by surnames currently published in this collection, select the Browse.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- "United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing NARA microfilm publication M686. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
Key genealogical facts found in this collection may include:
- Name of soldier
- Unit of service
- Name of person/office making the inquiry
- Subject of inquiry
How to Use the Record
Fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.
To search the collection image by image you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Select a surname range" which takes you to the images
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.
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Information about military units was generally filed under the name of its commanding officer.
Using the Information
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors such as pension files and other helpful military records.
If you are unable to find your ancestor look for variant spellings of the names.
- National Archives and Records Administration Online Catalog
- Research Our Records Contains information on ordering files from the National Archives
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
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Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904." images FamilySearch (http:/familysearch.org: accessed 8 April 2011). John Boukhead; citing Pension Office Correspondence, Bank-Bark, image 63; War Department Record and Pension Office.