US Military Old Soldiers Home Records
History of Old Soldiers and Sailors Homes
In 1811 Congress approved a national home for disabled Navy veterans, but construction did not start until 1827. The Naval Home in the Philadelphia Naval Yard was first occupied in 1834. Homes for the Army were also proposed in 1827, but not approved until 1851 after the Mexican War, and again in 1865 after the Civil War. Veterans were eligible for admittance if they were honorably discharged; had served in the regular, volunteer, or militia forces mustered into federal service; were disabled and without support; and were unable to earn a living. By the late 1920s the system had expanded to include 17 federal veterans homes. Most national homes were officially known as a branch National Military Home, and informally called an Old Soldiers Home. In 1930 the national homes were combined with other agencies to form part of the Veterans Administration, now the Department of Veteran Affairs. In many cases veterans homes were converted to veterans hospitals after World War II.
Most old soldier homes were run by individual states. 43 states operated 54 homes between 1865 and 1933 for military veterans, or their widows, or orphans. Fourteen of those states also had a federal veterans home open at the same time as their state veterans home. Ten states had two or more state veterans homes in operation at the same time (two of which states also had a federal home).
U.S. Sanitary Commission homes, lodges, and rest. During the Civil War the U.S. Sanitary Commission provided Union servicemen "Temporary aid and protection,—food, lodging, care, etc.,—for soldiers in transitn[sic], chiefly the discharged, disabled, and furloughed." By 1865 the Commission operated 18 "soldiers' homes," 11 "lodges," and one "rest" in 15 states north and south (for a list see Commission bulletin, 3:1279). Most of their homes were war-time facilities and were closed at war's end. They are not included in the following tables.
For more detailed histories, especially of National Military Homes, see:
- the Wikipedia article National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.
- the Wikipedia article Old soldiers' home
- Trevor K. Plante, "The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers," Prologue: Journal of the National Archives, Spring 2004, vol. 36, No. 1. [FHL Book 973 B2p].
Soldier home registers are typically divided into three main sections: (1) military, (2) domestic, and (3) home, along with some general remarks. The military section includes information such as enlistment, rank, company, regiment, and discharge. The domestic section includes the veteran’s birthplace, age, height, religion, occupation, residence, marital status, and name and address of nearest relative. The home section includes the veteran’s rate of pension, date of admission to the home, discharge, death date, and burial place.
Some reports published by the Board of Managers for the National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers contain alphabetical rosters of soldiers. The rosters provide name, rank, company, organization, length of service, war, pension rate, birthplace, admission date, age when admitted, and status (including death date).
Almost all soldiers' homes had their own cemetery, or used a nearby cemetery as the final resting place for their residents. These cemeteries are easy to identify with their veterans' home. In the case of national homes, most of the associated cemeteries have become part of the National Cemetery system run by the Veterans Administration, and have good Internet indexes.
Finding the Records
The following table lists the location and names of old soldier homes, Family History Library (FHL) records, Internet information, and known manuscript (Ms) collections for the homes. For additional records ask at nearby museums, if any. Some old soldier home records may have ended up at their respective state archives.
|NE Burkett (Grand Island)||Nebraska Soldiers and Sailors Home||1888-now||cemetery v. 2||cemetary, image, images, website|
|NE Milford||Soldiers' and Sailors' Home||1895-1939||Not at FHL||history, history|
|NH Tilton||New Hampshire Soldiers’ Home||1890-now||Not at FHL||website, image|
|NJ Kearny||Home for Disabled Soldiers||1888-1932||Not at FHL||history, history, history, book|
|NJ Menlo Park||Veterans Memorial Home||1932-now||Not at FHL||history|
|NJ Newark||Home for Disabled Soldiers||1866-1888||Not at FHL||history, book|
|NJ Vineland||NJ Memorial Home for Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and their Wives||1899-now||Not at FHL||history, cemetery, book|
|NY Bath||Bath Branch National Military Home a.k.a. New York State Soldiers and Sailors Home||1878-1934||registers, history||index, burials, NPS site, history, cemetery|||
|NY Oxford||State Woman’s Relief Corps Home a.k.a. State Veterans' Home||1897-now||Not at FHL||burials, history, website|
|NC Fayetteville||Confederate Woman's Home||1915-40s||Not at FHL||cemetery, history, history|
