United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Collection Time Period
This collection covers the years from 1889 through 1904.
This collection is a card index to general correspondence received by the Record 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 publication indexes two collections from the War Department. Records and Pension Office; the Document File, compiled 1889-1904 (ARC Identifier 300385) and Record Cards, compiled 1889-1904 (ARC Identifer 588796). This index covers only peronal names, no subject cards were indexed.
The cards usually give the name of the soldier, unit in which served, name of the person or office making the inquiry, subject of the inquiry, and file number. The cards are organized alphabetically in a phonetic system.
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).
Key genealogical facts found in this collection are listed below:
- Name of soldier
- Unit of service
- Name of person/office making the inquiry (sometimes the soldier himself)
- Subject of inquiry
How to Use the Record
The index cards are arranged by the name of the soldier or other subject of inquiry. Surnames are arranged alphabetically in a phonetic system. If the subject of inquiry was a military unit, it was generally filed under the name of its commanding officer. These records may lead to pension files and other helpful military records.
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.
Why the Record Was Created
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.
- 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
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 keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
"United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904." index and images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org): accessed 8 April 2011. entry for John Boukhead; citing Pension Office Correspondence, Bank-Bark, image 63; War Department Record and Pension Office.
Citation for This Collection
"U.S. Index to General Correspondence of the Record and Pension Office, 1889-1904," images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org); citing War Department, Record and Pension Office. FHL microfilm, 385 rolls. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah