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).
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 tables 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.
The following tables do not list soldiers' orphans' homes that were separate from an old soldiers' home.
|KS Fort Dodge||Kansas State Soldiers’ Home||1890-now||cemetery, cemetery||burials, burials, history, history, history, images|
|KS Leavenworth||Western Branch National Military Home||1885-1934||registers, residents, deaths||index, NPS site, cemetery|||
|KY Georgetown||Confederate Soldiers' Home and Widows' and Orphans' Asylum||1881-1883||Not at FHL|||
|KY Harrodsburg||Soldiers' Home||1848-1860?||Not at FHL||history footnote|
|KY Pewee Valley||Kentucky Confederate Soldiers' Home||1902-1934||cemetery, list, history||history, history, image,|||
|LA New Orleans||Soldiers’ Home of Louisiana a.k.a. Camp Nicholls Soldier's Home||1884-1944||registers, report||history, image|||
|ME Togus||Eastern Branch National Military Home||1866-1934||registers, cemetery||index, history, history, NPS site|||
|MD Pikesville (Sudbrook)||Maryland Line Confederate Soldiers’ Home||1888-1932||history||history|||
|MA Boston||Discharged Soldiers’ Home||1862-1869||Not at FHL||report, report|
|MA Chelsea||Soldiers’ Home||1882-now||Not at FHL||history|
|MI Grand Rapids||Michigan Soldiers’ Home||1886-now||applications, applications, graves, registers, burials||index, history, graves, graves, graves, cemetery|
|MN Minneapolis||Minnesota Soldiers’ Home a.k.a. Minnesota Veterans' Home||1888-now||cemetery||website, history, history|
|MS Biloxi||Beauvoir Confederate Soldier's Home a.k.a Jefferson Davis Beauvoir Memorial Soldiers' Home||1903-1957||cemetery, cemetery||index, list, history, history, history, history, cemetery|||
|MS Biloxi||Biloxi Home [National Home] a.k.a. VA Medical Center||1932-now||Not at FHL||history, cemetery, website|
|MS Gulfport||United States Naval Home||1976-now ||Not at FHL||website|
|MO Higginsville||Missouri Confederate Home||1891-1950||admissions, cemetery, history||burials, history, images, archives inventory|||
|MO St. James||Missouri State Federal Soldiers' Home||1896-now||index||website, images, history|
|MT Columbia Falls||Montana Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home a.k.a. Montana State Soldier's Home||1897-now||cemetery||burials, history, description|
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 above tables for locating old soldiers' home records.
- Cyndi's List Veterans' or Soldiers' Homes
Sources and Notes
- Angela Ellis, and Carl S. McCarthy, "Soldiers' Home" in Dictionary of American History (The Gale Group Inc. 2003) at Encyclopedia.com at http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401803936.html (accessed December 29, 2009).
- Ford County Historical Society, "4th of July, 1890 Fort Dodge, Kansas Soldiers Home" at http://www.skyways.org/orgs/fordco/july.html (accessed 4 December 2009).
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- Rosenburg, 28-29, citing Georgetown Weekly Times, July 13, November 30, 1881; November 14, 1883; "Confederate Soldiers' Home," "Subscribers to Confederate Soldiers' Home and Widows' and Orphans' Asylum," Kentucky State Archives, Frankfort; Southern Historical Society Papers, 11 (1883): 432.
- Rosenburg, 216, says the Kentucky State Archives, Frankfort, has a list of Subscribers to the Confederate Soldiers' Home and Widows' and Orphans' Asylum.
- Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant (1885-1886; reprint, New York: Cosimo, 2007), 58-59 (note).
- Ruth Wright, "The Kentucky Confederate Home" in Sons of Confederate Veterans, John Hunt Morgan Camp 1342, Confederate Crossroads Online at http://johnhuntmorgan.scv.org/confhome.htm (accessed 23 November 2009).