|NC Raleigh||North Carolina Soldiers’ Home a.k.a. Confederate Soldiers' Home||1890-1938||Not at FHL||history, history, history, image, cemetery, burials|||
|ND Lisbon||Soldiers’ Home||1893-now||Not at FHL||history, burials, website|
|OH Dayton||Central Branch National Military Home||1867-now||registers, records, inmates, probate docket||index, burials, history, images, burials, guide, NPS site, lesson, museum|||
|OH Sandusky||Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home a.k.a. Ohio Veterans Home||1888-now||admissions, deaths, case histories, and discharges||history, image, image, images, burials, cemetery|
|OK Ardmore||Oklahoma Confederate Home a.k.a. Oklahoma Veterans Center||1911-1942||cemetery, veteran burials||cemetery, burials, website|| |
|OK Oklahoma City||Oklahoma Union Soldiers’ Home||1918-1937||index||pensions, burials, cemetery|||
|OR Roseburg||Oregon State Soldiers' Home a.k.a. Roseburg Branch National Military Home||1893-1933||registers, applications, index||index, photo, cemetery, burials, burials register index, index|||
|PA Erie||Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home||1886-now||records||burials, image, image, image, website|
|PA Philadelphia||United States Naval Home||1834-1976||Not at FHL||burials, burials, burials, history, history, cemetery|
|RI Bristol||Rhode Island Soldiers’ Home||1891-now||Not at FHL||history, history, website|
The Family History Library has microfilms of the following:
- Registers of Veterans at National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866–1937. (On 282 FHL films starting with 1546167.) The registers are indexed individually by the name of the veteran for each home. Upon admission each veteran was given a number. The registers are arranged numerically by these numbers. To find specific microfilm numbers, look in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
- UNITED STATES - MILITARY RECORDS.
Many states also maintained soldier homes as well. The Family History Library also has records for some state homes, including:
- Georgia Index to registers of inmates of the Confederate Soldiers Home of Georgia (2 FHL fillms 1445835-36)
- Louisiana Register books, 1884-1934; index, 1905-1944 (5 FHL films beginning with 1685399 Items 5-6)
- Michigan Applications for admission, 1885-1960 (75 FHL films beginning with 925040), and Historical register of inhabitants, 1885-1927 (10 FHL films beginning with 925039)
- Ohio Admission records of veterans of wartime United States military service, 1888-1919 (8 FHL films starting with 928927)
- Missouri Confederate pension applications and soldiers' home admission applications (27 FHL films starting with 1021101)
- Pennsylvania Philadelphia soldier's home records, 1866-1883 (FHL film 1032842 Items 4-6), and Pennsylvania soldiers and sailors homes, 1864-1872 (FHL film 1032842 Item 3)
- Tennessee Judith A. Strange, The Tennessee Confederate Soldier's Home : marching out of the mist into the light, roster one and roster two, The Tennessee Confederate Veterans' Home (Goodlettsville, Tenn.: Tennessee Tracers, 1996) [FHL book 976.8 M2s].
- Texas Roster of the residents of the Texas Confederate Old Soldier's Home in Austin, Texas (FHL film 1689628)
- Virginia Applications for admission, 1884-1941 (40 FHL films beginning with 2026354), and Registers of residents, 1885-1939 (FHL film 2109655 Items 1 - 3)
- Cyndi's List Veterans' or Soldiers' Homes
Sources and Notes
- "Soldiers' and Sailors' Home, Grand Island, Neb.- Historical Notes" in Nebraska Memories at (accessed 8 January 2010).
- Nebraska State Historical Society, "Historical Milford" at http://www.nebraskahistory.org/publish/markers/texts/milford.htm (accessed 9 January 2020).
- Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Department of New Hampshire, "Veterans Helping Veterans Group at NH Home" at http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:grtS3eV43_8J:www.vfwwebcom.org/newhampshire/33400/Veterans%2BHelping%2BVetrans%2BGroup%2Bat%2BNH%2BVeterans%2BHome%2B.html+Tilton+soldiers+home&cd=14&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a (accessed 9 January 2010).
- Kearny High School "Home for Disabled Soldiers" in Kearny Photos: Landmarks [Internet site] at http://shorock.com/alumni/kearny/landmarks/soldiers.pdf (accessed 5 December 2009), and Deborah Fitts, "Kearny Veterans Home Statue Will Be Replaced" in Civil War News [Internet site] at http://www.civilwarnews.com/archive/articles/06/july/kearny_df.htm (accessed 5 December 2009).
- Deborah Fitts, "Kearny Veterans Home Statue Will Be Replaced" in Civil War News [Internet site] at http://www.civilwarnews.com/archive/articles/06/july/kearny_df.htm (accessed 5 December 2009).
- Frank John Urquhart, History of the City of Newark, New Jersey (New York: Lewis Historical Publ., 1913; digitized by Google Book, 2006), 2:719.
- State of New Jersey, Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs, "New Jersey Veterans Memorial Homes" at http://www.state.nj.us/military/veterans/health.html (accessed 5 December 2009).
