United States, Civil War Confederate Applications for Pardons (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Civil War Confederate Applications for Pardons, 1865-1867 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
United States
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Flag of the United States of America
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Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Pardons and Amnesty Oaths
Record Group RG 94: Records of the Adjutant General's Office
Collection years 1865-1867
Microfilm Publication M1003. Case Files of Applications from former Confederates for Presidential Pardons ("Amnesty Papers"), 1865-1867. 73 rolls.
Arrangement Alphabetically by state then by name.
National Archives Identifier 656621
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of applications for pardons, 1865-1867, submitted to President Andrew Johnson by former Confederates excluded from the proclamation of May 29, 1865. The case files include affidavits, oaths of allegiance, recommendation for clemency, and other papers. This collection is part of RG 94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office,1780 - 1917, National Archives Microfilm Publication M1003. The index is courtesy of Fold3 (formerly Footnote).

During the Civil War, Federal officials recognized a need for new laws to deal with the rebellious acts of large parts of the Southern population. Congress passed acts on July 31, 1861 (12 Stat. 284), and July 17, 1862 (12 Stat. 589), that fixed penalties for the lesser crimes of "conspiracy" and "rebellion." The second act also provided for future pardon and amnesty "to any persons who may have participated in the existing rebellion . . . with such exceptions and at such time and on such conditions as he may deem expedient for the public welfare."

The first amnesty proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln on December 8, 1863. It extended pardon to person taking an oath to support the Constitution and the Union and to abide by all Federal laws and proclamations in reference to slavery made during the period of the rebellion.

The records were created to track those who applied for amnesty. The records are generally reliable.

Collection Content

The index includes the following information:

  • Petitioner Name
  • Date
  • Place or Residence
  • Fold3 (footnote) ID
  • NARA Roll Number

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • The name of the person, including nicknames or alias names
  • The approximate date
  • The residence

Search the Collection

To search the collection by name:
Fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. 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.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

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’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. The information may also lead you to other records about your ancestors. The following examples show ways you can use the information:

  • Use the name, date, and place or residence, to find the ancestor or family in census records.
  • Use the place or residence to locate church and land records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • 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 family or person to make this determination.
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur.
  • 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.

How You Can Contribute

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 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, Civil War Confederate Applications for Pardons, 1865-1867" Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing "Case Files of Applications from Former Confederates for Presidential Pardons ('Amnesty Papers'), 1865-1867." Fold3.com. http://www.fold3.com : n.d. NARA microfilm publication M1003. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1977.

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, Civil War Confederate Applications for Pardons, 1865-1867.