North Carolina Confederate Soldier's and Widow's Pension Applications (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at
Access the records: North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953 .

Record Description

The collection consists of images of applications for pensions filed by Confederate veterans or their widows. The records are divided into two basic sets:

  • Applications 1885 to 1901
  • Applications after 1901

The records are arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the last name within each record set. There are also indexes following the two collections.

The first general pension law in North Carolina for Confederate veterans and widows (Chapter 214) was passed in 1885. This law provided for the payment of $30.00 annually to Confederate veteran residents of the state who had lost a leg, eye, or arm, or who were incapacitated for manual labor while in the service of the Confederate States during the Civil War. Widows of soldiers who were killed in service were entitled to the same benefits as long as they did not remarry. Any person, however, who owned property with a tax value of $500.00 or received a salary of $300.00 per year from the nation, state, or county was not eligible. 

These pension laws, however, underwent numerous changes over the next few decades. 

Chapter 116 of the laws of 1887 amended the 1885 law to include widows of soldiers who had died of disease while in service. 

The next general pension law was passed in 1889 and remained in effect until it was amended in 1901. As per this ammentment, applications had to be certified, witnessed, and filed with the county commissioners who in turn sent them to the State Auditor. 

In 1901, the General Assembly of North Carolina passed a new pension law (Chapter 332). Under the new act, "Every person who has been for twelve months immediately preceding his or her application for pension bona fide resident of the State, and who is incapacitated for manual labor and was a soldier or a sailor in the service of the State of North Carolina or of the Confederate States of America, during the war between the States (provided said widow was married to said soldier or sailor before the first day of April, 1865) was entitled to a pension. 

The pensioners were divided into four classes: 

  • First class, totally incompetent from wounds to perform manual labor, $72.00 per year; 
  • second class, those who lost a leg above the knee or an arm above the elbow, $60.00 annually; 
  • third class, those who lost a foot or leg below the knee or a hand or an arm below the elbow or had a limb rendered useless from a wound, $48.00 annually; and 
  • fourth class, those who lost one eye, widows, and those unfit for manual labor, $30.00 annually. Certain persons were excluded from benefits under general pension acts.

No person holding a national, state, or county office for which he received $300.00 annually, no person with property valued at $500.00 or more, and no person receiving aid under laws for relief of totally blind and maimed was eligible (inmates of the Soldiers' Home, recipients of pensions from other states, and deserters were excluded from benefits under the pension acts, although inmates of the Soldiers' Home were granted quarterly allowances of $1.50 in 1909 -- increased to $3.00 quarterly in 1913). 

Practically each succeeding General Assembly made some change in the pension laws. 

For an alphabetical list of names currently published in this collection, select the Browse.

This collection covers the years from approximately 1885 to 1953. 

The North Carolina government filed these records so as to keep track of the funds leaving the state treasury to support the veterans and widows of the Civil War. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints then obtained this collection to help individuals find information about their ancestors.

Confederate records are often fragmentary due to incomplete muster and descriptive rolls. The records are otherwise considered a reliable source in family history research. The reliability, of course, depends on the accuracy of the informant

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.

State Auditor. North Carolina Confederate soldier's and widow's pension applications. State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

Key genealogical facts found in Confederate Soldier Pensions may include:

North Carolina Confederate Soldier's and Widow's Pension Applications DGS 4810273 14.jpg
  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address and Parish
  • Regiment name
  • Military experiences
  • Postwar life
  • References to wife and/or children
  • Nature of incapacity

Key genealogical facts found in Widow Pensions may include:

  • Name (Married and Maiden)
  • Deceased soldier's name and regiment
  • Cause and Date of soldier's death
  • Date of birth
  • Address and Parish
  • Date of birth
  • Date of marriage
  • Nature of the soldier's or widow's incapacity

How to Use the Record

To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the "Beginning name - Ending name" category which takes you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

Confederate Pension applications can be used to find information about soldiers who served in the Civil War and their families. In addition to providing information about the veteran and his family, pension applications can also lead to more military records.

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. The pieces of information in the record 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 burial 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.

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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 also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

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

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 Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pensions Applications, 1885-1953," images, FamilySearch ( accessed 17 April 2012).  Sallie J. Eure widow of Noah Eure; citing Pension Records, Eldridge, William-Evans, Madison, image 1570; Division of Archives and History, State Archives, Raliegh, North Carolina, United States.