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- New York State Legislature, Documents of the Senate of the State of New York – One Hundred and Fortieth Session (Albany, N.Y.: J.B. Lyon Co., 1917; Digitized by Google Books), 133 (accessed 12 January 2010).
- "18. Confederate Women’s Home Historical Marker" in Fayetteville, N.C. Military Sites Tour Map at http://www.visitfayettevillenc.com/images/military/sites/Fayetteville_MilitarySites.pdf (accessed 13 January 2010). The ending date is estimated from an article discussing the use of the Home's chapel by others in 1945: Haymount United Methodist Church, "Church History" at http://www.haymountumc.com/HUMCHIistory.html (accessed 13 January 2010).
- North Carolina Archives, State Auditors Papers, Au-Com, "Wake County, NC - Raleigh's Old Soldiers' Home, 1890-1938" at http://files.usgwarchives.net/nc/wake/military/soldier1.txt (accessed 13 January 2010).
- Rosenburg, 216-17, says the North Carolina Div. of Archives and History, Raleigh, has Board of Incorporators minutes, building and maintenance expenses, drug and whiskey account, hospital record of patients, hospital register, inmate expenses, inmate record, inmate register, inmate roll book, ledger accounts paid, record of clothing issued, Superintendent's inmate behavior log, visitors' register, and warrants and weekly payroll.
- North Dakota Veterans Home, "History of the North Dakota Veterans Home" at http://www.nd.gov/ndvh/about/history.html (accessed 5 December 2009).
- "Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home" in Ohio History Central: An Online encyclopedia of Ohio History at http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=2172 (accessed 18 January 2010).
- "Oklahoma Veterans Center, Ardmore, Oklahoma, Oklahoma Confederate Home, 1911-1942)" in CivilWarAlbum.com at http://www.civilwaralbum.com/indian/ardmore_vet1.htm (accessed 15 December 2009).
- "Oklahoma Confederate Home Material" is available at the Confederate Research Center, Harold B. Simpson Hill College History Complex, Hillsboro, Texas, as cited in "Confederate Research Center" at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mscivilw/csa_resc.html (accessed 15 December 2009).
- Ancestry.com "Military Records" in Oklahoma - Sources at http://www.ancestry.com/search/locality/dbpage.aspx?i=s&tp=2&p=39 (accessed 21 January 2010), says "The Oklahoma Historical Society has the records, although incomplete, of the Confederate Home located in Ardmore, Oklahoma."
- Doug Loudenback, "The Union Soldier's Home" in Doug Dawgz Blog at http://dougdawg.blogspot.com/2007/08/okc-street-map-history.html (accessed 15 December 2009), citing The Oklahoman's [newspaper?] archives.
- Robert L. Williams, "The Oklahoma Historical Society" in Chronicles of Oklahoma at http://digital.library.okstate.edu/Chronicles/v021/v021p060.pdf (accessed 15 December 2009), 61, says the Oklahoma Historical Society has "8,774 pages relating to the Union soldiers and their organizations from the old Union Soldiers' Home and also valuable Confederate records."
- United States, Dept. of Veterans Affairs, "Cemeteries - Roseburg National Cemetery" at http://www.cem.va.gov/CEMs/nchp/roseburg.asp (accessed 15 December 2009).
- Oregon State Archives "State Agency Record Series Descriptions - N-R Oregon Soldiers Home . . . at http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/state/mil/series/list.htm#n (accessed 26 January 2010).
- Pennsylvania Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs, "Pennsylvania Soldiers' and Sailors' Home" at http://www.milvet.state.pa.us/DMVA/480.htm (accessed 15 December 2009).
- "US History Encyclopedia: Soldiers' Home" in Answers.com at http://www.answers.com/topic/old-soldiers-home (accessed 4 January 2010), and Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL), "Views of the U.S. Naval Asylum and Hospital, Philadelphia" in Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries at http://archives.pacscl.org/shows/navalhome/index.html (accessed 4 January 2010).
- Rhode Island. Dept. of State, "Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home" in Manual, with rules and orders, for the use of the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island, 1912 (Providence, R.I.: E.L. Freeman, 1912; Digitized by Google Books), 278 at http://books.google.com/books?id=OMcGAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA278&lpg=PA278&dq=Rhode+Island+Soldiers'+Home&source=bl&ots=JH6He0Zofu&sig=UqZ_E4tDsHPzLanYBHUg7TZ9P4U&hl=en&ei=utNUS-jwHoiWtgefs4yoCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CBQQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=Rhode%20Island%20Soldiers'%20Home&f=false (accessed 18 January 2010).