Differences in Pension Index Cards

huskerblitz

Major
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Location
Nebraska
Can anyone shed some light on why there are different pension index cards?

The top one comes from Fold3.

The bottom one comes off Ancestry and I've noticed the ones on Ancestry will typically list names of spouses or other dependents. I find these to be more helpful in my research but not sure where there are different cards.

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lupaglupa

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Location
Upstate New York
I'm no expert on these (tagging @Bob Velke who is) but what I see is different cards with the same info - it looks like Burton had a pension in his own name and after his death his widow Elizabeth then got a pension as a widow. Note that the certificate numbers are the same on the different cards. I found several cards on Fold 3 for Caleb - all had the same numbers on them.
 

huskerblitz

Major
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Location
Nebraska
I'm no expert on these (tagging @Bob Velke who is) but what I see is different cards with the same info - it looks like Burton had a pension in his own name and after his death his widow Elizabeth then got a pension as a widow. Note that the certificate numbers are the same on the different cards. I found several cards on Fold 3 for Caleb - all had the same numbers on them.
This is a relative, but I research the entire regiment. I grabbed this one to illustrate the differences between the index on Fold3 and Ancestry.

The difference is the addition of the name of his spouse...which is a HUGE help in finding gravesites and other information. If you notice, the top card has the numbers for the widow pension, but the second one actually names the filer.
 

Bob Velke

Private
Official Vendor
Joined
Jan 25, 2014
There are different indexes because they were created by different governmental agencies at different times. We're lucky to have both because, as you say, each has strengths and weaknesses. They also serve as valuable cross-references when a card is missing or illegible. There are other kinds of CW pension indexes too but those two are the most commonly used.

Both indexes include the veteran's name/regiment and the application date, Application number, and Certificate number for each person who applied with reference to a soldier's service. Then each index has some information that the other doesn't.

The General Index (Microfilm publication T288) can be found on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, among other places. In the case of a widow's pension, only the General Index lists her name. It also shows the state where each applicant was living. Most importantly, only the General Index shows a C or XC number to reflect when a pension was still active after about 1934. If there is such a number, it is critical to finding the actual file. While most pensions are stored in Washington D.C., most C/XC pensions are stored in St. Louis, MO.

The Organizational Index (T289) can be found on Fold3.com. Unlike the General Index, it includes fields for the soldier's rank, terms of service, and date/place of death. These types of data aren't always present but it sure is nice when you find them there!

As the names suggest, the indexes are sorted in different ways. If you want to see the pension card for everyone in a specific company or regiment, etc., then it is easiest to scroll through the Organizational Index whereas the General Index is sorted by the state and name of the veteran. When I'm looking for a Civil War pension, I always consult both.

There are other differences, of course. The Organizational Index does not include Navy pensions, for instance. I've written a 7-part series of blog posts (!) about Civil War pension indexes and how to work with them but I'm still finishing off a few details. I'll post a link here when it is ready.
 
Last edited:

lupaglupa

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Location
Upstate New York
There are different indexes because they were created by different governmental agencies at different times. We're lucky to have both because, as you say, each has strengths and weaknesses. They also serve as valuable cross-references when a card is missing or illegible. There are other kinds of CW pension indexes too but those two are the most commonly used.

Both indexes include the veteran's name/regiment and the application date, Application number, and Certificate number for each person who applied with reference to a soldier's service. Then each index has some information that the other doesn't.

The General Index (Microfilm publication T288) can be found on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, among other places. In the case of a widow's pension, only the General Index lists her name. It also shows the state where each applicant was living. Most importantly, only the General Index shows a C or XC number to reflect when a pension was still active after about 1934. If there is such a number, it is critical to finding the actual file. While most pensions are stored in Washington D.C., most C/XC pensions are stored in St. Louis, MO.

The Organizational Index (T289) can be found on Fold3.com. Unlike the General Index, it includes fields for the soldier's rank, terms of service, and date/place of death. These types of data aren't always present but it sure is nice when you find them there!

As the names suggest, the indexes are sorted in different ways. If you want to see the pension card for everyone in a specific company or regiment, etc., then it is easiest to scroll through the Organizational Index whereas the General Index is sorted by the state and name of the veteran. When I'm looking for a Civil War pension, I always consult both.

There are other differences, of course. The Organizational Index does not include Navy pensions, for instance. I've written a 7-part series of blog posts (!) about Civil War pension indexes and how to work with them but I'm still finishing off a few details. I'll post a link here when it is ready.
@Bob Velke this is really helpful - thank you. Please do share your blog posts when they are done. I know I'm not the only one who'd like to see them
 

huskerblitz

Major
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Location
Nebraska
There are different indexes because they were created by different governmental agencies at different times. We're lucky to have both because, as you say, each has strengths and weaknesses. They also serve as valuable cross-references when a card is missing or illegible. There are other kinds of CW pension indexes too but those two are the most commonly used.

Both indexes include the veteran's name/regiment and the application date, Application number, and Certificate number for each person who applied with reference to a soldier's service. Then each index has some information that the other doesn't.

The General Index (Microfilm publication T288) can be found on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, among other places. In the case of a widow's pension, only the General Index lists her name. It also shows the state where each applicant was living. Most importantly, only the General Index shows a C or XC number to reflect when a pension was still active after about 1934. If there is such a number, it is critical to finding the actual file. While most pensions are stored in Washington D.C., most C/XC pensions are stored in St. Louis, MO.

The Organizational Index (T289) can be found on Fold3.com. Unlike the General Index, it includes fields for the soldier's rank, terms of service, and date/place of death. These types of data aren't always present but it sure is nice when you find them there!

As the names suggest, the indexes are sorted in different ways. If you want to see the pension card for everyone in a specific company or regiment, etc., then it is easiest to scroll through the Organizational Index whereas the General Index is sorted by the state and name of the veteran. When I'm looking for a Civil War pension, I always consult both.

There are other differences, of course. The Organizational Index does not include Navy pensions, for instance. I've written a 7-part series of blog posts (!) about Civil War pension indexes and how to work with them but I'm still finishing off a few details. I'll post a link here when it is ready.
Thank you. I appreciate the informative response.
 
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