- Rosenburg, 216, says the Kentucky State Archives, Frankfort, has Board of Trustees minutes, clothing issue book, commandant reports, hospital register, inmates register, miscellaneous reports, officer and employee payroll, physician and undertaker records, purchase ledgers, and rules and regulations.
- "New Orleans Know-It-All (December 11, 2001)" in BestofNewOrleans.com at http://bestofneworleans.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid:27331 (accessed 3 January 2010).
- Rosenburg, 216, says the Louisiana Historical Association Collection at the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane Univ., New Orleans, has Board of Directors correspondence, House Committee reports, Investigating Committee reports, membership lists, minutes, President reports, reports 1886-1938, Secretary reports; clippings and pamphlets, financial reports, rules and regulations, Superintendent reports, and Surgeon reports.
- Maryland Historical Society, "Maryland Line Confederate Soldiers' Home Collection" at http://www.mdhs.org/Library/fotofind/PP0159lnk.html (accessed 4 December 2009).
- Maryland Historical Society, "Maryland Line Confederate Soldiers' Home" at http://www.mdhs.org/library/fotofind/PP0159lnk.html (accessed 4 January 2010) says the Maryland Historical Society, Manuscripts Department, has MS. 256, Maryland Line Confederate Soldiers' Home Record Books, 1882-1932.
- Associated Topeka Libraries Automated System catalog description citing Discharged Soldiers' Home (Boston, Mass.), "Sixth Annual Report of the Discharged Soldiers' Home [microform] : with the Constitution, By-laws, and a List of the Officers" (Boston: Press of Geo. C. Rand and Avery, 1868) at http://lib.wuacc.edu/search/o?19691777 (accessed 18 December 2009), and "Sixth Annual Report of the Board of State Charities of Massachusetts" (Boston, Mass.: Wright and Potter, 1870). Digitized by Google Books at http://books.google.com/books?id=APTJAAAAMAAJ (accessed 18 December 2009), 111-13.]
- Gerard W. Brown, Chapter 7: "The Soldiers' Home" in Chelsea, Postcard history series (Charleston, S.C.: Archadia Publishing, 2004), 99-108. Digitized by Google Books at http://books.google.com/books?id=cRs1pqiCcP0C&pg=PA99&lpg=PA99&dq=soldiers'+home+chelsea&source=bl&ots=vtU9d5PAtM&sig=0q-8ksoQQNRDh9AqYZ7q0q1RiEs&hl=en&ei=W51DS63XD438MIi1tY4J&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CAwQ6AEwAjge#v=onepage&q=soldiers'%20home%20chelsea&f=false= (accessed 5 January 2010).
- Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, "Soldier's and Sailor's Homes Records" at http://bentley.umich.edu/research/genealogy/cw/soldiershome.php (accessed 7 January 2010).
- Wikipedia contributors, "Minnesota Veterans Home," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Veterans_Home (accessed 3 December 2009).
- Beauvoir Confederate Soldier's Home at http://www.beauvoir.org/vetshome.html (accessed 31 December 2009).
- Rosenburg, 216, says the William D. McCain Library, Univ. of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, has Board of Directors correspondence, minute books 1920-1936, and reports, and the Mississippi Dept. of Archves and History, Jackson, has the register of inmates.
- United States Department of Veterans Affairs, "VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System-About this Facility" at http://www.biloxi.va.gov/about/index.asp (accessed 7 January 2010).
- Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia, "Missouri. Confederate Home, Higginsville, Records, 1897-1944 (C0066" at http://whmc.umsystem.edu/invent/0066.html (accessed 4 December 2009) lists correspondence, contracts, financial records, minutes, photographs, reports, cash books, farm accounts, journals, ledgers, and voucher registers are available in the Western Historical Manuscript Collection at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
- State of Missouri, Missouri Veterans Commission, "Our History" at http://www.mvc.dps.mo.gov/Administration/History/history.html (accessed 8 January 2010).
- http://montanahistorywiki.pbworks.com/National+Register+-+Flathead#MontanaStateSoldiersnbspHomenbspHistoricDistrict (accessed 8 January 2010).