United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
United States flag.png
Flag of the United States of America
NARA seal300.jpg
Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Index to Correspondence
Record Group RG 94: Records of the Adjutant General's Office
Collection years 1889-1904
Microfilm Publication M686. Index to General Correspondence of the REcord and Pension Office, 1889-1904. 385 rolls.
Arrangement Alphabetical by name or subject.
National Archives Identifier 588793
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in the Collection?

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.

Collection Content

Sample Image

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Information found in this collection may include:

  • Name of soldier
  • Unit of service
  • Name of person/office making the inquiry
  • Subject of inquiry

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search you will need to know:

  • The name of the pensioner.
  • The name of the unit where the pensioner served.
  • The name of the person making the inquiry.

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
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.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection 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

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.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor in the Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 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.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • 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.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • 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.


Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. 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 image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the 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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