United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office (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

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. This collection covers the years from 1889 through 1904.

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).

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.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904.

Record Content

Information 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

To begin your search you will need to know:

  • The name of the pensioner
  • Other identifying information such as the name of the person making the inquiry or the unit where served.

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 the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Select a surname range" which takes you to the images
Keep in mind:

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. 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.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Information about military units was generally filed under the name of its commanding officer.
  • Continue to search the index and records to identify other relatives.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We especially need language translations for both content and images. For specific needs, please look for callout boxes throughout the article or visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.


Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


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, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing NARA microfilm publication M686. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

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, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904.

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, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 24 March 2015, at 17:56.
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